BT has acquired the ESPN sports television channels in the UK and Ireland, along with the American company's exclusive rights portfolio, which includes FA Cup and UEFA Europa League football.
BT Sport has acquired ESPN's UK and Ireland channels. (Credit: BT)
A price has not been disclosed, but BT expects the deal to be completed on 31 July, after which the telecommunications company will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel, which is expected to be part of the BT Sport TV package, due to be launched this summer.
The deal means BT Sport customers will be able to watch live coverage of the FA Cup for the 2013/14 season, the Scottish Premier League until the end of the 2016/17 season, and the UEFA Europa League and German Bundesliga to the end of the 2014/15 season.
These will join the broadcast rights that BT Sport has already secured, including 38 live Barclays Premier League matches in each of the next three seasons starting August 2013; 69 live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches for the next four seasons; and up to 800 hours per season of live women's tennis.
ESPN will continue to own and operate its other products, such as websites the ESPN Classic channel, and the broadcaster's streaming service ESPN Player.
Marc Watson, chief executive of television, BT Retail, said: "We are delighted to have reached agreement with ESPN for the acquisition of their UK channels business and that we have been able to add some exciting new sports rights to the ones we already have.
"The FA Cup, Scottish Premier League and Europa League rights will allow us to offer customers of BT Sport even more quality live football, including our first games from the Scottish top flight and our first European competition rights. There will also be the best of US sports available courtesy of this deal, which will further broaden the appeal of BT Sport."
Ross Hair, managing director, ESPN - Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "We could not be more proud of the TV channels built and nurtured by our talented team over the past four years. The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland. The same passion, commitment and innovation will be at the heart of how we develop our strong digital media business into the future."
BT Sport, which will be based in the Olympic Park in East London, has already secured two channels in Sky's TV listings, which will display a phone number for users to call to pay for access to the exclusive BT content.
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