BT Sport buys ESPN's UK channels

Chelsea's Fernando Torres is congratulated by team mates after scoring his team's fifth goal against Leeds on December 19, 2012
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BT Sport acquires the UK channels operated by ESPN, giving it rights to the FA Cup, Europa League and Bundesliga.

BT Sport has acquired the UK channels operated by ESPN, giving it rights to the FA Cup and the Europa League.

Under the deal, which will complete on July 31, BT will also gain rights to Germany's Bundesliga, the Scottish Premier League and games involving Rangers.

BT has agreed to keep one ESPN-branded channel on the air, most likely ESPN America, which broadcasts NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR.

The new BT Sport service - launching this summer in time for next season - had previously poached most of the rights currently held by ESPN, most notably the Premier League and Aviva Premiership rugby. BT also has MLS from the US, Italy's Serie A, Ligue 1 of France and women's tennis on its roster.

Marc Watson, chief exec of TV at BT, 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."

ESPN will continue to own and operate its websites and in a separate move, is planning to close its ESPN Classic channel across Europe.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory clearance.

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