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BT 'chasing ESPN football rights'

Friday, February 22nd 2013 by Nigel Adie
BT reportedly looking to acquire additional sporting rights from ESPN

BT is keen to acquire ESPN's football rights for its soon-to-launch sports channels.

BT is believed to be in talks with ESPN that could see it acquire the beleaguered Disney-owned broadcaster's remaining rights to live football.

ESPN has already lost a number of its existing rights agreements for the coming seasons, having been outbid by BT and Sky for the Barclays Premier League. BT, which will launch its new sports channels later this year, has also won the exclusive rights to Aviva Premiership rugby union - a competition currently covered by Sky and ESPN.

BT is said to be interested in making a move for more football rights - specifically those for the FA Cup, Germany's Bundesliga and the Europa League.

According to the Financial Times, analysts believe that securing all three of these competitions would set the telecoms giant back around £20 million per year.

The experts noted that increased interest in live sports broadcasting from pay TV providers had driven up costs for content.

BT is currently working on finalising its line-up for the sports channels, with the company recently announcing that award-winning broadcaster Clare Balding will present her own programme for BT Sport.

Former BBC Formula One frontman Jake Humphrey is also making the switch to BT.

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