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BT Sport extends ESPN relationship

BT Sport and sports broadcaster ESPN have signed a seven-year agreement to expand the range of ESPN content available on the platforms of the UK pay-television broadcaster.

The agreement also covers the use of the ESPN brand and potential joint digital media initiatives. The new long-term collaboration builds on the relationship developed between both brands following the acquisition of ESPN’s UK and Ireland television business by telecommunications company BT in 2013.

As part of the new deal, BT Sport has the opportunity to use the ESPN brand in a range of different ways with ESPN remaining part of the BT Sport channel line-up for the long-term.

The deal will see BT Sport expand the amount of programming it receives from ESPN, up to 5,000 hours per year. Programming supplied during the course of the agreement will typically feature US motor racing series IndyCar, NCAA college American football and basketball, the X Games and Aussie rules football league the AFL.

There is also enhanced availability of existing content supplied by ESPN, such as the ESPN Films documentary series, plus the introduction to BT Sport of world football show ESPN FC, and some of the most well-known brands in US sport television including Pardon The Interruption and Around The Horn.

In the months ahead, BT and ESPN said they will continue to explore ways to collaborate around various digital media initiatives. Additional elements to the deal include the ability for BT Sport to take in key ESPN-supplied programming directly to its studios in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: “Continuing with ESPN, one of the world’s leading sports brands, as part of the BT Sport portfolio is a win for our viewers, our partners and sport fans in the UK and Ireland. Our relationship with ESPN since BT Sport began operation of the ESPN channel in the UK and Ireland has been a big success, with the two companies collaborating on a number of initiatives.”