First free-to-air Premier League match for UK

English Premier League football will be broadcast live on free-to-air television in the UK for the first time next month as part of a promotion by pay-television broadcaster ESPN, which is making its channels available to the digital-terrestrial Freeview service for a four-day period.

ESPN will broadcast the Manchester City v Fulham match on Saturday, February 4, during the promotion. Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, live coverage of the competition has only been available on pay-television in the UK.

The ‘Free Weekend’ promotion will also mean free-to-air exposure for live football from Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga as well as NBA basketball, men’s tennis and the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts series. The promotion will run from February 3-6 and allow viewers free access to the ESPN and ESPN HD channels. The channels will also be available for no extra charge on pay-television platforms including BSkyB, BT Vision and TopUp TV.

Freeview, which does not require a subscription, is available in 10 million UK households. A total of 20 million households will be able to access the ESPN channels.