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ESPN launched on in the UK on 3 August 2009. The channel marked ESPN’s first foray into live coverage of domestic sports events in the UK. On 31 July 2013, BT completed their purchase of ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business but continue to operate ESPN, however the programming largely resembles that of ESPN America.
Programming is available in standard definition and high definition formats.
ESPN Player, previously branded ESPN360, is ESPN’s digital streaming platform in the UK and Europe for live and on-demand sports. The service is available across Europe, Middle East & Africa and, predominantly, broadcasts U.S sports content. Main content includes NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, College Sports, IndyCar Series, World Series of Poker, X Games and others. The platform is a direct to consumer service, as Pay Per View, and not linked to any TV subscription.
ESPN America was a British based European sports network, focusing on professional and collegiate sports of the United States and Canada. Originally launched in December 2002 as NASN (the North American Sports Network), ESPN purchased the channel in March 2007 for €70m from Benchmark Capital Europe and Setanta Sports. The channel was known as ESPN America from 1 February 2009. ESPN America broadcast a selection of top North American professional and collegiate sports leagues. The network closed at midnight on 1 August 2013.
Programming was available in standard definition and high definition formats.
ESPN Classic launched on 13 March 2006 on Sky channel 442,the first channel in the UK under the ESPN branding. Initially it was only available on Sky Digital but the channel became available on Virgin Media and UPC Ireland in August 2009 when ESPN UK launched. It broadcast a range of archive sports coverage, with an emphasis on football. The channel closed at midnight on 1 August 2013.
ESPN operated five sports television channels in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On 25 February 2013, BT agreed to acquire ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business, consisting of ESPN and ESPN America. BT will continue to broadcast ESPN after the deal’s expected completion date of 31 July, as part of its BT Sport package of services. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but BT is understood to have paid “low tens of millions”. ESPN Classic, which was not part of the BT deal, and ESPN America ceased transmission across Europe, the Middle East and Africa at midnight on 1 August 2013. ESPN will continue to own and operate its existing digital media businesses
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