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ESPN to relaunch UK channel in August
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The Walt Disney-owned sports network ESPN said on Tuesday it would launch a new channel in Britain in August to show its 46 Premier League soccer matches and other international sports programming.

The channel, which will be available in standard and high definition, will also carry a range of American sports previously provided on the ESPN America channel, which will be integrated into the new British channel.

Dominant pay-TV firm BSkyB, which owns the rights to show the remaining 92 live Premier League matches next season, will sell the ESPN channel to both its residential and commercial customers.

For residential customers, it will be available on a premium subscription basis, for 9 pounds per month to existing Sky Sports subscribers and for 12 pounds per month to other Sky customers.

The Sky Sports in-house production team will produce the ESPN's Premier League matches and Sky's advertising sales house will sell the advertising inventory, while ESPN will produce the graphics, analysis and additional programming.

ESPN won the right to show 46 live Premier League matches for the 2009/10 season, and 23 matches for the following three years in Britain in a hastily arranged auction after previous owner Setanta fell into administration. [nLN409388]

"We look forward to working with Sky to deliver great sports content to their subscribers and will continue our discussions with all other pay-TV providers so that we can bring ESPN to as many sports fans in the UK as possible," said Lynne Frank, Managing Director, ESPN for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The new channel called ESPN will launch on August 3, ahead of the start of the Premier League season on August 15.
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