Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 11:58 UK

ESPN's Premier League rights grow

Alvaro Arbeloa of Liverpool (right) and Nadir Belhadj of Portsmouth
ESPN is launching a new channel

The English Premier League has sold the live rights formerly held by Setanta for coverage of its games in the Irish Republic to ESPN.

ESPN has been awarded two packages of rights containing a total of 46 matches that were available for season 2009/10.

The rights are for the same matches that ESPN will broadcast in the UK.

Premier League boss Richard Scudamore said ESPN had "a formidable worldwide reputation" and "first rate coverage and programming".

On Tuesday, the US broadcaster unveiled plans to launch a new UK sports channel, called ESPN, on 3 August.

As well as English Premier League football, the channel will also show some of the US sports to which ESPN owns rights.

ESPN has reached an initial deal to have the channel shown on Sky, but it is in talks with all UK pay-TV platforms about carrying the service.

Sky will also be responsible for selling advertising on the new channel.

'Business sense'

As well as owning the rights to broadcast 46 live Premier League games in the UK for 2009/10 season, ESPN also has the right to broadcast 23 matches in the UK for each of the following three seasons.

It has also been mentioned as a possible broadcaster of Scottish Premier League games, with the league looking for a new TV deal after the demise of Setanta.

The firm has not said whether it has made a bid for the Scottish rights, but says it is "interested in rights where they are available and where they make business sense".

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Sky Sports Sky announce Premier TV schedule - 1 hr ago
The Sun Check out ESPN's matches - 16 hrs ago

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