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ESPN agrees multi-season Bundesliga rights deal

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ESPN has signed a new multi-year rights deal for German Bundesliga football, indicating that the broadcaster is committed to the UK despite recently losing out in the Premier League auction.

The majority Disney-owned ESPN has today announced a new deal with DFL Sports Enterprises, the body responsible for all domestic and international sales of commercial rights of the Bundesliga.

The three-season agreement means that live coverage of the Bundesliga will remain on ESPN in the UK and Ireland from next season (2012/13) up to 2014/15. The broadcaster has shown German football since 2009.

ESPN will have exclusive rights to televise games from the League live in the UK, as Bayern Munich attempt to wrestle back the Bundesliga title from Borussia Dortmund. It will also screen action from the German Supercup, as well as highlights packages and video on-demand.

The broadcaster will show up to four matches per week (all in high definition) featuring stars such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, Mario Götze, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Franck Ribéry, and offer online and mobile coverage via ESPN.co.uk and ESPNFC.com.

Playing football
"We're very pleased to continue our successful partnership with ESPN in the UK and Ireland. ESPN has been an excellent and most reliable partner for years, not only in the UK but in several parts of the world, among others in Brazil and the US," said Jörg Daubitzer, the managing director of DFL Sports Enterprises.

ESPN's Jeroen Oerlemans added: "The Bundesliga is a fantastic league that features some of the best football in Europe and we're very pleased to continue our relationship with them for another three seasons.

"UK football fans are among the most engaged and knowledgeable about the game. They appreciate top quality play, players and clubs, and keeping the Bundesliga as a key part of our schedule alongside other top football and a range of other sport serves those fans well."

The three-year rights deal to the Bundesliga indicates that ESPN is committed to toughing it out in the UK market, despite recently losing its valuable Premier League rights to new rival BT.

ESPN will again show 23 Premier League games live in the 2012-13 season, but the following year BT will take over the coverage after agreeing a more than £600m deal for the rights.

In a statement today (July 24), ESPN said that the Bundesliga forms a "key part" of its coverage of UK and European football, which also includes rights to FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and other European domestic leagues going forward.

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