ESPN in Europe
On 22 June, ESPN was awarded the exclusive rights to 46 Live Barclays Premier League matches in the 2009-10 Season and 23 matches a season from 2010-2013. ESPN has also been awarded exclusive live rights to Clydesdale Bank Premier League games for the next five seasons, showing 30 live games each season across the UK and Ireland, UEFA Europa League and games from the German, Dutch, Russian and Portuguese national football leagues. ESPN has also secured multiyear UK and Ireland rights to air the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Top 14 Orange (French Rugby Championship), the Australian Football League (AFL), the NBA.
In 2002, ESPN launched its first branded television channel in Europe, ESPN Classic. ESPN Classic is currently available in 23 million households in over 43 countries across Europe and can be seen in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish and Dutch. ESPN Classic became ESPN’s first dedicated sports channel in the United Kingdom when it launched in 2006. ESPN Classic launched a Middle East and Africa feed in May 2008, reaching a further 2 million subscribers. In February 2007, ESPN acquired NASN, the only European network dedicated to North American sports. The name of the network was re-branded to ESPN America in February 2009. The network airs over 800 live and as-live sports events each year, including those from the National Hockey League, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and NCAA. ESPN America is available in 14 million households, in over 43 European countries. ESPN America launched a Middle East feed in June 2008, reaching a further 500,000 subscribers in 19 countries across the Gulf.
ESPN operates a robust syndication business, offering a variety of programming including NASCAR, IndyCar, X Games, ESPN’s Big Fights Library (featuring classic heavyweight bouts), and ESPN original programming. ESPN supplies programming to leading European outlets such as the BBC, BSkyB, TVE, and Canal Plus. U.K.-based ESPNsoccernet.com continues to be one of the most popular football websites in the world, reaching over four million unique users a month in more than 100 countries with the latest football news, scores and features. The site is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. In June 2007, ESPN acquired Cricinfo.com – the world’s leading cricket website. Cricinfo.com now reaches more than seven million users every month and it is ranked number one in all of its major markets. In August 2007, ESPN acquired Scrum.com – a leading rugby news, scores and information portal. Scrum.com has established a strong and growing presence among worldwide rugby fans since its inception in 1997. In August 2008, ESPN acquired Racing-Live.com – the world’s leading independent motor racing website. The site provides fans around the world locally tailored news and information in English, French, Japanese, Italian, German and Spanish. Racing-Live.com has earned a devoted fan base of three million unique users per month.