Like vultures

ESPN has had a fine old time picking over the corpse of Setanta, the now defunct TV station which had signed a £150million four-year contract with the FA which it couldn’t pay. The American broadcasters have reportedly picked up the FA Cup rights from next season, after its offer beat the one from the BBC.

As of next year it will have the right to broadcast two live games from each round of the Cup, while ITV still has first pick for the big game of each round. The company are hoping that this will help keep hold of subscribers who might be turned away by the news that their Premier League output will be reduced from 46 games to only 23.

‘As we have always said, we continue to be interested in rights where they are available and where they make business sense,’ said an ESPN spokesman, without confirming that the deal was happening. ‘Our approach is to grow globally, and we will achieve that by being as locally relevant as possible.’

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