ITV and ESPN secure UK Europa League rights

UEFA announced on Monday that ITV and ESPN had acquired UK broadcast rights to the Europa League from the 2012-13 season, bringing an end to commercial broadcaster Channel 5’s coverage of the competition.

Free-to-air ITV has acquired the rights to the top two live matches each match week on digital channel ITV4 followed by a round-up of the match night’s key action. In addition, ITV4 will air a full weekly highlights programme on Fridays each match week, with the potential for certain matches in the latter stages of the competition featuring UK teams being broadcast on main channel ITV1.

Pay-TV channel ESPN has secured the rights to all remaining Europa League matches and will show at least one match per kick-off slot each match week as well as highlights on the network’s premium UK television channel. The rights, which have been awarded on a “platform-neutral basis” to allow for simultaneous online and mobile coverage, will cover the 2012-15 seasons. Channel 5 has aired the Europa League since 2008.

“UEFA is happy to renew its partnership with ITV and ESPN in the United Kingdom,” read a statement from European football’s governing body. “These deals will further develop and promote the competition in the region by providing football fans throughout the UK with an extensive choice of coverage not only on television but also via online and mobile services.”

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