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ESPN Deal Saves Premiership's Bacon


ESPN, part of Walt Disney, has bought both the packages of live games forcibly relinquished by Setanta. It has acquired both the two packages for next season and the one package that runs for three years from 2010. ESPN intends to retail them through the Sky platform and hopefully also through Virgin Media and BT. It has not yet been announced how much they paid for the packages with various figures floating around but it is thought that they probably paid less than Setanta had for next season's two packages (for which it was generally agreed Setanta had paid over the odds in their desire to build their business). In any case, the Premiership have not made a significant loss that will affect payments to clubs as Premiership sources have indicated that any shortfall can be balanced by payments made up front by Setanta which they are entitled to retain. The Scottish Premier League are in a less happy position. They are negotiating with BSkyB, but it is thought that they may receive substantially less than Setanta paid, perhaps as much as £35m down.