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BT has further boosted its sports portfolio by acquiring ESPN’s UK and Ireland TV channels business.

The broadband provider - which launches BT Sport this year for pay-TV customers - will assume control of the ESPN and ESPN America channels.

As such, the firm's subscribers will be able to tune into action from the FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League and German Bundesliga.

A host of US sports currently shown on ESPN America - including NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR - will also be available on the platform.

BT will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel as part of the BT Sport TV package to be launched in the summer.

Marc Watson, Chief Executive of Television at BT Retail, said his firm is "delighted" to have reached agreement with ESPN for the purchase of its UK channels business.

"We have been able to add some exciting new sports rights to the ones we already have," he claimed.

“The FA Cup, Scottish Premier League and Europa League rights will allow us to offer customers of BT Sport even more quality live football, including our first games from the Scottish top flight and our first European competition rights."

Ross Hair, Managing Director of ESPN for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said his firm "could not be more proud" of the TV channels built and nurtured by its "talented team" over the past four years.

"The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland," he stated.

"The same passion, commitment and innovation will be at the heart of how we develop our strong digital media business into the future.”

Last year, BT outbid ESPN to secure 38 live Barclays Premier League matches per season from 2013-14 - including 18 first-pick matches.

The firm has also gained the rights to 69 live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches for the next four years, and 800 hours of live women’s tennis per season.

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