ESPN seals four-year FA Cup deal

LONDON - The English Football Association agreed a four-year deal with broadcaster ESPN on Tuesday to broadcast 25 live FA Cup matches a season in Britain from 2010.

The deal fills a gap left by the departure of Setanta, which went into administration in June, and will sit alongside an existing contract for the FA Cup and England senior games held by the ITV channel until 2012.

No financial details were given but the BBC said the deal, from the start of the 2010-2011 season, was worth around 70 million pounds.

The FA said in a statement on their website that ESPN's allocation would include one exclusive semi-final with the final to be broadcast simultaneously on ESPN and ITV.

ESPN will also show all of the England U21 home fixtures and have exclusive rights for the new Women's Super League to be launched in 2011.

"As a global broadcaster, who have already demonstrated a strong presence in the UK, ESPN will give our football great visibility and we look forward to an excellent partnership with them," said FA chief executive Ian Watmore.