ESPN Adds to Soccer Stash

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Continuing its soccer push, ESPN reached a multimedia agreement for the domestic and international rights for the UEFA European Football Championship 2008 tournament.

Under the deal with the Union of European Football Associations, the governing body of soccer on that continent, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic, plus sister network ABC (two matches, including the title tilt), will provide exclusive coverage of all 31 matches of the tourney, which features the top 16 European national soccer teams.

The quadriennial event -- which will be held from June 7-29, 2008, in Austria and Switzerland -- was won by Greece in 2004, when the matches were principally aired on pay-per-view outlets.

Moreover, ESPN Deportes wil be the exclusive Spanish-language network for Euro 2008 in the United States. Outside of the United States, rights include telecasts in Canada and Latin America.

The pact, terms of which were not disclsed, also affords the sports behemoth multiplatform rights for ESPN.com, ESPNsoccernet.com, ESPNDeportes.com, ESPN360 and Mobile ESPN Publishing, among others. Additionally, in-progress and post-match highlights can be featured across key ESPN outlets.

The deal with UEFA follows ESPN’s renewal in May of the popular Champions League matches through 2009.

In August, ESPN inked a new eight-year multimedia agreement with Soccer United Marketing, the league's commercial arm, for rights to Major League Soccer. That pact marked the first time Disney paid a rights fee -- estimated at some $8 million annually -- to the U.S. domestic league.

In 2005, ESPN acquired the rights to the Men’s and Women’s FIFA World Cup event in the United States through 2014 for about $100 million. ESPN also acquired the rights to the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009 and 2013 and other events.

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