ESPN strikes deal for La Liga rights

Espn_logo La Liga Logo

If you are an American fan of the Spanish First Division (and who isn't?) then you will be able to see many more La Liga games starting next season after ESPN struck a deal with GolTV to partner in multimedia broadcast coverage of the league that boasts world powers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The new deal will allow ESPN to show La Liga matches on ESPN, ESPN Deportes as well as ESPN360.com. More than 95 matches will be shown on Deportes, with at least 114 matches set to be streamed on ESPN360.com. ESPN2 will televise select matches ('Super Clasico anybody?) while ESPN Mobile TV will also air matches. GolTV will continue to air its 120 La Liga matches throughout the year.

What do you think of this news? Excited at the chance to see even more of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and more?

Share your thoughts below.

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90 Responses to ESPN strikes deal for La Liga rights

  1. I am more intrigued to see whether ESPN gets games from the EPL now that Setanta lost the rights due to its financial woes. One story I read had ESPN televising the lunchtime Saturday kickoffs…so perhaps those 7:45 a.m. Eastern time kickoffs would be on ESPN2 or ESPN Classic?

  2. Brett says:

    No more Ray Hudson. This is bad news.

  3. David says:

    Well since Comcast is crap and my package doesn’t include FSC it will be nice to see these games at least. I hope they get Sentanta’s EPL games.

  4. Turtle says:

    Ray Hudson (and Phil Schoen) on ESPN? That would be cool if that could happen. I can understand why some may not like him but i love his dramatic commentary. He could do for soccer in this country what John Madden did for NFL.

  5. Anthony R. says:

    Great news to see the best league in the world on the worldwide leader.

  6. Ryan says:

    Ray Hudson is a babbling idiot. I love this game as much as anyone…but he’s up there with Tommy Smyth as the most annoying commentators covering this sport.

  7. Scott C says:

    oh yeah!!!!! I can’t get GolTV, so this awesome…

  8. AdamTheRed says:

    W/o Ray Hudson…La Liga not nearly exciting.

    He is HILARIOUS!

    Better than the boring crap commentators that have graced the USA Confederations Cup games.

  9. dhawk says:

    Setanta US still has the EPL rights for this country. They lost the domestic UK rights.

  10. CACuzcatlan says:

    Hellz yeah! Wont have to go to a pub every time I want to watch Barcelona!

  11. Rocco says:

    Are they going to be shown live on ESPN, or at a “replay” time slot later in the day to get the “casual” viewers too?

  12. Steve says:

    Woohoo! I may follow La Liga closer than I follow EPL next year.

  13. The Gentleman Masher says:

    DHawk – isn’t it essentially the same thing?

  14. cj says:

    Wow, this is incredible! This will mean ESPN will have to pimp soccer even more. The perfect storm is happening!

  15. ImaGoalMan says:

    Cool maybe I’ll get to see Zaragoza play this season.

  16. Chris says:

    Yeah, it will be nice to watch Barcelona move often, as I have difficulties with GolTV sometimes and if Jozy makes it back into Villareal’s first team this will be even better!

  17. CapeCodFutbol says:

    HD PLEASE! I don’t think any sport benefits as much as being shown in HD as soccer does. (OK, probably some bias there… but the point stands: HD PLEASE!)

  18. david says:

    the EPL could get a bigger audience in the USA if ESPN could get the rights to them

  19. Chase says:

    This is big.

    My question is for GolTV and what exactly they are getting out of this. Obviously they are getting a chunk of money to split the rights up, but they are also going to lose the most high profile games.

    I guarantee that Derek Rae and Tommy Smith will be announcing these games, as they already do La Liga commentary for ESPN’s international channels.

  20. elmatador says:

    HD is all I care about….Great news!!!

  21. Utard says:

    Does this further the theory of an ESPN soccer channel? I just can’t see why they wouldn’t do it… Live sports in the AM hours on weekends and some weekdays that people actually watch is so hard to come by. I hope this happens.

  22. 49ers says:

    Aghhh! I was wishing it would be EPL

  23. tgrex123 says:

    “HD is all I care about….Great news!!!”

    Exactly – I second that!!!

  24. japan says:

    so how many games exactly will be on ESPN and ESPN2?

  25. japan says:

    dhawk, are you 100% sure about that?

  26. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Awesome. This should put a dent in blind EPL worship!

  27. chris says:

    Hopefully Jose Francisco Torres makes the move to Deportivo de la Coruna so we can all watch him.

  28. RK says:

    Wow!

    So why would I pay for GolTV now? I only need to watch the occasional La Liga match, and this will work. Makes choosing a new cable/satellite provider easier.

  29. Wayne Rooney says:

    Das Briallian’ dat is…

  30. Jose Mourinho says:

    Just like me:

    It’s fantastic.

  31. Xander Crews says:

    Hopefully Jose Francisco Torres makes the move to Deportivo de la Coruna so we can all watch him.

    Posted by: chris | June 22, 2009 at 01:09 PM
    —-
    And Bob Bradley still won’t play him.

  32. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Maybe Donovan should go to the league he was meant for – La Liga!!!

  33. Jose Mourinho says:

    Hopefully Jose Francisco Torres makes the move to Deportivo de la Coruna so we can all watch him.

    Posted by: chris | June 22, 2009 at 01:09 PM

    —-

    And Bob Bradley still won’t play him.

    Posted by: Xander Crews | June 22, 2009 at 01:14 PM

    Shut up Xander! You have more complaints than an Italian striker without his Scuba diving suit!

  34. Sven Goran Eriksson says:

    Well well well!

  35. Chase says:

    Japan,

    All of the stories I have seen on Setanta only speak of the domestic UK broadcast right. None of the articles I have read address the channel’s North American rights.

    However, without the UK PL rights, its unclear whether the channel will be able to continue to operate. EPLtalk.com addressed the topic a couple weeks back reporting:

    “According to an unnamed source at Setanta North America, residents in the United States and Canada who are Setanta customers will continue to receive feeds. So, the Setanta feed will not go off the air. However, programming produced by Setanta UK such as Football Matters and The Friday Football Show will no longer be available until further notice.”

    link to epltalk.com

    Apparently, Setanta NA was one of the few profitable parts of the company and they actively tried to sell it off (to ESPN?) in an effort to raise funds to keep the UK rights.

    All of this paints a very cloudy picture, hopefully Setanta will get some concrete information to its subscription holders soon.

  36. Andy says:

    Uh this is amazing news.

  37. Friend of AR says:

    I second Donovan to La Liga. His technical ability and speed would be a great fit in the league and he already knows the language. Please let Donovan go, MLS!

  38. K1p says:

    I like it! I do however, wish that ESPN would lay off the graphics during soccer games. I for one am not interested in a crawl across the bottom telling me Mike “Mad Dog” Wallowitz just drew a straight flush in the Sheboygan city poker invitational.

  39. Andy says:

    Now they grabbed the EPL rights in Britain…

    IS THIS LEADING TO SOMETHING BIGGER STILL?!?!

  40. jai_brooklyn says:

    Bring on the Classico!!!

  41. JAT says:

    ESPN has also gotten the rights to the 46 available matches in the Premier League next season, as well as 23 per season from 2010-2013. They won the bidding for the Setanta packages.

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

  42. david says:

    2 greatest league on ESPN!!! very nice!!!!

  43. MVK says:

    one step closer to a ESPN pure footie channel?

  44. Barry U says:

    Saturday and Sunday just got more interesting. If ESPN can also get EPL games from Setanta I will be in heaven!!!!

    My wife might be looking for a good divorce attorney or a superduper tivo machine might do the trick. LOL

    This is good news for all of us boys!!!

  45. Dannyc58 says:

    Comcast users, we’ll eventually be getting espn360.com access as well.

    Great news for footie fans…

  46. John Glosson says:

    This could certainly make me a new fan of La Liga. FSC is fine, but no HD. I LOVE watching this sport in HD and it could lure me away from EPL.

  47. HM says:

    These games will be in HD. Previously, GolTV had this exact same deal with “World Sport” which was one of exclusive channels on the Voom satellite service. Under that deal, both GolTV and World Sport aired the Classico.

  48. Drogba says:

    is a disgrace

  49. EA says:

    Keep in mind that for the months of September/October/November, there won’t be anything on ESPN/ESPN2 after 12 noon ET other than college football.

  50. Dan Roudebush says:

    Maybe our kid will learn something different than headless chcicken ball by mid & lower EPL teams.

  51. The Gentleman Masher says:

    JAT – just saw that. Does that mean they’d be able to show it over here as well? If so – I do wonder if they’ll eventually switch ESPN Classic to ESPN3.

    Honestly – that channel has long jumped the shark with me. ESPNClassic should be a category of programming, not a whole network.

  52. metrostar 4 life says:

    SICK!

  53. Angelo says:

    ESPN also got EPL rights, along with the 20-something games from La Liga.

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

    link to blogs.nypost.com

    Yayyyyy !!!!

  54. Danny says:

    Thank You Ives for making my day…I’m a dish network subscriber, and I was pissed as hell when I lost GOLTV…I had to watch La Liga games over the internet, but that’s no longer going to happen…Great move by ESPN…Now this makes up for the lost of CL games on the network…

    Can’t wait

  55. john says:

    Wow – I can’t believe how many people are mis-interpreting this deal.

    Here are the facts:

    – Unless you get ESPN Deportes – don’t get too excited –

    – You will only get 20 games on ESPN2 per season – (tape delayed)

    – Super Classico will probably air on both Deportes and Gol TV (good news here)

    – For the majority of english lang ESPN fans, nothing will change, except you will be able to see LESS Barcelona and Real Madrid games on GOL TV. So hopefully you have ESPN 360 or Deportes.

    – And the ESPN EPL deal just announced is not for the US — it’s in the UK

  56. anotherbodymurdered says:

    anyone who hates Ray Hudson hates fun, to compare him to Tommy Smyth is the height of insanity

  57. japan says:

    Thanks chase.

    and John is right…there’s not much to celebrate about unless you get deportes

  58. Seisco says:

    John’s right, but even though they’ll only be televising 20 games, ESPN loves to extensively advertise any product they broadcast (WNBA anybody?) so this will only help to expose more viewers to top-flight European football. Hopefully this includes more highlights on SportsCenter too.

    ESPN currently only has the rights to EPL games in the UK, but with all of Setanta’s financial troubles (they can’t even pay for their SPL rights), it is a definite possibility that ESPN will make a bid for their US EPL rights too.

    Ultimately very good news for soccer in America.

  59. nate says:

    Thank you John – this is actually worse for most of us in the States (especially if the tape delay is true).

    Will the lesser match-ups like an Espanyol-Osasuna still stay on Gol TV?

  60. Pete says:

    I already have GolTV so no big deal.

  61. k says:

    ESPN will screw it up by playing meaningless college baseball, bowling and golf over the soccer game time slots. ESPN should let a station that apreciates soccer buy the rights. ESPN sucks.

  62. Andy says:

    Bull**** on the “this is worse news” and “there is not much to celebrate.”

    This is great news as it is showing that they are getting more and more serious about covering the sport. For those of you who already have GolTV, you’ll still have it to watch this with.

    For people like me who do not have GolTV, I’m happy as hell that I’ll get to see games on TV, even if they’re tape-delayed.

    Most importantly, many will be available on ESPN360, which I will have and will definitely use come August 1, 2009, when I hear it will be available on Comcast.

  63. Tim says:

    Wow premier league and La Liga will air on espn. Now I can show my friends how entertaining quality soccer is. To me both of these leagues are the best to watch especially for the soccer naive.

  64. HE from NJ says:

    this is awesome news, because i think ESPN lost the champions league, no? and i am dying to see the new real madrid squad. even tho barca is still the best!

  65. Erik says:

    I got into watching soccer because ESPN used to show La Liga games way back when at like 2 am.

    GREAT NEWS!

  66. Erik says:

    ESPN only got the UK rights for the EPL…

    If ESPN nabs up all the rights to these games, goltv and FSC are toast.

  67. Juan-John says:

    I have Comcast and have been able to get ESPN360 through it for over a year now.

  68. cbr says:

    would be nice if Espn made a soccer only channel to rival FSC…i mean really…do we need espn classic??? convert that crap pronto

  69. Kevin says:

    “ESPN will screw it up by playing meaningless college baseball, bowling and golf over the soccer game time slots. ESPN should let a station that apreciates soccer buy the rights. ESPN sucks.”

    I always love this attitude from particular soccer fans. You hate it that most americans won’t get soccer a chance but then you put down other sports that you don’t agree with. Like it or not, bowling gets better ratings than more established sports like hockey. Just because something is “meaningless” to you doesn’t mean it is to others. Grow up…

  70. dhawk says:

    To clarify: ESPN has the UK rights to the Premier League. The PL rights for the USA are with Setanta USA which is a separate entity. Here is the statement from customer service at Setanta:

    As has been widely reported in various media channels, Setanta Sports has today had its agreement to broadcast 46 Barclays Premier League matches in the UK terminated.
    This development does not affect our channels and other services in the US.
    Setanta Sports in the US is a separate operation that has separate agreement to show the Barclay’s Premier League. Our channels and other services in the US continue to broadcast and our subscribers can still enjoy our programming including the Lions Tour of South Africa and the UEFA U21 European Championship.
    New customers are welcome to subscribe to watch some of the world’s best soccer and rugby either by contacting our cable and satellite partners or online at http://www.setanta.com.
    We thank you for your continued interest in Setanta Sports and look forward to bringing you a wealth of sport over the coming months and years.

  71. Texas 1836 says:

    So could someone please clear up the following questions for me…

    In the US, what channels have the broadcasting rights for:

    1) English Premiership
    2) La Liga
    3) Serie A

    Or another way to answer it, what soccer rights do the following channels have:

    1) ESPN
    2) Fox Soccer Channel
    3) GolTV
    4) Setanta

  72. Texas 1836 says:

    Also, if anyone would be so kind as to include the Champions League broadcast rights in with that above question.

    Thanks in advance.

  73. Chase says:

    Like Ives said in his post ESPN acquired the UK broadcast rights. Which is huge in a way, but will not directly effect us in the US, unless Setanta is forced to offload its American and Canadian broadcast rights, which as the epltalk article I linked claimed was one of their more valuable assets.

    I’m interested to see who ESPN brings in to do their UK EPL coverage, what kind of programming (pre and post game) they are going to put together (and whether it will be available in the US through soccernet), and how much cross promotion they will do when ESPN’s American team is doing soccer coverage.

  74. Chase says:

    Texas

    1) English Premiership (FSC and Setanta USA)

    2) La Liga (GolTV, ESPN-ESPN360)

    3) Serie A (FSC, ESPN-360)

    4/ Bundesliga (GolTV)

    4) Champions League (FSC/Fox Sports/FX starting next year)

    Setanta has limited rights of Ligue 1, SPL, Russian PL, and the Coca Cola Championship.

    FSC has Argentina, MLS and some USMNT games.

    GolTV has Brazil, some other random South American leagues.

    ESPN has MLS and I think they have some random games from Russia, Holland, etc on ESPN 360 (not sure though).

  75. Sterlinho says:

    ” “ESPN will screw it up by playing meaningless college baseball, bowling and golf over the soccer game time slots. ESPN should let a station that apreciates soccer buy the rights. ESPN sucks.”

    I always love this attitude from particular soccer fans. You hate it that most americans won’t get soccer a chance but then you put down other sports that you don’t agree with. Like it or not, bowling gets better ratings than more established sports like hockey. Just because something is “meaningless” to you doesn’t mean it is to others. Grow up…

    Posted by: Kevin | June 22, 2009 at 03:04 PM

    —————————————–”

    Kevin,

    This is a soccer site, so you shut up. I know a lot of pissed off people because ESPN didn’t help out MLS with the DC United vs. Sounders game on Wednesday. Instead, there were pubs full of people waiting for college guys with metal bats to finish their stupid game. We missed 4 goals in a great game and didn’t get coverage until the 62nd minute. Tell me now how great it is that ESPN is getting more soccer. Especially when they have douchebags like Jim Rome and the dudes from PTI always clowning on a sport they don’t understand and could never play because they are too fat to give it a try.

  76. japan says:

    setanta usa also covers champions league

  77. Chase says:

    Yep, I forgot Setanta USA.

    Thanks for the post dhawk, I was just composing an email to them on that very subject.

  78. Texas 1836 says:

    Chase and japan,

    Thanks.

    Am I incorrect in thinking that Setanta is going under? Have they retained their rights to EPL games in the US?

    I thought I read where they’d lost their EPL rights, but maybe that’s just for the UK.

    So if I get ESPN, FSC, and GolTV, I’ll basically be covered?

    I can’t get Setanta, I don’t think. But it looks like they’re becoming less important, anyway.

    Who has the broadcast rights for Europa League?

  79. Mark says:

    This is truly excellent news. My wife will crap a brick,but she’ll get over it. The EPL is a great league,but something new and fresh is always exciting. Besides,a little bit of Serie A goes a long way.

  80. japan says:

    texas, dhawk mentioned above that setanta in uk and setanta usa are separate entity so setanta usa still have the rights to show the premier games. Both setanta usa(may be delayed) and fsc will show the europa league. Setanta usa shows more international friendlies and world cup qualifying games.

  81. Leonardo says:

    (shrugs) doesn’t affect me much.

    i have DirecTV Latino $70 package (HD), includes ESPN Deportes, GolTV, Fox Sports en Espanol.

    If they can get ESPN Deportes in HD, now that’d be sweet!

  82. JMJ says:

    you forgot to mention the third biggest team in spain. VALENCIA!

  83. Kevin says:

    Sterlinho –

    Did you seriously just tell me to shut up? Alos, did I ever say anything about ESPN in my comment? I believe I was talking about the idiocy of a section of american soccer fans that hate being talked down to by other sports fans, but then do the same about other sports they don’t particularly like.

    While I agree that ESPN should have put the MLS game another of their stations until the CWS game was over, you’re crazy if you think they should have switched over. Regardless of your perspective, College Baseball Playoff game = more viewers/money than a regular season MLS game.

  84. john says:

    Texas, one clarification on La Liga

    You cannot see any La Liga next year on ESPN. You have to be able to receive ESPN Deportes – There is a huge difference, and many people on this board are missing that point.

    If you have ESPN2 you may get a few tape-delay replays. But you need Deportes, not ESPN.

  85. Oranje Mike says:

    Great news but I wish ESPN would throw non Spanish speakers a bone and give us more than a handful of games. I don’t get Deportes.

  86. Bryan says:

    this is great news! i really wish espn had a soccer station like deportes in english…oh well.

  87. TP says:

    This is the best soccer coverage news I’ve heard in a long time . . . I am so excited that I’m bound to grow hair on the pals of my hands.

  88. LaLiga>EPL says:

    Hahahahahahaha! All you EPL fans still have to watch on FSC while the best league in the world is televised in HD on ESPN! Remember who just won the Champions League. Yes, a team from La Liga!

  89. wla says:

    I don’t understand alot of Spanish, but I do get Deportes and am jacked about seeing La Liga. HD is cool, but not necessary for me, so having FSC as well as this pretty much covers my soccer luvin.

  90. lumpy says:

    I don’t even want to hear about other country’s soccer leagues until I can turn on the six o’clock news and see coverage of MLS. After that, yeah, great, let’s see some other sports leagues from around the world, too. Why not?