The opening match of the English Premier League season will now be shown on ESPN2 as part of ESPN's new deal to air EPL matches throughout the year.
The network finalized a deal with Fox Sports International late on Friday for the rights to air English Premier League matches for the upcoming season, including the Chelsea-Hull City match (7:40am). The network officially announced the deal late Friday night.
“The Barclays Premier League is one of the crown jewels of professional sports throughout the world,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN's vice president of programming. “We’re pleased to work with Fox Sports International to bring some of the league’s marquee matchups to ESPN2 in our continued efforts to serve soccer fans in the United States.”
The Chelsea-Hull City match was supposed to be the debut of U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore for Hull, but Altidore revealed late on Friday night via Twitter that he is still sorting out work permit issues and will miss the match.
ESPN had been in lengthy negotiations with Fox Sports International to secure rights to show EPL games on a weekly basis, but the failure to make a deal earlier was putting the airing of the season opener in jeopardy. Saturday's opener will be shown. That possibility was avoided on Friday when the two networks reached an agreement.
Here is the schedule of matches to be shown on ESPN networks through September:
EPL on ESPN2 (through September)
Saturday- Chelsea vs. Hull City (7:40am, ESPN2)
Sat., Aug. 22- Wigan vs. Manchester United (9:55am, ESPN2)
Mon., Aug. 24- Liverpool vs. Aston Villa (2:55pm, ESPN2)
Sat., Aug. 29- Chelsea vs. Burnley (7:40am, ESPN2)
Sat., Sept. 12- Liverpool vs. Burnley (9:55am, ESPN2)
Sat. Sept. 19- Burnley vs. Sunderland (7:40am, ESPN2)
Sat., Sept. 26- Portsmouth vs. Everton (7:40am,ESPN2)
Mon., Sept. 28- Manchester City vs. West Ham (2:55pm, ESPN2)
What do you think of the news? Excited to see this schedule? Will you be up early to see Chelsea-Hull even without Jozy Altidore? Ready to adopt Burnley as your second-favorite EPL team?
Share your thoughts below.