- Free Weekend
ESPN to screen free-to-air Premier League match
ESPN will be free to view for millions of sports fans over an unmissable weekend in February as we offer fans the opportunity to sample our extensive range of live British and international sport for free.
ESPN's Free Weekend, sponsored by Nokia Lumia, begins at 6am on Friday February 3 and will make ESPN and ESPN HD available to all Sky, TopUp TV and BT Vision subscribers in the UK and Ireland. Additionally, the channel will be available for free to the 10 million UK households who have the subscription-free digital TV service Freeview, meaning that in total, some 20 million UK households will have free access to the channel.
Jeroen Oerlemans, ESPN Vice President, TV Channels Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: "Millions of UK fans have already discovered the great range of great sport ESPN offers - from the Barclays Premier League to Serie A, to cricket, darts, motorsports and UFC. This is a great opportunity for us to introduce that to millions more and let them sample the programming ESPN has on offer."
The weekend runs until 6am on Monday February 6 and will provide fans access to a great line-up of live sport, including top-flight football from across Europe, action from the NBA, Ultimate Fighting Championship and live studio shows.
The Barclays Premier League takes centre stage on Saturday at 4:30pm as Roberto Mancini's title-chasing Manchester City host Martin Jol's Fulham, who will be looking for points to push on towards the European qualification places. Viewers will see ESPN's unique matchday coverage, including ESPN Arena, the augmented reality technology that allows enhanced studio analysis by ESPN's pundits and special guests via a virtual pitch.
European football action kicks off Friday night as German champions Borussia Dortmund travel to face FC Nuremburg, then on Saturday night Roma take on Inter Milan in Serie A. Sunday will see three more games from the Italian top flight, including the evening kick-off between title-chasing AC Milan and Napoli. These games, along with FC Kaiserslautern v FC Cologne from the Bundesliga, form part of ESPN's newly launched Sunday line-up, where the sporting action is complemented by wraparound studio analysis and highlights as well as ESPN's football debate and chat show Talk of the Terrace and Pardon the Interruption, as Mark Chapman and Steve Bunce dissect the week's sporting stories.
The Free Weekend will also feature ESPN's live and exclusive coverage of the NBA regular season, with Friday night action as the New York Knicks travel to the Boston Celtics. The Knicks will be looking to stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire to secure a win over their East coast rivals. In addition, UFC 143 will be live from Las Vegas on Saturday night, as Nick Diaz fights Carlos Condit for the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship.
New to ESPN, the ATP World Tour 250 is in Montpellier for the Open Sud de France, with top 20-ranked players including Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon and Robin Soderling set to compete. There will be coverage from the quarter finals through to the final across the weekend.
Nokia's new Lumia smart phone range will sponsor the weekend, and follows ESPN and Nokia announcing late last year the introduction of a special product offering the ESPN Hub specifically for sports fans who are users of the new Nokia Windows Phone. Nokia will run co-branded idents on the channel throughout, plus short co-branded spots across both ESPN and ESPN Classic. Online, Nokia Lumia will run homepage takeovers on ESPN's portfolio of sports websites such ESPN.co.uk and ESPNsoccernet.com, and on mobile will run pre-roll video ads on ESPN Goals, the sports media company's free app which brings UK fans video action and goals from every Barclays Premier League match within just minutes of it taking place.