The original ESPN/GolTV announcement was a little confusing for me, what with the talk of GolTV retaining some matches, and ESPN using a conglomeration of channels including ESPN2, ESPNDeportes, and ESPN360.com to cover La Liga matches. So I contacted ESPN with the hopes of a little clarity. They sent me an email directing me to this press release, which I hadn't come across before. Of course you can read the whole thing, but these are the highlights:
- GolTV will continue to show 120 exclusive La Liga matches.
- ESPN will have exclusive rights to 114 matches.
- You can watch every ESPN La Liga match if you have access to ESPN360, their channel that broadcasts exclusively over the internet. All of these matches will be broadcast in English.
- To access ESPN360, your internet service provider (ISP) must subscribe. If your ISP has subscribed, you will have complete access at no extra cost - the cost is included in your normal monthly internet bill. Current ISP subscribers include: AT&T, Verizon, Comcast (August 1, 2009), RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications, among others. ESPN360 is free if you live on a college campus or on a military base (where your ISP is either a .edu or a .mil).
- ESPN will simulcast 95 of its 114 La Liga matches in Spanish on ESPNDeportes, and matches will occasionally be aired on ESPN2.
- All Copa del Rey coverage in the U.S. will be exclusively on ESPN's network, and all of the Copa matches ESPN will broadcast can be seen on ESPN360.
- ESPN is not, at this time, creating a soccer-specific channel.
Make sense? So, if you have GolTV, and you were wondering if it would be obliterated in the deal - it hasn't been, so keep your subscription. It isn't clear, though, whether it is GolTV or ESPN that got the rights to all the Barca and Madrid matches, which I am sure were central to the negotiations.
By my calculations, both services will show approximately 3 matches each matchday, meaning that every week, 12 of the 20 Liga teams will be available. Not bad odds for catching Villarreal!
I am very happy with the fact that Comcast just signed up for ESPN360. Plus, only in writing this post did I realize that if your ISP is signed up for it, then there is no additional cost. Now if only I could watch it at work like the people do in their commercial!