ESPN's Free Weekend bring viewers Top Live Sport for free

Top Quote ESPN and ESPN America will be free for a key weekend in the sporting calendar as the sports media company gives fans a chance to sample its extensive line-up of live British and international sport, including 22 live sporting events across the two channels. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 24, 2011 - - Watch ESPN and ESPN America for free in UK and Ireland between 4th and 7th March
    - Live Barclays Premier League, Serie A, Aviva Premiership Rugby, World Rally Championship and more
    - ESPN continues to grow in popularity; posts record audience in January

    ESPN's Free Weekend, beginning at 6am on Friday 4th March and running until 6am on Monday 7th March, will make ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN America and ESPN America HD available to all Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk viewers in the UK, and to all UPC and Sky viewers in the republic of Ireland. ESPN's Free Weekend will allow more than 16.5 million households across the UK and Ireland to access its line-up of live British and international sport.

    This comes as ESPN, continues to grow in popularity among UK sports fans, with the channel's average audience in January making it the third most popular sports channel in the UK. The channel had its highest-ever monthly average audience, its highest single-day average audience (30th January) and posted its second highest monthly total audience reach.

    Football fans can enjoy a back-to-back double-bill of live Barclays Premier League, and Serie A action on Saturday 5th March. The clash between title-chasing Manchester City and relegation-battling Wigan Athletic will be available from 4:45pm. Immediately following this game, viewers can watch live and exclusive coverage of the Serie A clash between Juventus and AC Milan. ESPN's Saturday evening of football will be presented live from Manchester City's Eastlands stadium, presented by Rebecca Lowe. From a custom-built set, all pre and post-match discussion and analysis of both games will come live from the ground, capturing the atmosphere and adding a fresh dimension to broadcast coverage, with a range of special guests and pundits.

    This line-up of live sport over the weekend is complemented with special editions of Talk of the Terrace, ESPN's weekly football debate and chat show, and Pardon The Interruption, where ESPN's Mark Chapman and Steve Bunce debate all the issues of the sporting week.

    ESPN's exclusive coverage of two games from the Aviva Premiership will bring fans top rugby union action as the league enters its crucial closing stages. Gloucester v Bath is live on Saturday at 12:15pm, followed by Sunday's game between Exeter and Northampton Saints at 2:15pm.

    The second round of the World Rally Championship, which is exclusive to ESPN this season, will be live from Mexico for the Rally Guanajuato on Sunday afternoon.

    Additionally, ESPN will broadcast the first-ever regular season NBA games to be played in Europe, from London's O2 Arena, featuring the New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors.

    The weekend's selection of live sport is complemented by a range of news, highlights and preview shows on ESPN and ESPN America, such as MMA Live, WRC Rallyworld, SportsCenter, College Gameday, and NBA Tonight, and ICC Cricket World.

    Jeroen Oerlemans, ESPN Vice President, TV Channels Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "This is a great opportunity for sports fans to see what ESPN has to offer. The weekend illustrates the breadth and depth of our coverage of top sport, both domestically and from around the world, and we're delighted to give everyone a chance to experience ESPN."

    Live highlights of ESPN's "Free Weekend" include:*

    Friday 4th March
    NBA New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors 7.45 pm
    MMA MMA Live 10.30 pm
    NBA Miami Heat @ San Antonio Spurs 12.00 am

    Saturday 5th March
    Aviva Premiership Rugby Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby 12.15 pm
    Barclays Premier League Manchester City v Wigan Athletic 4.45 pm
    Serie A Juventus v AC Milan 7.45 pm
    NCAA Basketball Texas @ Baylor 2.00 am

    Sunday 6th March
    Aviva Premiership Rugby Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 2.15 pm
    World Rally Championship Mexico, Power Stage 5.00 pm
    Serie A Lazio v Palermo 7.45 pm
    NHL Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks 1.00 am

    ESPN America
    Friday 4th March
    SportsCenter Signature daily news and info programme 7:00 am
    NHL Tampa Bay @ Boston 5.00 pm
    NHL Detroit @ San Jose 7.00 pm

    Saturday 5th March
    NHL Pittsburgh @ New Jersey 11.00 am
    NHL Dallas @ Anaheim 1.00 pm
    College Basketball Notre Dame @ Connecticut 7.00 pm
    College Basketball Villanova @ Pittsburgh 9.00 pm

    Sunday 6th March
    NHL Chicago @ Toronto 12.00 pm
    College Basketball Kentucky @ Tennessee 5.00 pm

    ESPN's programming lineup is rich in top-quality, exclusive sports. Launched in August 2009, ESPN features top live football from around the world (Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Premier League, UEFA Europa League, Euro 2012 qualifiers, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, Dutch Eredivisie and Russian Premier League) as well as UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship, Top 14 Orange rugby, Australian Rules Football (AFL), NFL, NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball and more.

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