BT Vision pacts with ESPN

Telco IPTV operator kicks up soccer package

LONDON -- BT Vision said Tuesday that it has signed a deal with Disney-owned ESPN to carry the new U.K. ESPN channel offering live Premier League soccer that launched this month.

BTVision, which has about 500,000 IPTV customers, said its users would be able to access ESPN for free if they were in the top three subscription tiers and would retail at $25 per month for other customers.

ESPN's coverage of the Barclays Premier League on BT Vision kicks off Aug. 15.

ESPN also has a lineup including Scottish Premier League matches, as well as rights to top-flight German, Portuguese, Russian and Dutch league soccer and USA Major League Soccer.

Subscription channel ESPN also has carriage on BSkyB and Virgin Media, giving it total access to an installed base of 12 million homes, many of whom it hopes to convert to paying customers.