ESPN has secured exclusive live coverage of Italy's Serie A in the United Kingdom (UK) for the 2009-10 season with the broadcaster covering up to three live games a week when the new season kicks off on August 22.
The American sports network will begin its coverage of over 80 live games this season with AC Milan's trip to Siena on the opening day on Saturday 22 August, followed 24-hours later by reigning champions Inter hosting newly-promoted Bari at the San Siro.
All matches will be shown live and exclusive on the new ESPN channel, which was launched in the UK on Monday.
As well as delayed coverage of other matches in ESPN's late night and midweek output, there will also be a preview show; Total Italian Football, to offer a look towards the weekend's action; and a highlights programme; Serie A Weekly, which will include all the latest news from Italy, to compliment the live coverage.
Last week, ESPN announced it had acquired the live rights to the Supercoppa Italiana final - the curtain-raiser to the Italian football season - between Inter and Lazio in Beijing, China on Saturday 8 August and also comprehensive live coverage from the later rounds of this season's Coppa Italia competition.
"We're very pleased to be able to broadcast the Italian Serie A," vice-President of ESPN Europe Jeroen Oerlemans said. "As one of the best leagues in the world, the live coverage will sit nicely with our English Premier League, Scottish Premier League and German Bundesliga matches, making the channel the number one stop for football fans around the UK."
Carlo Pozzali, CEO of Media Partners and Silva - Serie A's international rights holder, added: "We are delighted to increase our relationship with ESPN, a broadcast partner which ensures best coverage for Italian Serie A in the United Kingdom."
No details have been released regarding ESPN's presentation or commentary teams for their Italian football coverage but keep visiting this page for further updates. All of ESPN's live Italian matches will be listed in the comments section below.
A world-renowned Disney-owned company, ESPN will also be covering live action from the English Premier League, Scottish Premier League, German Bundesliga, Dutch Eredivisie, Portuguese Liga, Russian Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and American Major League Soccer this season, amongst other major European and international sporting events.
Although Italian football was not shown live in the UK last season, Serie A has been covered for many years and by many broadcasters on British television. Sky's small offering on satellite in the early 1990s was followed in 1992 by Channel 4's long-running and successful Football Italia show, which was anchored by James Richardson.
Since 2002, digital broadcasters ITV, British Eurosport, Setanta Sports and Bravo all had short stints before it returned to UK terrestrial television for the first time in five years with Channel Five in 2007. That deal only lasted a year and Italian football fans were left without any live coverage until today's announcement by ESPN.
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