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Sunday, January 29, 2012

ESPN Free Weekend February 2012

Premier League in your home for free for first time in 20 years as ESPN air Manchester City v Fulham on Freeview

Fans will be able to watch a Barclays Premier League match for free for the first time ever next month.

Broadcaster ESPN have announced that their flagship channel will be free-to-view over the weekend starting Friday, February 3.

As a result, people who just have basic Freeview, of which there around 10m in the United Kingdom, will be able to watch Fulham's trip to Manchester City on Saturday, February 4.

This will be the first time that a Premier League match has been made available for free.

Viewers will also be able to watch matches from Serie A and the Bundesliga, while basketball, tennis and UFC will also be screened during the four-day period.

"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," said ESPN vice president Jeroen Oerlemans.

"This is a great opportunity for us to introduce that to millions more and let them sample the programming ESPN has on offer."

The match will also be made available to BSkyB, BT Vision and Top Up TV customers, meaning that it has a potential audience of 20m. The game will be shown free to Virgin Media customers.

According to the Premier League, the previous record was 3.2m for last season’s game between Spurs and Manchester United. The highest recorded audience for a Premier League Match of the Day package was 5.49m in February last year, when viewers were drawn in by a record 41 goal haul that included Newcastle United’s 4-4 draw with Arsenal.

The game at the Etihad on Saturday 4 February will be the first Premier League game to be made available for viewing in homes with the basic Freeview package. But there is no guarantee of a bumper audience – many Freeview viewers have deliberately resisted the charms of the Premier League, which has been a key part of the BSkyB programming package.

The first live Premier League game was Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in August 1992. ESPN is broadcasting unencrypted for the whole of the first weekend in February, from Friday to Monday.

Nokia's new Lumia smart phone will sponsor the weekend.


Friday 3rd February

Bundesliga - FC Nuremburg vs Borussia Dortmund - 7:30pm

NBA - New York Knicks @ Boston Celtics - 1:00am

Saturday 4th February

Barclays Premier League - Manchester City vs Fulham - 4:30pm

Serie A - Roma vs Inter Milan - 7:45pm

UFC 143 - Nick Diaz vs Carlos Condit - 3:00am

Sunday 5th February

Serie A - Genoa vs Lazio - 11:30am

Serie A - Fiorentina vs Udinese - 1:45pm

Bundesliga - FC Kaiserslautern vs FC Cologne - 4:15pm

Studio show - Talk of the Terrace - 6:45pm

Serie A - AC Milan vs Napoli - 7:15pm

Studio show - Pardon the Interruption - 10:00pm

This free weekend is not applicable to Virgin, UPC, Talk Talk, Freesat or Freesat from Sky platforms.

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