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ESPN buys sports channel NASN

Network specializes in North American sports coverage

Disney-owned ESPN has purchased NASN, the European channel specializing in live broadcasts of major American sports.

Terms of the agreement between the Mouse House and NASN’s owners, Setanta Sports and Benchmark Capital Europe, were not disclosed. Deal is expected to close early next year, subject to regulatory approvals.

“Growing our business in Europe is a key strategic initiative for us,” said Russell Wolff, managing director of ESPN Intl. “We expect NASN, which has performed well and created a unique market position, to be a strong addition to our portfolio.”

Amory B. Schwartz, co-founder and chief executive of NASN, said: “In four years, we have developed NASN … into the home of North American sports in Europe, and the acquisition by ESPN is testimony to the soundness of our vision and execution.”

NASN claims to be the only web in Europe dedicated to North American sports, airing hundreds of live sports events each year.

“This acquisition will allow us to accelerate our European television business, which has grown rapidly since the launch of ESPN Classic in 2002,” said Lynne Frank, managing director of ESPN, Europe, Mideast and Africa.