Disney Acquires UK Sports Net NASN As Launchpad For ESPN Expansion


From the Journal … Walt Disney Co. is spending a reported $107-120 million (including debt assumption) to acquire the North American Sports Network (NASN) from Irish sports broadcaster Setanta Sports Holdings Ltd. and PE firm Benchmark Capital Europe; the net, founded by ex-pat lawyer Amory Schwartz in 2002, claims six million subs in 25 countries with more European viewers than the expected concentration of Americans abroad.. Disney gets a base for the expansion of ESPN in Europe, which now has a minimal presence consisting of ESPN Classic, a soccer site and a distribution business. The net will be rebranded as ESPN eventually. The deal comes with some significant sports rights — exclusives NHL, MLB across Europe and some NFL exclusivity.

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