ESPN buys

From Guardian Unlimited
ESPN, the Disney-owned American sports broadcasters, has bought for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition follows the purchase of Cricinfo in June, and marks the latest strategic move by ESPN to build its global online audience through buying niche websites. – which has shareholders including ITV rugby commentator and former British Lions player John Taylor – was launched by Emap in 1997.

ESPN has acquired from parent company Scrum Ltd, which eventually became the owner of the website – acquired for less than £100,000 from failed sports venture Sportal – after it had changed hands several times up until 2002.

ESPN has rights to air the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups throughout Latin America and has a deal to show the Heineken Cup throughout New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.

Late last year ESPN agreed to buy London-based cable channel the North American Sports Network in an effort to broadcast more US sports in Europe.

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