ESPN to show live Premier League match for free

Pay sports channel to screen Manchester City v Fulham as part of a four-day Freeview promotion

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Subscription sports channel ESPN is to show the first ever live free-to-air Premier League football match this February.

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The clash between current league leaders Manchester City and mid-table Fulham will air at 5:30pm on Saturday 4 February as part of a promotion which sees the channel made available to Freeview viewers during the first weekend in February.

ESPN – which usually requires a specific Sky or Virgin Media package to watch – is broadcasting free for four days between Friday 3 and Monday 6 February and will show a range of matches including Serie A and Bundesliga fixtures as it aims to persuade more viewers with satellite and cable to take out a subscription. 

There is speculation that the game could garner the highest viewing figures in Premier League history, with an estimated 10 million households thought to use Freeview as their sole means of receiving digital TV.

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“This is a great opportunity for us to introduce [our coverage] to millions more and let them sample the programming ESPN has on offer,” said chief executive Jeroen Oerlemans.