ESPN to air over 20 friendlies across the summer

ESPN is to broadcast more than 20 club and international friendlies over the summer, featuring a host of top British club sides plus key international clashes.

The line-up will give viewers a chance to scout England’s first opponents in UEFA Euro 2012 as ESPN broadcasts France’s remaining two warm-up games. The Brazilian national side will feature three times on ESPN, starting with its clash against the USA on Wednesday 30th May. And live at 7.45pm on Sunday 9th June, ESPN brings fans one of the biggest international friendlies on the football calendar: Brazil v Argentina.

ESPN’s live and exclusive coverage of top English clubs’ pre-season friendlies kicks off on Saturday 21st July with Liverpool’s game against Toronto FC at 9pm. The Reds continue their tour of North America on Wednesday 25th July against Roma at the legendary baseball stadium, Fenway Park in Boston. Their final game in the US sees them take on league rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday 28th July. The newly-crowned champions of Europe, Chelsea, are also in action in the US, taking on the best of the MLS (MLS All Stars) on Thursday 26th July. – The broadcaster says.

The new Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City will feature on ESPN on Friday 27th July as they clash with Arsenal at the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. Then on Monday 30th July Roberto Mancini’s men face a Malaysia Select XI in Kuala Lumpur. Three games from Arsenal’s tour of the Far East will be live on ESPN. First they take on a Malaysia Select XI on Tuesday 24th July, then face Manchester City before visiting Hong Kong Kitchee on Sunday 29th July.

Tottenham Hotspur begin their preparations for the new season live on ESPN with a game against David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the LA Galaxy at 4am on Tuesday 24th July. They then cross over to the east coast for the challenge of Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls, live at midnight on Tuesday 31st July. Finally Harry Redknapp’s men face Valencia on Thursday 9th August.

ESPN has also secured the rights to the Liga Total Cup in July, featuring four of the Bundesliga’s top teams – Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. Viewers will also be able to catch the new Spanish champions in action as Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo take on Benfica on Friday 27th July. – The broadcaster adds.

The summer will also feature competitive live football on ESPN as the MLS and FA Women’s Super League seasons continue. Bristol Academy v Arsenal Ladies is live on Wednesday 30th May, and Arsenal Ladies take on Birmingham City on Sunday 24th June. In the MLS, fixtures include Houston Dynamo v FC Dallas on Saturday 16th June, and Chicago Fire welcome Eastern Conference leaders, New York Red Bulls, on Sunday 17th June.

[Written by Neil Lang]

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