ESPN to show National Rugby League final

Monday, September 14 2009, 13:44 BST

By Andrew Laughlin,

ESPN has announced that it will broadcast the Australian National Rugby League Grand Final live on its new sports channel in the UK and Ireland.

On October 4, the ESPN channel will broadcast live coverage of the showpiece event starting at 7am. This will be preceded by coverage of the 1st Preliminary Final on September 25 at 10:45am and the 2nd Preliminary Final at 3pm on September 26.

Welcoming the announcement, NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said: "We are proud to have secured ESPN as an international broadcasting partner so the many thousands of Rugby League fans in the UK can watch all the drama and excitement unfold in the lead up to the culmination of the 2009 NRL season.

"The NRL Grand Final is one of the biggest events in Australian sport and given the number of Aussies currently living or travelling in the UK, combined with the large local following of the English Super League competition, I have no doubt there will be huge interest in these games."

ESPN is currently available on Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Top Up TV and Tiscali, as well as UPC in Ireland. Under the deal, ESPN will also offer a live online service around the Finals in collaboration with NRL internet partner Telstra.