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Buena Vista Acquires, Relaunches Soccernet

Buena Vista Internet Group (BVIG) has acquired a controlling interest of 60 per cent in Soccernet from the Daily Mail and General Trust.

Soccernet will now become the cornerstone for ESPN.com to expand its international operations.

"With Soccernet, we are now well positioned to grow our audience base outside the United States, introducing sports fans worldwide to the depth and breadth of coverage people have come to expect from ESPN.com," said Kevin Mayer, executive vice president, television network product and international, BVIG.

ESPN.com also announced Soccernet's re-launch with additional features. The site will not only provides breaking news, match results, statistics and analysis for leagues in England and Scotland but also for the rest of Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world. It is the world's most popular soccer site with more than 20 million page views per month.

One of Soccernet's key features will be a premium fantasy game. ESPN.com says that the fantasy games on its various sports sites have generated 2.6 million registrations in the past 12 months.

The Daily Mail expressed satisfaction at the deal, saying that the ESPN.com brand would enable Soccernet to achieve its potential.

"ESPN is the recognised leader in international sports programming in television and on the Web, and this relationship will give Soccernet the backing needed to increase its position as the worldwide football information provider," said Paul Zwillenberg, managing director of Associated New Media, Daily Mail and General Trust's Internet division.

For English football fans, Soccernet will offer in-depth coverage of the FA Cup and Worthington Cup, and all the major competitions in Europe, with news and analysis from ESPN, the Daily Mail and Evening Standard. Fans can also look forward to live chats with players, a history and honors section and a referee report.