Virgin Media has confirmed that it will offer the ESPN football channel that replaces the now defunct Setanta Sports channel – but, in an added bonus, will also carry an HD version of the sports channel.

This gives people on the XL television package back the Premiership (not forgetting Clydesdale Bank Premier League) football that was plucked from their service when Setanta went down – and also deals up the bonus of an HD option.

For those on smaller packages it's £10 a month or £8 if you have the Sky Sports package.

The new channels arrive on August 3, just in time for the new Premiership season, and ESPN's will show 46 matches in 2009/10 and 23 in each of the following campaigns.

Extra mile

Mark Schweitzer, chief commercial officer of Virgin Media, said: "This agreement solidifies Virgin Media's place as the home of TV entertainment and is unquestionably the best value TV deal for sports fanatics.

"We've got all the sports content you'd expect and adding the new ESPN channels to our line-up will mean our customers can watch all the football action they want."

"We're always looking for ways to go the extra mile for our customers and we think this market beating offer does this in spades as well as providing a sweetener for the start of the football season.

"We are extremely proud to have partnered with ESPN, which is the world's leading multimedia sports entertainment company."

The first match being screened in glorious HD on EPSN will be Everton v Arsenal at 5:30 on Saturday August 15.

However, it's not the first football match to be screened in HD on the channel - with the BBC HD channel getting that honour some time ago.