Connecticut-based ESPN has suspended its TV broadcasts in most of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and US sports fans living abroad say they’re having a tough time adjusting to the change.
Peter Alegi says Americans overseas love to argue about 2 things: US politics and US sports. Alegi – a self-described baseball nut - is a New Haven native who has lived for decades in Italy. Speaking from the town of Todi, Italy, he says ex-pats will sorely miss TV broadcasts of major league baseball, the NBA and NFL.
"I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this kind of tears many Americans a little but further away from the United States. ESPN, frankly, helped bring Americans together."
Back in February, ESPN reached an agreement to sell its UK and Ireland TV channel business to BT Sport channel based in the UK. Then ESPN made the broader decision to suspend its TV channels in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In an e-mail, London-based spokesman Paul Melvin says the company is shifting its focus instead to digital business: mobile, online and broadband.
But ex-pat sports fan Alegi says that’s just not the same.
"There’s a big difference between that and doing what we did in our family four or five days ago before it went off – watching on superscreen - watching the Yankees trying to dig themselves out of a ditch."
ESPN’s headquarters are based in Bristol, Connecticut.