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The British version of ESPN Classic launched on 14 March 2006  on Sky Digital Channel 442, the first channel in the UK under the ESPN branding. On 3 August 2009, ESPN Classic launched on Virgin Media channel 533 as a part of the XL pack.  On 14 August 2009, ESPN Classic launched on UPC Ireland channel 409 as a part of the Max package.  It broadcasts a range of archive sports coverage, with an emphasis on football, including 1970s and 1980s editions of Match of the Day (though these are shown without the opening and closing titles and branded "The Dead Good Match", and are sometimes truncated, with only one of the matches covered in a particular programme being shown).
The channel also transmits some archive ITV football coverage, FA Cup, European Cup, European Cup Winners Cup and League Cup finals, matches from the Premier League, and some England games.
Though most coverage on the channel is from the colour era, it has shown original black and white footage of European Cup finals going back as far as 1959. Most football matches on the channel have the original UK commentary, from the likes of John Motson, Barry Davies, Brian Moore and, for earlier games, David Coleman or Kenneth Wolstenholme, but Premier League games from the 1990s tend to feature commentary dubbed on more recently by Jon Champion, or commentary by Sky Sports broadcasters such as Martin Tyler and Alan Parry which seems to be from the international feed of the time. Some 1960s European Cup finals have also had a new commentary dubbed on by Tony Jones.
The channel also shows rugby league challenge cup & international matches from the 1970s to the 2000s as well as rugby union international matches , some archive cricket coverage, a darts programme introduced by Sid Waddell, vintage boxing matches, and some skateboarding programmes, often featuring Tony Hawk.