J Sports announced Monday it has signed a contract to show live English Premier League matches for the remainder of the 2007-08 season.

The broadcaster signed an exclusive three-year deal that will enable it to show live games until the end of the 2009-10 season.

J Sports was scheduled to broadcast a Premier League highlights program early Tuesday morning at 1 a.m. on J sports 2. The first live matches to be shown are Portsmouth vs. reigning champion Manchester United on Thursday morning at 3:40 a.m. on J sports 2 and Reading vs. Chelsea at 3:55 a.m. on J sports Plus.

The live games to be shown this weekend, when on Sunday Liverpool plays Chelsea after Manchester City hosts Manchester United, were yet to be announced.

Sky Perfect dropped the Premier League before the start of the 2007-08 season, leaving fans wondering whether there would be live coverage in Japan this season.

The J Sports deal has now come to the rescue, but not in time for the opening weekend when many fans watched games via the Internet.

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