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ESPN to offer unprecedented studio coverage
by Paul Kennedy, August 11th, 2009 7AM



[TELEVISION WATCH] How big is the Mexico-USA showdown in Azteca being treated? For the first time in the 30-year history of ESPN, it will offer a live pre-match show for a soccer event it is not televising.

"This match is critical to Mexico's effort to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and presents an historic opportunity for the U.S. Team to win for the first time ever on Mexican soil," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  "The history of this rivalry, the teams' standings in the qualifying series and growing demand for World Cup news provide great storylines for our coverage."

ESPN's coverage began Monday with Pedro Gomez reporting from Miami, site of the U.S. training camp.  Gomez will travel with the team to Mexico City, where he'll appear through Wednesday's post-match reports on SportsCenter, ESPN2's First Take and ESPNEWS.

Bob Ley, who will host ESPN's 2010 World Cup coverage, and Alexi Lalas will provide coverage from Mexico City on Tuesday and Wednesday morning and appear on a special World Cup qualifying edition of Sports Center with John Harkes and Josh Elliott in the Bristol, Conn., studio on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET -- a half hour before the game kicks off on Telemundo and mun2.

SportsCenter at 6 p.m. will include live post-game reactions and reports by Ley, Lalas and Gomez.

ESPN Deportes, ESPN's Spanish-language network in the U.S., will feature up to eight hours of live news and information programming around the match, led by three live hours of Futbol Picante (one-hour match preview at 3 p.m. and a two-hour post-match edition at 6 p.m.), the network's signature soccer program.


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