Commentary

ESPN picks up Mexico's Tri through 2014

By Paul Kennedy

Mexico has drawn huge television audiences for years on Spanish-language television, and ESPN now hopes to get into the act and tap into its growing following of English-speaking Hispanics who support the Tri.

Wednesday's Mexico-Denmark international friendly on ESPN2 marked the first game to be aired as part of an agreement between Univision Deportes and ESPN to telecast Mexican national team matches on ESPN’s English-language networks and digital platforms through 2014.

The deal covers Mexico’s home World Cup qualifying matches and international friendlies. The series of 20 matches will conclude with Mexico’s last match before the 2014 World Cup. It will include the Mexico-USA World Cup qualifier on March 26. The game is the only U.S. road qualifier for which BeIN SPORT does not hold the rights.
 
“The Mexican national team plays an exciting brand of soccer that has attracted a passionate, loyal fan base not only in Mexico but throughout the U.S.,” said Scott Guglielmino, the ESPN senior vice president for programming. “As ESPN continues to build towards the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, this agreement represents an opportunity to add a premier soccer property that will appeal to all fans, including our growing Hispanic audience.”

Univision Deportes and ESPN already hold the media rights, in Spanish and English, respectively, to the U.S. national team home games, as well as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. World Cup rights will move to Fox and Telemundo for 2018 and 2022.

MLS TV DEALS. The Los Angeles Galaxy will have 21 and 17 MLS games on new home Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, respectively, 2013. Time Warner Cable SportsNet's debut broadcast will be the SuperClasico against Chivas USA March 17. Time Warner Cable Deportes' first broadcast will follow six days later for the Galaxy-Colorado match.

-- The Houston Dynamo entered into a three-year agreement with Comcast SportsNet Houston (CSN) to air approximately 15-20 games per season. CSN will produce Pregame Live and Postgame Live shows, a weekly in-season magazine show and other specials. As part of the agreement, KPRC, the local NBC affiliate, will air a select number of Dynamo games.
 
SPORTING KC-BOULEVARD ALLIANCE. Sporting Kansas City has entered into a five-year deal with Boulevard Brewing Company. As the official craft beer sponsor of the team, the brewery will operate the Boulevard Members' Club at Sporting Park. "This has been in the works for a long time," said Jeremy Ragonese, Boulevard's director of marketing, said in a statement. "Our mutual fans have been outspoken in their support for an alliance between Boulevard and Sporting KC, and their passion for our brands makes this a natural fit."

ALIANZA LIVE ON SUNDAYS. Salvadoran club Alianza has a televison deal of its own on American television. Estrella TV will carry Alianza matches in the Primera Division, beginning on Sunday afternoon.
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