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Univision Deportes, ESPN gain US rights to Mexican national football team matches

Univision Deportes and ESPN will broadcast football matches featuring the Mexican National Team (El Tri) in the US through 2014 — the first time the team has had such coverage in El Norte in English.

ESPN’s English language networks and digital platforms have the media rights to Mexico’s home FIFA World Cup qualifying matches and international friendlies. The English-language coverage will complement Univision’s popular Spanish language coverage of the Mexican Team on broadcast, cable and interactive platforms.

“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 US,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president of 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.”

As part of the agreement, Univision Deportes and ESPN have secured the US media rights to all of Mexico’s home matches, both qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and international friendlies, in Spanish and English respectively. The alliance will also allow Univision Deportes and ESPN to collaborate on special content focused on the Mexican National Team.

The series of 20 matches began with an international friendly in Phoenix (vs. Denmark) on the UniMás/Univision Deportes Network and in English on ESPN2/WatchESPN. The run will conclude with the team’s last match before the 2014 World Cup.

Univision Deportes and ESPN will also televise the much anticipated Mexico vs. USA match in Mexico City on 26 March, the first leg of a home and away matches between the two rivals in the Hexagonal Round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying series for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region.

“Univision Deportes is committed to expanding access to soccer properties in the US across our platforms and with partnerships such as this one with ESPN,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes. “Bringing together the leading sports brand in Hispanic America with the leading sports entity in English language media undoubtedly speaks to the growing popularity of soccer in the US, and underscores Univision’s commitment to grow soccer in the US.”

Univision Deportes will continue to broadcast Mexican National Team matches in Spanish across Univision Network, UniMás, Univision Deportes Network with additional content on its digital and social platforms. Matches will be preceded by live editions of Futbol Central. ESPN will have access to match highlights across ESPN studio programs such as SportsCenter, ESPN FC Press Pass, First Take, SportsNation, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning (simulcast on ESPN2). Univision Deportes and ESPN will also each have a reporter pitch-side access during select El Tri matches.

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