BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — The ESPN+ streaming service has obtained U.S. English-language television rights for the Copa America, South America’s soccer championship.
ESPN, part of The Walt Disney Co., said Tuesday all 26 matches will be streamed. None will be televised by ESPN’s linear broadcast networks.
The tournament, to be played in Brazil from June 14 to July 7, agreed last July to a U.S. Spanish-language rights agreement with Telemundo, a division of Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal.
“We’ve built a home for soccer fans and this will fit right in,” said Russell Wolff, ESPN+’s executive vice president and general manager.
ESPN+, launched in April 2018, has televised more than 1,000 matches from Italy’s Serie A, England’s FA Cup and second-tier League Championship as well as European Nations League matches and games from MLS, the lower-level United Soccer League and the U.S. Open Cup. ESPN has not released ESPN+ viewership figures.
“We think we have the ability to push the right message to the right fan at the right time for those who are already subscribers to let them know it’s there, and we’ve got a whole host of marketing plans in place to push the availability of Copa America on ESPN+ to fans both on our platforms and on third-party platforms,” Wolff said.
ESPN plans to employ the world feed production that includes a one-man broadcast by Jon Cotterill, and for some matches ESPN will use its own soccer talent. ESPN FC’s studio show will feature coverage, and ESPN is launching a series “The Equalizer” on American women’s team star Alex Morgan, which coincides with the Women’s World Cup in France.
The Copa final in Rio de Janeiro on July 7 at 4 p.m. EDT will be part of a tripleheader of championship matches, flanked by coverage of the Women’s World Cup in Lyon at 11 a.m. on Fox and the CONCACAF Gold Cup final in Chicago at 9 p.m. on Fox’s FS1. American players have criticized FIFA for making the women’s finale share the spotlight.
Fox had English-language rights to the 2016 Copa America in the United States and BeIN Sports had them for the 2015 tournament in Chile.
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