With respect to the likes of Landon Donovan and David Beckham, Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is arguably the most popular soccer player in this part of the world.
Tonight at historic Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Chicharito and the Mexican National Team (El Tri) will kick off the final round of qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil against Jamaica (ESPN2 and WatchESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET).
A week from today, the Mexican striker will join his Premier League club in Spain when Manchester United faces nine-time European champions Real Madrid FC in the first leg of an away-and-home series in the 2012-2013 UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16.
Heading into these two huge matches, ESPN sought to profile the 24-year-old striker, who has taken English football by storm with 46 goals in 106 ManU matches, often as a substitute.
The task of securing ESPN’s multi-language profile of the El Tri star was assigned to coordinating producer Ursula Pfeiffer in ESPN’s cross-platform newsgathering unit.
Despite the daunting nature of the project, Pfeiffer knew she would have the help she needed, thanks to the resources available through ESPN’s English and Spanish-language domestic networks, as well as the network’s content team in Latin America.
“This required great cooperation on all fronts, but that is primarily what we do,” said Pfeiffer. “We are constantly looking for opportunities to serve fans by providing content in many languages for television and online via ESPN FC, the company’s digital soccer hub.”
ESPN has acquired the English-language rights to the Mexican National Team (El Tri) in the United States through the completion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil via an agreement with Univision, which retains the team’s U.S. Spanish-language rights.
The deal, for the first time in the U.S., gives El Tri fans a consistent English-language home for the team’s matches, while also granting ESPN highlights rights for its popular studio programs such as SportsCenter, ESPN FC Press Pass, First Take, SportsNation and more.
Front Row caught up with Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president for programming and Global X, to discuss the rights agreement with Univision:
Why did ESPN make this deal?
ESPN is committed to reaching the widest possible audience with programming that is relevant to the sports and teams that they follow. As the number of English-speaking U.S. Hispanic households continues to increase, it makes sense for ESPN to carry sports events and cover sports news relevant to that audience.
How does ESPN’s coverage of the Mexican National Team fit into the company’s overall soccer content strategy?continue reading…