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ESPN Deportes Continues Growth, Focusing on Pan-American Games & Euro 2016 After World Cup

First Posted: May 17, 2014 03:51 PM EDT
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ESPN Deportes

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ESPN Deportes held their Upfront this week in New York City, where they got the opportunity to showcase their talent and tout their exponential growth over the last year on the market, as they presented their new initiatives for 2014-2015.

"There has never been a better time to be in the business of live sports," said Ernesto Jerez, ESPN Deportes play-by-play commentator known for his "no nono no nono" home run calls during his telecasts, to the crowd at the Upfront conference. "At ESPN Deportes, we're seeing tremendous growth over the last year in live events, especially live American sports. 2013 was a change-changer and 2014 is looking to be even better."

ESPN Deportes has high hopes for their upcoming coverage over the next year, having won the broadcast rights to the 2015 Pan American Games, the Road to the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers for the 2016 UEFA European Championship, Liga MX & Copa MX matches, UEFA Europa League matches, Brasileiro (Brazilian first division soccer league) matches, and Major League Soccer (MLS) games -- part of their newly signed deal with the North American soccer league. ESPN Deportes has added the College Football Championship tournament -- including both playoff and title game to their National Football League (NFL) Wildcard playoff game.

"If you are a brand that is trying to connect with a Hispanic fans all year long, this is exactly the place to be," said Lino Garcia, general manager of the ESPN Deportes.

ESPN Deportes is feeling confident, coming off a year that saw strong ratings for Monday Night Football, Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Basketball Association (NBA) regular-season game.

"Our live ratings have increased over 48 percent over last year," Garcia said. "It's impossible to list all the things that went into those results, but they do speak for themselves. Live sports wins."

NFL and NBA commentator Alvaro Martin believes that part of the reason ESPN Deportes has been to able to grow their audience is because they have been able to tap into the acculturated Hispanics demographic, who live and participate in "two separate worlds," such as National Football League (NFL) San Diego Chargers defensive end Kendall Reyes.

"I followed Kendall Reyes, big defensive tackle guy of Venezuelan descent, you know, Venezuela, that football hotbed, ended up in UCONN, and ended up with the San Diego Chargers," Martin said. "There is an example of a kid who is new to the American mainstream and suddenly football became a conduit to making it to the biggest stage possible."

Martin also pointed out that ESPN Deportes has become a destination spot for Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. who have assimilated to American culture via sports.

"The immigrant that learns football and understands football or basketball, has a place at the water cooler on Monday," says Martin. "Our job is to give that individual the arguments to look good in that conversation, to thrive in that conversation."

With a strong live sports lineup and original programming unique to ESPN Deportes, such as "Dream Job: El Reportero" -- in which the network holds a casting call for aspiring sportscasters with the winner receiving a chance to cover the 2014 World Cup in Brazil; and documentary "Gringos at the Gate" -- taking a historical look at the soccer intense rivalry between CONCACAF's Mexico and the United States teams.

"We have the experts, we have the athletes, and we have the properties that serve your brands. No one serves Hispanic fans like ESPN Deportes," Garcia said. "2013 was game-changing. 2014 is better. And the best is yet to come in 2015."

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