The passion for soccer among Latino sports fans is, as all advertisers are aware, second to none.
That’s why ESPN Deportes can expect a ratings bonanza from an international pre-season competition of professional teams to be played in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The 2016 International Champions Cup puts the top teams from the world’s top soccer league together in a unique 10-team competition held around the world.
Matches kicked off July 22 in Shanghai, China with Barclays Premier League fan favorites Manchester United losing to Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga 4-1. Subsequent matches have been held in Melbourne, Australia; Glasgow, Scotland; Eugene, Oregon; Beijing; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago; Pasadena, Calif.; Shenzhen, China; Dublin, Ireland; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Charlotte, North Carolina; Santa Clara, Calif.; Carson, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; East Rutherford, N.J.; and Minneapolis, Minn.
An August 6 match is set for Liverpool vs. FC Barcelona in London, England, and the tournament wraps up August 13 in Limerick, Ireland with FC Internazionale facing Celtic FC.
Fernando Palomo will lead ESPN Deportes’ match commentary. He will be joined by Ricardo Ortiz, 1978 FIFA World Cup champion and golden boot winner Mario Kempes, and former Mexican National Team player Tato Noriega. Other contributors include Andres Agulla, Richard Mendez, Flavio Pereira, Alex Pareja, Barak Fever, Mauricio Pedroza and Robert Sierra.
In other ESPN Deportes news, the network ushered in a “new era” for its Nación ESPN studio program on July 18 when Pilar Pérez took a seat alongside commentators David Faitelson and Mauricio Pedroza. Pérez had previously been with FOX Sports in Mexico, serving as a commentator since joining the ESPN Deportes rival in 2009.
The interactive program, which mixes debate and fan discussion with news and interviews, is also boasting a new look that includes a set change, and new graphics, animation and music.
Meanwhile, soccer fans can now benefit from the addition of first-division soccer tournaments of El Salvador and Costa Rica on Hemisphere Media Group-owned pay-TV offering Centroamérica TV
Viewers can enjoy the complete 2016 season of the “2016 Torneo Apertura” of El Salvador and the “2016 Campeonato de Invierno” of Costa Rica, which will run through December on Centroamérica TV.
“Soccer is a source of great national pride among Hispanics, and we’re proud to be the home of the club teams of El Salvador and Costa Rica,” said Francisco Gimenez, general manager of cable networks for Hemisphere Media Group.