ESPN Deportes Gets In 'Sync' With Fans

Spanish-Language App Will Let Viewers Interact With Live Events

NEW YORK -- ESPN Deportes will get in the second-screen game with the upcoming launch of Spanish-language app Sync.

Sync, set to launch in the summer and announced during last week’s Hispanic TV upfronts here, will allow viewers to interact on a second screen during live sports events via computer or directly from their mobile devices.

It’s part of a broader effort by ESPN Deportes to court Hispanic soccer fans in anticipation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. While ESPN holds the English-language U.S. rights for the tournament, Univision is the exclusive Spanish-language rightsholder.

“We might not have [Spanish-language] rights for the World Cup, but we want viewers to come to us after the game, or even before the game,” Lino García (pictured), GM of ESPN Deportes, said in interview with Hispanic TV Update.

Sync is meant to capitalize on a growing trend among Hispanic sports fans, who overindex in sharing thought and comments about live sporting events via social media as they watch games on TV.  

According to Nielsen’s 2012 The State of the Hispanic Consumer study, U.S. Hispanics watch more video via the Internet and mobile platforms than on traditional TV. What’s more, 60% of Latino households in the U.S. own at least one video- or Internet-enabled cellphone versus 43% of the general market.

“We know our audience is very well-connected, and we know that viewing sports is an experience that goes beyond the television screen,” García said.

The app is not yet available, but ESPN Deportes is positioning it among advertisers not only as a Spanish-language, standalone tool, but as yet one more platform in which it can extend its reach to sports fans.

“We are really putting emphasis on a total market strategy,and advertisers are already very excited about this,” Garcia said.

ESPN Deportes Sync is the first Spanish-language app of its kind and will be available on iOS-, Android- or Windows Mobile-based devices. Desktop users may access a Web-based version.