With a little more than month to go until kickoff in Brazil, ESPN Radio has put a host of advertisers in the back of its World Cup net.
Officials at the worldwide leader indicate sales are outpacing where it stood prior to the 2010 World Cup from South Africa, with little inventory remaining.
Following its run four years ago, ESPN Radio will once again provide complete coverage of all 64 matches of FIFA’s famed soccer tourney, which begins with the host nation playing Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo through the final on July 13 in Rio de Janiero.
ESPN Radio plans to again team veteran FIFA World Cup soccer commentators JP Dellacamera on play-by-play with analyst Tommy Smyth. Dellacamera has called the last seven FIFA World Cups for a variety of networks and has served as NBC’s lead soccer commentator at the Summer Olympics. Smyth, who has called thousands of international matches from leagues all over the world, including the UEFA Champions League for ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN International, served as a game and studio analyst during ESPN’s UEFA European Football Championship (2008 and 2012) coverage and has worked on a quintet of FIFA World Cups (1994, ’98, 2002, ’06 and ‘10).
Mark Donaldson and Ross Dyer will also call matches, while Paul Mariner, Shep Messing, Shaka Hislop and Janusz Michallik are slated to provide analysis of the pitch action.
In addition to its own affiliate base, ESPN Radio’s coverage will be streamed on ESPNRadio.com and is also available via the ESPN Radio App. Moreover, the radiocasts will also be featured on SiriusXM, with 56 of the matches airing on SiriusXM Channel 84. In cases where two matches are airing simultaneously, one will air on SiriusXM 84, with the other playing out on SiriusXM 85.
Traug Keller, ESPN senior vice president of production, business divisions, believes there is definitely a place for radio in the programmer’s multiplatform presentation of World Cup 2014.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the results from the 2010 World Cup,” he said. “Many people at work listened to the matches on the radio or computers, or while they were driving their cars.”
Keller added that ESPN Radio App scored a 40% lift during the 2010 World Cup.
Matches aside, ESPN Radio will roll out an array of news and support programming with SportsCenter Expresses and World Cup Expresses during evening and weekend programming, as well as special one-hour FIFA World Cup Today shows at select times during the tournament. ESPN Radio will also produce a 30-minute ESPN FC program, which will air multiple times each night of the World Cup, and be accessible as podcasts on ESPNRadio.com and through the ESPN Radio App.
Keller believes the broadcasts will benefit from the promotion that is coming in the form of vignettes ESPN Radio already has put in play. “There are great goals from past World Cups, information on rivalries and previews of upcoming matches,” he said, noting that Geico is among the sponsors of this content.
ESPN Radio officials report major positions have been scored by FIFA advertisers. Kia is the presenting pre-match sponsor, while Hyundai serves in that capacity for halftime show. Adidas is the group round presenting sponsor.