Fox Sports en Espanol Scores With FC Barcelona

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Fox Sports en Español and Fox Soccer Channel are about to begin kicking it with FC Barcelona. 

The networks, through a deal with New York-based Schramm Sports & Entertainment, have acquired the rights to a host of current season and archival game footage and other programming tied to the prestigious Spanish soccer club.

Fox Sports en Espanol will package the content together under the heading "Barca TV."

The block will provide Barca backers with four-and-half hours of Friday futbol fare, beginning today April 25 at 5:30 p.m. Barca TV will house archival games, taped matches from this season from La Liga, Spain’s top circuit, plus action from the Champions League, Copa del Rey and friendlies.

In addition, FSE will run Replay, a news programs incorporating replays and highlights, supplemented by exclusive player and coach interviews and post-match commentary, on Fridays and Mondays at 9:30 p.m.

For its part, Fox Soccer Channel will showcase taped matches from the side’s current season and archival matches.

David Sternberg, executive vice president and general manager of FSE and FSC, which have previously aired some of Barcelona’s exhibition matches here in the States, began talking to Schramm, which holds the futbol club’s rights in the U.S., three or four months ago. The contract covers the rest of the 2007-08 season, which is winding down, as well as the 2008-09 campaign.

Sternberg believes the programming will prove popular, not only because Barcelona is perennially one of the top clubs in the world – the team is in the semifinals of the Champions League, after winning the top Euro club competition in 2006 – but it has great appeal among Hispanic soccer fans in the U.S. That interest is revved by a couple of notable players from Mexico, Rafael Marquez and Giovanni Dos Santos.

FSE also can use some of the content on its Web site, as well as its mobile service, which features a growing roster of video content, showing highlights and a goals package.