ESPN2 soccer fans are in for a Tuesday evening filled with a pair of live matches that will serve as lead-ins to a Spanish-language fútbol drama set in Mexico City.
El Diez, the scripted series that is scheduled to premiere Oct. 30 on ESPN Deportes, will make its U.S. debut Tuesday night on ESPN2. The first two half-hour installments are scheduled to air following ESPN2's coverage of the friendly between Mexico and Brazil, which kicks off at 9:30 p.m. (ET). It will mark the first time ESPN2 airs a Spanish-language scripted series, albeit with English subtitles, with any eye toward driving awareness and tune-in when El Diez begins its run on ESPN Deportes later this month.
It's a big night for Latin American soccer fans on ESPN2, as Mexico-Brazil will be preceded by the U.S. hosting Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. at 7 p.m.
El Diez chronicles the life of a professional soccer player who arrives in Mexico City in search of glory. It stars Mexican actor Poncho Herrera as Chava Espinosa, the series' lead character. The series, which has already premiered in Mexico City, features product integrations by Burger King and General Motors, deals for which were secured by the Latin America and U.S. Multicultural unit at Starcom MediaVest Group. It will begin airing on ESPN Deportes Oct. 30, marking the network's initial step into scripted series.
The big night for Latin American soccer fans on ESPN2 begins with the U.S. hosting Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. at 7 p.m., before the Mexico-Brazil nightcap.
"Our mission is to serve sports fans and the Hispanic sports fan is a big part of that," said Dan Dooley, senior director of programming planning for ESPN. "El Diez is a series that targets the Hispanic soccer audience and we believe that the broadcast of the U.S. versus Ecuador and Mexico versus Brazil represents a great opportunity to capture the audience and drive awareness of the series while serving our wide Hispanic audience."
In addition to featuring a Spanish-language series for the first time ESPN2's broadcasts of the two games will be leveraged by ESPN Deportes talent, with network commentators handling play-by-play on ESPN2.
The double header will feature a pre-game, halftime and post-game show hosted by Rob Stone, alongside analysts Alexi Lalas and Jorge Ramos, host of Jorge Ramos y su bandashow on ESPN Deportes.
Ian Darke (play-by-play) and John Harkes (analyst) will call U.S.-Ecuador with an assist from ESPN Deportes' Monica Gonzalez as the sideline reporter at Red Bull Arena.
The Brazil-Mexico match will be called studios in Bristol with ESPN Deportes' Ricardo Ortiz (play-by-play) and Robbie Mustoe (analyst) on the mic.
The joint talent deployment is one that ESPN will be looking at more closely, especially when soccer sides from Latin American countries are on the pitch.