Telemundo has signed up to become the exclusive TV and online partner of Alianza de Futbol, a U.S.-based soccer scouting program.
The arrangement allows the network to document and feature Hispanic teenagers as they vie to sign a contract with a professional Mexican soccer team.
Alianza de Futbol’s 2013 tournament season kicks off in Dallas on March 24. The seven-month, 12-city campaign will end with a final tournament in September.
The tournaments will provide some 20,000 Hispanic players will be given the opportunity to be seen by, play with and even sign a contract with a real soccer team.
As part of the venture, terms of which were not disclosed, Deportes Telemundo will air a one-hour special in September, coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month. It will feature highlights of the games, as well as in-depth stories and interviews with the young players and their families. Prior to the September special, Telemundo will begin to highlight segments of the program as early as February.
“We believe the growth of the Hispanic population in this country deserves much more attention from our side,” Telemundo vice president of sports Eli Velazquez said in an interview. “Alianza’s goal, as it relates to giving young Hispanics an opportunity, is very much in line with how we want to suport our community.”
Alianza de Futbol first launched the scouting program in 2004 and, in the past, has enlisted such cable networks as Fox Deportes and ESPN Deportes as partners.
Past events have drawn more than 1,000 teams comprised of more than 20,000 soccer players.
Of those hopefuls, 50 players took part in the 2012 National Camp and 17 signed contracts with various Mexican professional teams.
Alianza de Futbol has launched the careers of several Hispanic teen players, including 19-year-old Julio Morales, a U.S.-born player who now plays with Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara and forms part of the sub-20 team.
The program is supported by several marketing partners including 7-Up, Verizon, Kellogg’s and Dodge RAM trucks.