Telemundo Media and Universal Sports will televise the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers for the London 2012 Games.
The 2012 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournaments will determine the confederation's two women's and two men's representatives at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The women's tournament will take place from Jan. 19-29, 2012 in Vancouver, Canada. The men's tournament will take place from March 22 to April 2. The opening rounds will be played in Carson, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., with the semifinals and final taking place at the new LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Coming hard on the boots of its acquisition of the exclusive Spanish-language media rights in the U.S. to FIFA World Cup events from 2015 through 2022, Telemundo has secured various rights to the CONCACAF men's qualifiers. (CONCACAF maintains co-exclusive institutional website and radio rights). Deal terms were not disclosed.
During the run-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, ESPN Deportes televised the men's matches; there wasn't any English-language network TV coverage.
"Building on the momentum of our landmark FIFA World Cup acquisition for 2015-2022, we are excited to have been selected as the new home of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers," said Telemundo Media president Emilio Romano. "This new deal further expands Deportes Telemundo's footprint in sports programming and reinforces our commitment to our audience to provide the best and most comprehensive coverage of the most popular and loved sport in the world."
For its part, Universal Sports -- the Olympic-oriented sports network that is a joint venture of NBCUniversal and Leo Hindery's InterMedia Partners -- will air the men's, as well as women's qualifiers in English.
"This exciting new partnership with CONCACAF demonstrates the high caliber of global sporting events available on Universal Sports, and strengthens our already robust portfolio of Olympic-related programming," said Universal Sports CEO David Sternberg. "The CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournaments are a natural fit with our programming strategy as we build towards the 2012 Games in London."
On the men's side of the pitch, the U.S. and Mexican under-23 squads will be part of these qualifiers, along with Canada, Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. The other two participants will be decided in the final round of Caribbean qualifying Nov. 24-28 in Basseterre, featuring Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Cuba and host St. Kitts & Nevis.
Telemundo and Universal Sports will produce the 15 men's matches, with the latter's rights including exclusive English-language telecasts of all U.S. matches and the finals from each of the two tournaments.
As for the ladies, FIFA's top-ranked side and 2011 World Cup runner-up U.S. women's team, led by Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Alex Morgan, will make its first major tournament appearance since its crushing loss to Japan on penalty kicks in the final last July. The United States will play Mexico, which upset the Americans in the semifinals of last year's CONCACAF Women's World Cup qualifying, as well as Guatemala and the Dominican Republic in the group phase of the tournament. Reigning CONCACAF champion and host nation Canada will face Costa Rica, Cuba and Haiti in group play.