ESPN has acquired multimedia rights to two of Spain’s top soccer events: the Copa del Rey Final on April 20, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. and the Spanish Supercopa in August. ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN3.com will present live television, radio and online coverage of the events. The agreement brings a third Clasico to the ESPN platforms as Real Madrid and Barcelona confront each other at the Copa del Rey final. In addition, the Supercopa could potentially feature two more Clasico’s as both teams continue to lead La Liga standings.
“We are thrilled to continue serving our soccer fans with top events from around the world,” said Eric Conrad, senior director of programming and acquisitions for ESPN Deportes. “With the Copa del Rey final adding a third Clasico this season, and a close, competitive season of La Liga that promises an exciting Supercopa, the timing is great to include these premier properties to the ESPN soccer programming line-up.”
For the first time in 21 years, the Copa del Rey Final presents a Clasico match up as Barcelona and Real Madrid go head to head at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia, Spain in what will be the third Clasico of this year’s Spanish soccer season. Spain’s renowned rivals will compete to win the country’s top soccer competition. Barcelona has won 25 Copa del Rey championships and Real Madrid has won 17. The match marks the first time since 1990 that Real Madrid and Barcelona face each other in the final. The teams have only faced each other six times in the Copa’s final and when they last met in 1990 Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2-0 at the same stadium.
Organized by the Royal Spanish Football Federation since 1982, the Supercopa is celebrated every August and kicks off the official soccer season in Spain. Comprised of both a home and away match, the Supercopa brings together the champions of the Spanish League and the Copa del Rey final. This year’s competition could potentially showcase two more Clasicos as Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently in the League’s top two spots. The country’s top teams have distinguished themselves in this tournament with Barcelona having won 9 Supercopas, including the last two in 2010 and 2009, and Real Madrid, with a tally of 8 Supercopa titles, having won last in 2008. With both teams also competing for the title of the Copa del Rey in April, one of them is guaranteed a spot in the SuperCopa; the second team will be decided when the Spanish League season ends in May.
ESPN will continue offering extensive live coverage of Spain’s La Liga. Prior to the Copa del Rey final, ESPN will also present live coverage of the second Clasico of La Liga 2010/11 on Sunday, April 17. With 20 League titles, Barcelona is the defending back-to-back league champion having won the title in 2010 and 2009 and is currently in the lead with seven points over Real Madrid.
The addition of the Copa del Rey final and Supercopa, and a regular schedule of weekday matches of La Liga, reflect ESPN’s increasing commitment to Spanish soccer and other top-tier professional soccer leagues. Each Spanish soccer season, ESPN Deportes televises more than 110 league matches, delivering some of the highest ratings for the network. In addition, ESPN3.com streams more than 115 matches, including simulcast of all ESPN Deportes matches live in English. ESPN2 televises select matches and Mobile TV (on FLO TV and MobiTV) also stream select games live to mobile devices.
ESPN Deportes continues its commitment to offer the most comprehensive coverage of the world’s premier soccer events. The network’s multimedia platforms provide extensive coverage of top-tier international brands that include Spain’s La Liga, Barclays Premier League in England, UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying, Mexican First Division, German Bundesliga, Dutch Eridivisie, Major League Soccer, the CONMEBOL U-20 Championships, and the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. The network also airs top national team matches featuring Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, France and England as well as telecasts of some of the most anticipated International friendlies, and more. Recently it was announced that ESPN Deportes will be the exclusive Spanish-language network in the U.S for the UEFA European Football Championship™ 2012 and 2016 matches.
ESPN3.com is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or cable TV video subscription from an affiliated service provider, and is currently available in approximately 65 million households nationwide. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup attracted millions of viewers to ESPN3.com this past year and continues to be a major destination for top international soccer in the U.S. In the year ahead, the network is expecting to carry approximately 800 matches in the coming year – roughly 1,600 hours of soccer coverage. In addition to MLS and the top five Euro leagues – Barclays Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Dutch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A – ESPN3.com will have coverage of many national team leagues, competitions, friendlies and Euro 2012 and FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers and matches from countries in Europe, North and South America.