During the busy Sportel America industry conference last week in Miami, ESPN Deportes General Manager Lino Garcia took time out of his busy day to update the readers of World Soccer Talk regarding the most recent developments at ESPN Deportes.
Asked about important developments during the last six months at ESPN Deportes, Garcia said, “The big news was reconnecting with UEFA Champions League, which we did in the Fall. And of course now, as well, for another three years. For us, that was turning back to a property that we had when we launched the network 11 years ago.
“We split the package with FOX Deportes, so we work on a pick system (to decide which network gets which game as a Spanish-language broadcast), so we alternate weeks.”
At Sportel, it’s a marketplace for leagues, rights owners and media companies to meet face-to-face to sign new deals. In ESPN Deportes case, it was a quieter conference than usual.
“A lot of the league rights have been spoken for and pretty much divided between all of the networks, which is interesting when I talk to people where we’re in a true competitor space when it comes to Spanish-language sports in the US, which may not be the case everywhere,” said Garcia.
“We have our distinct content, some shared content. Our strength is the variety of sports we have, and the variety of leagues we’re able to offer on the soccer side with the Champions League being the latest in the arsenal of the properties we offer.
“We’re looking forward to the Euro 2016 and the qualifiers. We feel we have a good amount of live soccer, and really our challenge is how to get it to everyone who wants to see it in different places. The concept of TV everywhere. For us, how do we do it better? How we get the content in packages that people want?”
Garcia was asked specifically about whether ESPN Deportes may be added to Sling TV in the near future. Currently, Sling TV includes ESPN and ESPN2 for soccer fans.
“Our affiliate guys are always talking to all of our distributors, including DISH, about what’s next,” said Garcia. “Some distributors, including DISH and Sling, have said that in the future they’re looking at putting together a Spanish-language networks.”
So while ESPN Deportes isn’t available on Sling TV yet, there remains a possibility that it may in the future. Nevertheless, ESPN Deportes is readily available on TV providers nationwide and offers Spanish-language broadcasts of Liga MX, Copa MX, Copa del Rey final, Europa League and the aforementioned UEFA Champions League.