Wrexham fever is spreading across the United States in anticipation of Sunday’s FA Cup game against Sheffield United. So much so that Wrexham will be on ESPN SportsCenter.
There’s no doubt that American soccer fans find Wrexham compelling, but ESPN plans to amp up the excitement Sunday with wall-to-wall coverage.
Beginning Sunday at 9AM, ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter features guest appearances by Wrexham co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. They’ll preview the match that’s scheduled to broadcast exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.
Then at 11AM ET, Wrexham-Sheffield United pre-match coverage begins on ESPN+. ESPN pitchside reporter Alexis Nunes is at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground in Wales. She’ll be joined on-air by host Kay Murray and analyst Craig Burley.
Wrexham on NFL broadcast as well as ESPN SportsCenter
Live coverage of the game itself begins at 11:30AM ET featuring the duo of Jon Champion and Danny Higginbotham as commentators.
Then, with the game in progress, McElhenney joins the Postseason NFL Countdown show on ESPN from Noon to 3PM ET. McElhenney, who wants Wrexham to be America’s soccer team, will be at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. During the program, he hosts his closest friends at the Eagles Stadium to watch the Wrexham-Sheffield United FA Cup Fourth Round match.
Wrexham and the Disney Bundle
Wrexham AFC, the subject of hit FX series Welcome to Wrexham, continues its Cinderella story in the FA Cup Fourth Round. The Welsh club is currently atop the National League standings, the fifth tier of English soccer.
Part of the reason why ESPN is putting its weight behind promoting Wrexham is due to the Disney Bundle that includes ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+. Wrexham’s FA Cup games are featured on ESPN+, while the Welcome to Wrexham series can be binged on Hulu. Completing the trio is Disney+, featuring plenty of family entertainment.
Certainly the timing of Wrexham’s success helps when Disney is promoting its Disney Bundle for $12.99 per month.
What fascinates us about the Wrexham story
Regardless of the Disney influence, the Wrexham story is a captivating one. From the history of the club to the team’s goal to try to get promoted all the way to the Premier League, there is plenty to love about the third oldest professional soccer team in the world.
What Wrexham gives us is a window into the world of lower division soccer. How a club and a community works together with the hope of getting promoted to the next highest level. It’s a dream that cannot be found in the United States due to the lack of promotion and relegation. It’s what makes Welcome to Wrexham so unique, just as much as Sunderland Til I Die did on Netflix, too.
In the history of soccer, there have been a very few documentaries that focus on a club battling with promotion and relegation. Most of these films zero in on the giants of soccer who feature the superstars of the sport.
As World Soccer Talk Senior Writer Kartik Krishnaiyer sums it up, “football, a sport with strong working-class roots, is about community and culture – period. Casual fans might be motivated to watch Super Clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and FC Hollywood (ie Bayern Munch). But for so many core supporters, being a fan is about your local community, socioeconomic, ethnic or political reasons or a connection to club abroad based on some sort of family connection.”
We may not all be fans of Wrexham AFC, but we feel part of the same family.
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