It’s less than a year away. It’s got some buzz now that the U.S. finished second in the FIFA Confederation Cup. And looking at the potential field, the competition appears wide open. Of course, it’s a long time until the first ball is kicked, but still, after the U.S. did so well in a FIFA tournament with the high level of competition, this leads you to believe that the Americans are indeed ready to take the next step when the World Cup begins next year.
ESPN which brought the rights to next year’s WC is actually making a big commitment. It’s sending studio crews to South Africa unlike in the past when the hosting was done at the ESPN studios in Bristol, CT. And unlike the past two World Cups, ESPN actually purchased the rights so it feels it has a stake in the action. In 2002 and 2006, an independent party purchased the U.S. rights and bought time on ESPN so this time around, ESPN will give this a big event feel.
Here’s the press release outining coverage. Announcing crews will be made public at a later date.
ESPN Plans Month-long Coverage from South Africa for 2010 FIFA World Cup
SportsCenter FIFA World Cup Segments, Nightly World Cup Live, and Pre-, Halftime and Post-Match Programming to Originate from Site with Hosts Chris Fowler, Bob Ley and Mike Tirico; and World Cup News and Analysis on 14 Localized Editions of SportsCenter Across the World
ESPN will present all of its 2010 FIFA World Cup television studio programming from site in South Africa, offering U.S. sports fans the most comprehensive news and information coverage throughout the month-long soccer showcase (June 11 – July 11, 2010). Coverage of the quadrennial global event will include SportsCenter segments, nightly World Cup Live, and pre-, halftime and post-match shows, with additional studio programming and World Cup-branded segments, totaling more than 65 hours of coverage, originating from two sets in and around Johannesburg.
A trio of top-tier ESPN hosts, Chris Fowler (college football, Grand Slam tennis), Bob Ley (SportsCenter, Outside the Lines), and Mike Tirico (Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Final Four, major golf championships), will serve as on-site FIFA World Cup studio hosts. ESPN’s “game around the game” approach to South Africa 2010 will include live and taped segments that will air on ESPN International’s 13 localized versions of SportsCenter in eight different languages across the world.
“Presenting all live studio programming from site in South Africa during the World Cup will allow us to fully capture the event’s key storylines and provide the right context for fans to experience the world’s most popular sport on its biggest stage,” said Mark Gross, senior vice president and managing editor, ESPN studio production. “Much like our on-site coverage of the Super Bowl, NBA Finals and other marquee events, this month-long commitment reflects the popularity of the FIFA World Cup in the U.S. and globally, and the historic nature of this event in Africa for the first time ever.”
South Africa 2010 will mark the first time in ESPN’s 30-year history that the entirety of its FIFA World Cup studio programming will originate on location from the site of the host country. Highlights of planned programs and 2010 FIFA World Cup-branded segments:
- SportsCenter at the FIFA World Cup;
- World Cup Live – the daily, 30-minute news, highlights and analysis program (30 episodes) aired each night of the tournament on ESPN or ESPN2;
- Live 30-minute pre-match, halftime (15 min.) and post-match shows on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2;
- World Cup segments on ESPNEWS, First Take on ESPN2, and Outside the Lines.
In the United States, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to present high definition coverage of all 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa June 11 – July 11, 2010. Beyond its English-language exclusive coverage in the U.S., ESPN Inc. is a World Cup rights-holder in Brazil (ESPN Brazil) and in the ESPN Star Sports (ESS) territories of India, Pakistan, The Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Middle East.
ESPN, through the 14 localized editions of SportsCenter, the network’s flagship sports news and information brand, also provides the most comprehensive coverage of marquee sports events around the world. Each SportsCenter edition will provide extensive coverage of 2010 FIFA World Cup for fans in their respective markets, including:
- U.S. (English)
- ESPN 2 (Dos) serving the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean (Spanish)
- ESPN’s pan-regional network in Latin America (Spanish)
- ESPN+ serving the Southern cone of Latin America (Spanish)
- ESPN Brasil (Portuguese)
- TSN Canada (English)
- ESS pan-Asia (English)
- ESS India (Hindi)
- ESS Hong Kong (Cantonese)
- ESS Taiwan (Mandarin)
- J Sports ESPN (Japanese)
- ESS Malaysia (Malay)
- ESPN South Africa, Israel (English)
- ESPN Australia (English)
ESPN Inc.’s FIFA WORLD CUP HISTORY in the United States
FIFA World Cups (Men’s)
Germany ’06 – All 64 matches live and in high definition
Korea/Japan ’02 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (six tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)
France ’98 – ESPN 27, ESPN2 23 and ABC Sports 14 – all 64 matches live
USA ’94 – ESPN, 41, and ABC, 11 – all 52 matches
Mexico ’86 – ESPN, 15 matches (U.S. cable television rights)
Spain ’82 – ESPN, 7 matches
FIFA Women’s World Cups
USA ’99 – unprecedented coverage – all 32 matches
I’m glad to see that ESPN’s plans for the World Cup are taking shape. Bob Ley is a soccer guy and Tweeted about the Confed Cup while it was underway. He’s currently in South Africa to do stories on the country’s preparation for the World Cup.
We’ll have more on ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup in the days and weeks leading up to the event.