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ESPN, Inc. this week will introduce ESPNFC, a new multi-language and multi-country brand for soccer fans around the world across TV, radio, print, online, print and mobile. Just in time for the 2012 UEFA European Football ChampionshipTM, the new offering will bring together all of ESPN’s soccer properties and house them under one universally recognized name. Over time, ESPNFC will add global and regional contributors to ensure coverage of all news and developments 24/7, regardless of where they happen in the world. Online and on mobile, ESPNFC will have the ability to detect where a fan is accessing content, and deliver locally relevant content for that region and serve that content in the native language. ESPNFC will also provide unique, customizable digital opportunities for marketers who can work with ESPN to reach sports fans on both a global and regional scale using ESPN’s worldwide sales teams.
John Skipper, President, ESPN, Inc. and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, said: “ESPN is solidifying its dedication to soccer year-round with the launch of ESPNFC. It represents one of ESPN’s most significant global commitments to the sport and leverages the core strength of what ESPN does well – serve sports fans. In short, ESPNFC is the definitive source for soccer coverage worldwide.”
Beginning this week, fans can experience a preview of ESPNFC with branded content online and on mobile platforms specific to the EURO 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine. Later this year online and on mobile – around the start of new soccer seasons around the world – ESPNFC will expand to encompass all major leagues and competitions worldwide. ESPNFC will also be integrated into ESPNdeportes.com, which serves the Spanish-speaking community in the US, and across soccer content on many of ESPN’s global TV, radio and print platforms. The company will also rename its signature global multi-platform soccer debate and discussion show to ESPNFC PressPass (from ESPNsoccernet PressPass), reflecting the new brand.
Throughout the EURO 2012, ESPNFC will provide comprehensive coverage of one of the leading international soccer competitions, including live TV coverage, on-demand video highlights, studio programming clips, news, analysis and commentary, real-time scores, stats and more. Its new global news-gathering operations will organize a worldwide network of ESPN writers and analysts covering the latest news and developments around the clock, including contributions from former England manager Glenn Hoddle plus tournament coverage with team previews of all 16 teams, stadium profiles and tactical insight supported by a EURO 2012 Blog Network of all countries competing.
Inside ESPNFC, fans can access Live MatchHQ, a re-imagined and enhanced version of GameCast which provides the live game experience for those who are not able to watch the game live. It also provides data-driven content from the live experience, including real-time scores and stats, highlights, message boards and more – all in one place. Additionally, ESPNFC will feature its comprehensive EURO 2012 Top 40 Player Rankings with contributions from ESPN soccer experts Ian Darke, Steve McManaman, Alexis Lalas, Taylor Twellman, Shaka Hislop, Gabriele Marcotti, John Brewin, Andy Brassell, Derek Rae, Tommy Smyth, Robbie Mustoe and others. During the tournament, PressPass will run seven days a week with companion segments and social media integrations.
EURO 2012 on ESPN Platforms
ESPN TV networks will combine to televise more than 200 hours of live coverage of the EURO 2012 with all 31 matches available in high definition, with additional coverage carried on ESPN3, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Mobile TV:
ESPN & ESPN2: Every ESPN and ESPN2 match will feature 15-minute pregame, halftime and a postgame shows. The opening match will feature a 30-minute pregame program, while the quarterfinal through final matches will each include 45 minutes of pregame content. A live, 30-minute UEFA EURO 2012 Report show will air in-between matches from June 8-15.
ESPN Deportes: The Spanish-language home of the EURO 2012 in the United States will provide the most-comprehensive coverage of the event with more than 6.5 live hours on days with two match windows, from June 9 – 15. Highlights from Fuera de Juego include a 30-minute pregame show beginning at 11:30 a.m.; a halftime program; a 30-minute program aired in-between matches; and a special one-hour postgame at 5 p.m. Daily coverage will be on ESPN Deportes SportsCenter at 6 p.m., Juego Cruzado at 7 p.m. and Cronometro at 7:30 p.m. On opening day, Friday, June 8, the pregame program will expand to one hour beginning at 11 a.m., and on Sunday, July 1, the title match will be preceded by a 90-minute pregame show. (Note: On days with single match windows, coverage will begin at 2 p.m. ET)
ESPN Digital Platforms: ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, will simulcast all 31 matches in Spanish and English. All matches will be available for replay on ESPN3 shortly after completion and archived through the end of the calendar year (Dec. 31, 2012). Fans will also be able to go to WatchESPN to catch all the ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 live match action online at WatchESPN.com or on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. The service – available to video subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV – gives fans the ability to watch ESPN’s live networks, no matter where they are. A total of 25 matches will also be made available live on ESPN Mobile TV.
ESPN On Demand: Every match will be made available in full the day it airs. Additionally, ESPN Deportes On Demand will make a highlight of every game available, in addition to full length matches from Spain and Portugal.
ESPN Caribbean: Will distribute the EURO 2012 as part of ESPN’s broad multimedia rights agreement with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for the UEFA European Football Championships™ until 2017. The EURO 2012 will air on the ESPN Caribbean and ESPN2 Caribbean networks, and on ESPNPlay.com, the recently launched broadband player servicing the region. Coverage will include all 31 EURO 2012 matches. Additional coverage will include pre-match, halftime and post-match programming, news and highlights shows on match days, unlimited re-air rights across all networks and media platforms, magazine programs, and more.
ESPN The Magazine: Hitting newsstands on May 18, a EURO 2012 preview section will be included in the World Football issue featuring Wayne Rooney on the cover with story written by renowned soccer writer David Winner. The issue includes contributions from ESPN’s Leander Schaerlaeckens and Roger Bennett with scouting reports of the 16 teams, analysis of who will/won’t win, breakout players, stats and more. Other featured content will include:
- Josh Dean on the apparent suicide of former Welsh manager Gary Speed and what it reveals about the English game and nationalism in soccer;
- Bennett on one of the most dramatic moments in all of sports, the penalty-kick shootout, via graphics, heat charts and text blurbs;
- Brett Forrest on the proliferation of soccer match-fixing and betting scandals around the world and Luke Cyphers with a sidebar on corruption within FIFA;
- Wayne Drehs on former US coach Bob Bradley and his current role as coach of the Egyptian national team;
- Sebastian Garcia Q&A with Neymar, Brazil’s hottest prospect and future star of Europe, with additional coverage from Cyphers and Doug McIntyre on the state of the US men’s national team heading into friendly with Brazil;
- Jordan Brenner on what US sports can draw from the way international soccer works; and
- McIntyre breaking down where in the world Americans are playing abroad, as well as a feature on why the Seattle Sounders are America’s best-run soccer franchise.
ESPN Fantasy: Fans will also be able to engage with the EURO 2012 via two fantasy games launching specifically around the tournament. EURO 2012 Bracket Predictor allows fans to predict the teams that will advance out of each of the four groups, in addition to picking the winner of the seven knockout phase matches throughout the Finals in a bracket-style format. Additionally, EURO 2012 Manager challenges fans to select a roster of goalies, defenders, midfielders and forwards from the participating countries. Rosters can be changed a total of five times throughout the tournament, with points awarded according to the scoring system.