Monday, December 28, 2015

ESPN Acquires Super Bowl from CBS

ESPN has always been a reputable source to rely on for Super Bowl coverage during the week of the big game.

SportsCenter along with a plethora of other shows change location once a year to cover every angle except for the actual game from the host city. Finally, after being in existence for over 30 years, ESPN will get their shot at broadcasting the action with a twist - a Spanish twist.
CBS and the National Football League have reached an agreement with ESPN Deportes to televise Super Bowl 50 in Spanish on Sunday, February 7 at 6 pm ET, live from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. 
This is the first Super Bowl telecast for ESPN Deportes, which also presents weekly Monday Night Football games in Spanish throughout the NFL regular season, as well as a Wild Card Playoff game, and the Pro Bowl. The network also features comprehensive news and information coverage, including studio shows NFL Live and NFL Esta Noche.
Fox and NBC have previously aired the Super Bowl on separate Spanish-language networks they own - Fox Deportes and NBC Universo - while CBS normally offers Spanish speaking commentators through the SAP option available on most television sets.

It is not known what caused the change in heart from previous procedure but it is a move that makes sense. Fox and NBC set the precedent for producing a separate Spanish language telecast over the past two seasons. Because CBS does not own any Spanish language networks, it made sense to give the broadcast to another network.

CBS Sports Network or Pop!, two of CBS' biggest basic cable channels, could've used the Spanish broadcast to boost their own respective networks but it is unlikely the move would've been approved by the league. Latino fans do not normally rely on those networks for live sporting events in their native language and ESPN Deportes is already the home for Monday Night Football games throughout the season.

There are still many murky details including whether the ESPN broadcast will use the same graphics and camera angles as CBS, if advertisers will create new commercials specifically for Spanish language viewers as has occurred in previous years and whether ESPN paid the NFL or CBS a rights fee for the telecast.

In reference with advertisements, according to Advertising Age:
While Deportes reps did not immediately respond to inquiries about the deal terms -- ESPN announced the agreement during halftime of Monday's Bengals-Broncos game, at around 10:30 p.m. EST -- it is likely that the majority of the advertisers represented in CBS's Super Bowl broadcast also will appear in the Spanish-language feed. How the final creative will shake out is anyone's guess. Last year, roughly two of every three spots that aired in the Universo simulcast targeted Spanish speakers.
No matter what the case may be though, this is a groundbreaking event in the network's history. Super Bowl 50 will be the first Super Bowl telecast to air on an ESPN network in the United States. It will also be the first Super Bowl broadcast on a Disney-owned network in 10 years (ABC in 2005). Previously, ESPN's international affiliates have aired the big game around the world including ESPN Deportes in Latin America.

Cross-promotion between CBS and ESPN was not divulged in tonight's press release. But as an announcement was made about the new deal during the last MNF game of the year by Lisa Salters and John Sutcliffe, Mike Tirico mentioned that CBS would air the English language version of the game while name-checking Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. It wouldn't be surprising if more mentions of CBS are made throughout the week on ESPN programming deliberately as part of this deal.
To complement the live Super Bowl telecast, ESPN Deportes will present comprehensive, week-long multimedia coverage beginning Monday, Feb. 1. The lineup on Super Bowl Sunday will feature coverage leading up to the game, live from San Francisco, including a 90-min pregame special at 4:30pm and a postgame show.
It might be a good idea for ESPN, ESPN Deportes and CBS personalities to cross paths through digital segments in both English and Spanish which promoted both telecasts and were aired during ESPN's complementary programming throughout the week. I also wouldn't be shocked to see a flurry of CBS personalities appear as interview guests on ESPN's programs during Super Bowl Week.

In order to get fans ready for the big game, ESPN Deportes should also consider adding a well-known former NFL player with some kind of role for promotional purposes. My idea? Chad Ochocinco.

Ochocinco has attended previous Super Bowls acting as a "journalist" during Media Day and even established his own network of player-reporters with Motorola known as OCNN. He previously served as a guest analyst for ESPN Deportes' NFL Live when they opened up their new studios in Mexico City and could contribute segments for ESPN, ESPN Deportes or

This is not the first programming addition that has been announced this week for ESPN Deportes. The network will also air each College Football Playoff semifinal game and simulcast it on ESPN2. As of now, there are no plans to simulcast the Super Bowl on ESPN2 as well.

ESPN has found innovative ways to expand their NFL empire from re-inventing the pregame shows fiasco (Fantasy Football Now, NFL Insiders) to airing the Wild Card game on ABC. This might be their most innovative idea yet.

Will ESPN find a way to air the Big Game in English anytime soon? Extremely unlikely given that CBS, Fox and NBC have all extended their deals recently leaving ESPN out of the cycle. But never say never.

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