Copa America rights snaffled by ESPN+

Copa America rights snaffled by ESPN+
Sports streaming subscription service ESPN+ has secured the exclusive English-language rights in the US to the upcoming Copa America.

All 26 matches from South America’s premier international tournament will be streamed on the over-the-top (OTT) platform in both English and Portuguese. ESPN said it has no plans to televise games on its linear broadcast networks.

The competition, which features 12 teams, including invitees Qatar and Japan, already has a Spanish-language broadcast partner in the US after agreeing a deal with Telemundo in July last year.

The 2016 Copa America was shown in the US by pay-TV giant Fox Sports, while the rights to the 2015 iteration were held by Qatar-based network BeIN Sports.

"We've built a home for soccer fans and this will fit right in," said Russell Wolff, ESPN+'s executive vice president and general manager.

“We think we have the ability to push the right message to the right fan at the right time for those who are already subscribers to let them know it's there, and we've got a whole host of marketing plans in place to push the availability of Copa America on ESPN+ to fans both on our platforms and on third-party platforms.”

The move continues ESPN+’s assault on the US soccer rights market. Since launching in April last year, the Disney-owned streaming service has picked up live coverage of games from Italian soccer’s Serie A, England’s FA Cup knockout competition and Major League Soccer (MLS).

The 2019 Copa America, which is the 46th edition of the tournament, takes place in Brazil from 14th June until 7th July. 

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