Six ex-football stars will serve as analysts for ESPN to broadcast La Liga matches in the United States next season, the first of a multi-year rights contract recently signed by the media company.
ESPN confirmed in a statement Monday that Mexico’s Hugo Sanchez, Argentina’s Mario Kempes and Uruguay’s Diego Forlan will provide comments during the Spanish-language broadcast. Spaniard Luis Garcia, England’s Steve McManaman and Argentine Pablo Zabaleta will form the group of English-language analysts.
“I have been associated with Spain all my life … I am very grateful to Spain, and for this opportunity to analyze Spanish football, which for me is the best league in the world,” Sanchez told The Associated Press in a phone interview. . “I’ve been with ESPN since 2014 and have a very close relationship, and now that there is already this agreement to move La Liga in the United States, I’m very happy to contribute and analyze.”
The legendary former Real Madrid striker, five-time winner of the Pichichi Cup for top scorer in Spain, also promised a certain dose of broadcast controversy, predicting that, in some related matches, he could appear in the same broadcast with Kempes or with Forlan.
“I have a friendship with Mario for a long time, as we had the opportunity to play several matches for the rest of the world national team… I have a tremendous friendship,” he said.
Kemps, who scored twice in the final that crowned Argentina to host the 1978 World Cup, has also been part of ESPN’s group of analysts for years. La Liga broadcasts will give you a chance to comment on the football you played in seven different seasons with Valencia.
“Football is a very beautiful thing, because it is the coffee table that has to be discussed, and I think we will try to be as neutral as possible in the commentary and in the story, but we see football in a different way, depending on the colors,” Matador commented in another telephone conversation with the Associated Press about the colors. used by a fan, he or she will always be comfortable or dislike.” “All of this is what we want to offer to those who see us in the States.”
Forlan is 42 years old, 21 years younger than Sanchez, and 25 years younger than Kempes. The Uruguayan star in the 2010 World Cup, who played with Villarreal and Atletico Madrid in the Spanish League, is a new addition to the commentator’s group.
“Diego is younger, we didn’t have the opportunity to play with him or have experiences with him, but of course, we value his experience as a footballer. We would be very happy to work with him. I think we will form a very good team,” Sanchez added.
In May, ESPN reported that it had secured the rights to broadcast La Liga matches in both English and Spanish starting next season, through an eight-year agreement.
beIN Sports has been broadcasting La Liga matches since the 2012-13 season, when it replaced GolTV as the broadcast ally of Spanish football in the United States.
ESPN + will broadcast 380 matches for the next season in the Spanish League. Some of the major matches will also be broadcast on the company’s TV channels, including ESPN Deportes, its Spanish-language medium for the United States.
The rights agreement will remain in effect until the 2028-29 season. ESPN will also broadcast some second tier matches and promotions.
The company indicated that it will announce at a later time to the rest of the collaborators, including correspondents and those who study in broadcast programs in the Spanish League.