In a major coup for cable, Fox Sports World Español will offer live, Spanish-language telecasts of Major League Baseball's playoff and World Series games, starting this season.
The deal marks the first time a cable network has had live access to the Fall Classic; the Fox television network has exclusive broadcast rights to the games.
It's also Fox Sports World's inaugural telecast of a major event from a U.S. professional sports league. The network has telecast baseball games from Latin America and the Dominican Republic. Fox Sports World Español has about 2.2 million cable subscribers.
"We're pleased that Fox is willing to provide this service to the Spanish-speaking community," Fox Sports World Español general manager Larry Gillman said.
Gillman anticipates that the deal will help expand distribution for his service.
"If this doesn't make us a must-carry service, it takes us pretty close to that point," he said.
While Fox will continue to offer the Spanish Audio Production (SAP) feeds for its telecasts, Fox Sports World will produce its own telecasts and provide its own play-by-play announcers and analysts. The cable network, however, will most likely use Fox's live video feed, Gillman said.
"We will piggyback on Fox's technical signals, but we will have our own production crew and provide programming exclusive for our Spanish-speaking audience," he said. "This allows us to tailor the games to our audience so that we can focus on the players and storylines that are most interesting to our viewers."
While the network will put "as many resources as we can get" behind the marketing of the telecasts, neither Fox Sports World nor Fox Sports executives believe the Spanish-language version will harm the ratings for Fox's World Series broadcasts.
"We're not going to go out and take any viewers away from the traditional broadcasts," Gillman said. "We're targeting those people who want to watch a full Spanish-language production and our marketing will focus on that audience."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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