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Upfronts 2014: ESPN Deportes Emphasizes Live Events

New York -- Interspersing a bevy of favorable viewer metrics with interactive panel sessions, ESPN Deportes trumpeted live events at its upfront presentation to advertisers at The Hearst Tower here Wednesday morning.

Mirroring its English-language progenitor which will launch a new look for its flagship news show next month, ESPN Deportes will unveil a new studio and set for its version of SportsCenter from its Mexico City operations come January. It is also taking the lead role with the 2015 Pan Am Games from Toronto, and is expecting big numbers from the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, as the 2012 version of that event netted the service’s top Nielsen performances.

Hosted by Ernesto Jerez, the network’s top MLB commentator and host of Firma ESPN on ESPN Deportes Radio NY, executives and talent emphasized the value of live telecasts. Officials said that in 2015, ESPN Deportes Television, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPN Deportes+, the brand’s broadband channel available via and ESPN3, will deliver 1,000 live events.

ESPN Deportes executives talked up the network’s 48% rise in impressions among Latinos 18 to 49 through the end of April. The network has been scoring well with the big three leagues in the U.S., registering a 62% rise with its NBA telecasts this past season against the demo; a 44% advance with its 2013 Monday Night Football coverage; and a 260% jump with Florida State’s win over Auburn in the 2014 BCS title game. As for beisbol, ESPN Deportes notched a 57% advance with that group during the 2013 MLB season, and is up 67% during the season-to-date.

The network will have 19 MNF games this upcoming season, including the worldwide leader’s first-ever Wild Card playoff game. Also benefiting from the giant sports programmer’s vast portfolio of rights, ESPN Deportes will present the College Football Playoff, which includes the semifinal matchups along with the championship, which will be carried exclusively by the Spanish-language cable service for the third straight year.

Billing Euro 2016, The Continent's national quadrennial competition, as soccer’s second biggest event behind the World Cup, ESPN Deportes is eyeing viewer growth, after delivering its most-watched ever June during the 2012 competition among the 25-to-54 set, topped by the network’s biggest ever telecast: nearly 1.13 million Hispanics saw Spain beat Italy in the final.  Qualifiers for Euro 2016 from France kick off in September and last through October 2015. Playoffs are the next month, before the tournament takes center stage the following year.

Following the success of the Pan American Games Guadalajara 2011, ESPN Deportes, ESPN and ESPN2 will provide exclusive, multimedia coverage of the XVII Pan American Games Toronto 2015 in English and Spanish. The networks plan to dedicate over 150 hours of coverage around the Olympic-style event.

ESPN Deportes’ 125 hours of live coverage of the Pan American Game from Guadalajara delivered the highest ratings across all Spanish-language cable networks through the 17 days of the tournament. The ESPN Deportes telecasts, in addition to ESPN2’s coverage of select events, reached 19 million viewers.

Athletes from 41 nations competing in 36 sports will be on display in Toronto. The stakes are high at the Olympics of the Americas: competitions in 18 of the sports will serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

South of the U.S. border, ESPN Deportes is scheduled in January to unveil a new state of the art facility, which will include four new HD studios along with four control rooms and 10 editing suites. As such ESPN Deportes’ Emmy award-winning SportsCenter will sport a new look, encompassing new animation, graphics and creative visual presentation.

In addition, Nación ESPN, the interactive sports and entertainment news show produced from ESPN’s studios in Los Angeles will expand to weekends starting this fall, with Adriana Monsalve recapping the best of the week that was.

The event was also memorable for the performance of the bow-tied and presumably highly caffienated Bruce Bowen. The former San Antonio Spur and current NBA analyst effectively encapsulated Latinos' passion for sports and their growing interest in pro basketball -- especially when The Finals matches two of the cities with the highest concentration of Hispanic, Miami and San Antonio -- with a few early morning salsa moves that had media buyers clapping and his fellow panelists, MLB analyst Eduardo Perez and NFL commentator Raul Allegre, with a most difficult act to follow.