For such an avid collector of sports rights, ESPN has rarely been able to snag the big game. But next year, for just the second time, ESPN Deportes will have broadcast rights for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LIII will be broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes—Super Bowl L in 2016 was also on the network—marking the second time an ESPN channel landed rights to the NFL’s biggest television event. Last year, Spanish-language broadcast rights for the Super Bowl went to Fox Deportes.
ESPN made the deal for the rights with CBS and the NFL.
“As the broadcaster of Super Bowl LIII, it was important for us to find a Spanish-language partner to reach the NFL’s Hispanic fan base on the biggest day in television,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports, in a statement. “The presentation on ESPN will be a great complement to our broadcast on CBS.”
“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest and most anticipated sporting events of the year and we are proud to serve as the Spanish-language media partner thanks to this agreement with the NFL and CBS,” said Freddy Rolón, vice president and general manager, ESPN Deportes, in a statement. “Carrying Super Bowl LIII will be the perfect way for us to cap the NFL season, which will also include our presentation of the Mexico City MNF game and our plans to provide an ESPN2 MNF Spanish-language simulcast during the first nine weeks of the season.”
ESPN Deportes' coverage of the NFL includes weekly Monday Night Football games in Spanish throughout the NFL regular season, a Wild Card Playoff game, and studio shows NFL Live and NFL Esta Noche.
The Spanish-language broadcast coming back to ESPN Deportes is likely an encouraging sign for ESPN and the NFL’s relationship, which reportedly has been less than stable in recent years.
Earlier this year, Sports Business Daily reported that new ESPN boss James Pitaro has made mending fences with the NFL one of his top priorities. Recent tiffs between the network and league have stemmed from NFL Draft coverage and the NFL reportedly considering taking away ESPN’s Wild Card playoff game.