By Barry Janoff
March 9, 2014: ESPN, which this June-July will have exclusive English-language broadcast coverage in the U.S. of the FIFA World Cup, said it would air a six-part documentary focusing on the U.S. Men's National Team.
Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil, from ESPN Films, is scheduled to air for five consecutive weeks beginning on May 13, with the finale to run in June. Episodes will also air on ABC following their ESPN premieres.
The World Cup will run June 12-July 13 in Brazil.
“We know there will be enormous interest surrounding this team as the World Cup approaches so we’re focused on providing an in-depth look at how the players deal with the stakes of preparing for soccer’s biggest stage,” Connor Schell, vp/executive producer for ESPN Films and Original Content, said in a statement.
“The breadth and variety of content offerings across ESPN platforms leading up to and during the tournament will give soccer fans a chance to feel close to the action and Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil is intended to capture the mental and physical demands of the U.S. players giving viewers a truly unique perspective," said Schell.
ESPN said the series would follow the coaches and players, including Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, as they "endure a demanding preparation camp and play three international matches before their departure for Sao Paulo." The U.S. in the opening round of the World Cup will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live; WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).
“The breadth and variety of ESPN content offerings leading up to and during the tournament will give soccer fans a chance to feel close to the action."
Fox Sports will take over as the exclusive English-language U.S. broadcast network for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“We have always said that the National Team should represent the culture of the country, and the fans play a big part in that,” U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement. “We are going to work extremely hard to get this group prepared to do something special in Brazil, and we are excited to work with ESPN to allow our supporters the opportunity to see the tremendous effort our players and staff will put in to get ready.”
FIFA marketing partners include adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia Motores, Emirates, Sony and Visa.
FIFA World Cup sponsors include Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Castrol, Continental, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Moy Park, OI and Yingli.
PHOTO: Columbus, OH (Sept 10, 2013) Columbus Crew Stadium: Fans of the US Soccer team during a FIFA World Cup Qualifier match against Mexico (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images).
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