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ESPN is ramping up its biggest overhaul of multiplatform coverage ever with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Across all digital platforms – online, mobile, social media, fantasy, games and digital audio – ESPN will dedicate a full month of 24/7 news, analysis, commentary and interactivity around the world’s biggest sporting event.
“With the advent of social media and digital convergence in full stride, we expect the 2010 FIFA World Cup on ESPN to be the most watched, talked about, read and listened to tournament of the year,” said John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Digital Media. “The anticipation leading up to June 11, during the weeks of soccer action and in the days after the trophy is raised, ESPN plans to offer sports fans every ways and means of experiencing and connecting with other fans for this global event on multiple platforms.”
Fans will have access to unprecedented live coverage of every game wherever they go, including all 64 matches available on mobile TV and full audio play-by-play of every match on ESPNRadio.com’s new super stream player. ESPN3.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, will also carry 54 matches live within its newest viewer experience complete with enhanced viewing options, milestone markers, customizable widgets with exclusive stats, scores, schedules and more.
The new ESPN3.com is anticipating record audiences as the best available screen for live matches of the World Cup, as most U.S. audiences will be watching the events during the day at their computers. To facilitate, ESPN3.com has prepared a line-up of new content, features, tools and viewing experiences to debut in time for the World Cup, including multi-language options to watch select games in one of five additional languages – Portuguese, Arabic, German, Japanese or Korean. Closed captioning will also be available for all live matches in English. Live coverage of 54 matches – with all 64 matches available for replay – will also include:
- Key Plays: A feature where users will be able to jump to key scoring plays and pivotal moments at any time during the game.
- New Viewing Modes: Multiple options to watch live events, including picture-in-picture and split screens;
- New Scoreboard Module: Up-to-the-minute scores from hundreds of sports leagues from around the world;
- Stats: In-depth event stats that allow fans to track the event they’re watching;
- Chat: Interact with other fans watching the game;
- Social Media: Update your Facebook and Twitter status.
The network is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider and is currently in over 50 million households – a majority of US broadband homes. It is accessible via dozens of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) nationwide, including AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Comcast, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and more. Remote access is available through each ISP to gain access to ESPN3.com content from any computer.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup will also be a breakthrough event for ESPN Mobile which will serve all fans through a variety of apps, alerts, mobile web and mobile video services. The event marks the first time that World Cup live matches will be available domestically on mobile platforms.
Mobile TV: ESPN Mobile will offer all 64 matches live from the first round to the final match on mobile platforms nationwide. ESPN Mobile TV – available on AT&T Mobile TV, FLO TV, MobiTV, Sprint TV and Verizon VCAST platforms – will carry 56 matches live in the U.S. Additionally, AT&T Mobile TV will carry the 8 live overlapping concurrent matches on a World Cup dedicated channel.
World Cup App: A premium upgrade to the current ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup app will be available for a one-time purchase of $7.99, allowing fans to access enhanced features such as live play by plays, live audio, live commentary, live scoring alerts, breaking news alerts, news by team alerts, and in game video highlights. The upgrade will include community tools such as sharing favorite teams and stories through Facebook and Twitter integrations. An international version of the app will also be launching in June.
ESPN Alerts: For $4.99, fans receive text message updates on all World Cup match starts, scores and news.
Mobile Games: ESPN will be publishing three games dedicated to the World Cup:
- ESPN Shootout: Players try to score or defend as many goals in multiple 3-D game modes. The game has incorporated the Official Adidas World Cup Match Ball and players can choose their favorite country in the tournament to represent
- ESPN Pinball: A classic pinball game for the iPhone and iPad customized for soccer and the World Cup. Share your best score on the global leader board or on Facebook and challenge your friends with the Pass and Play mode
- ESPN Trivia: Players test their knowledge with over 200 trivia questions about the World Cup, complete with images of players and historic games. Answer increasingly difficult questions as you play your way through the different tournament rounds
Mobile Web: Fans on any data-enabled mobile device will be able to follow live scores, gamecast, news and info on a dedicated World Cup section of the ESPNsoccernet mobile Web.
ESPN Digital Audio
Listeners who want to keep up with all the World Cup action as it happens will be able to tune into ESPNRadio.com, where play-by-play audio of all 64 matches will be produced and available via the new super stream player (for a preview image, click HERE). The entire tournament will also be accessible on the go through the ESPN Radio app, available in the App Store for $4.99, as well as on Sirius XM satellite radio.
In-depth reporting will be anchored by ESPN’s 2010 FIFA World Cup microsite, ESPNsoccernet.com/WorldCup, providing a single destination with a global perspective in language (World Cup news and information in English and Spanish), terminology (English U.S. and English Global) and content authentic to users who visit. James Martin, new senior editor of soccer for ESPN.com, will work alongside a team of editors and writers from around the world to provide coverage of the latest breaking news. The site will include:
- Off the Ball: An irreverent and cheeky blog looking at the tournament through the eyes of Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, drawing in a star-studded cast of mystery guests for their take on the world’s biggest sporting event;
- On-the-ground reports from ESPN.com’s soccer writers and columnists that include Jemele Hill, Chris Jones (ESPN The Magazine and Esquire) and soccer experts Leander Schaerlaeckens, Jeff Carlisle, Jeff Bradley, Luke Cyphers, John Brewin and Joy Gupta;
- Live blog coverage and tweets of all 64 games;
- Featured stories with an in-depth look at the effects of the World Cup on South Africa, soccer’s place in the culture, the legacy of the tournament and gauging its success;
- Expert analysis and opinion from the site’s exclusive digital original video series Digital Kick and ESPNsoccernet Press Pass;
- An I Scored A Goal vignette series chronicling past soccer players that scored a goal in the FIFA World Cup Final;
- ESPN Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings system that represents teams’ current overall skill levels;
- Breakdowns of every team and the top players of the tournament;
- Contributions from ESPN International in Buenos Aires, London and Bristol;
- Podcasts featuring international renowned soccer figures;
- Instant highlights from every game.
ESPN Fantasy & ESPN Arcade
Sign-ups will open to four customized ESPN Fantasy games around the World Cup, where players will be able to engage in the tournament with family, friends and other soccer fans. The games include:
- ESPNsoccernet Bracket Predictor: Players select which two teams will advance out of each the eight groups. The order selected – 1st or 2nd – determines where they are placed in the 16-team bracket. Then users predict the winner of the 15 bracket matches throughout the Finals. Sign-ups are currently open and all picks lock with the first kickoff on Friday, June 11. The overall winner will receive a U.S. $5,000 cash prize and daily prizes will also be awarded.
- ESPN 2010 Soccer Pick ‘Em: Entrants can sign up now for this pick ‘em game where players accumulate the most points by correctly selecting the “winning pick” for each of the sixty-four (64) matches. Daily and overall prizes will be awarded.
- ESPNsoccernet World Fantasy: Available in both English and Spanish languages, entrants to this fantasy game play against other friends and the rest of the world by selecting a 15-player squad from the 32 competing nations. Managers then choose their Starting XI during each “Gameweek” of the tournament. The participant with the most points after the Final wins a Dream Soccer Holiday!
- ESPNsoccernet Knockout Bracket: Coming soon, this “second chance” bracket game will allow players to select the winning team for each of the 15 post-group stage tournament matches. All brackets lock at the kickoff of the knockout stage on Saturday, June 26. Points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the tournaments progress.
Additional games will be available online under the ESPN Arcade suite of casual games. Fans caught up in the excitement of World Cup action will be able to play three new soccer themed games, including:
- Striker: Based on the most popular game ever released on ESPN Arcade, Striker features a forward or striker, on a breakaway towards the opponent’s goal. The player must singlehandedly outmaneuver multiple defenders before beating the goalie to score a goal. Famous soccer moves and celebration animations will add authenticity and excitement to this game.
- Free Kick: With a 3D engine that allows a player to shoot from multiple positions on the field, Free Kick allows for game play with varying amounts of defenders and the ability to set the trajectory, spin, power and accuracy of a shot.
- Map Madness: This geo-trivia game that will test world geography and soccer knowledge. Users will be asked to pinpoint the capitals of World Cup countries by identifying flags, players and landmarks. Time and precision are key to get the high score in this challenging game.
Soccer fans will also be able to access complete on-the-ground Spanish language coverage from a team of writers, correspondents and on-air talent for ESPNdeportes.com, including renowned coach Carlos Bianchi and ESPN International and ESPN Deportes analysts Daniel Brailovsky, David Faitelson, José Ramón Fernández, Fernando Palomo, Jorge Ramos and Fernando Schwartz.
Additionally, a new ESPN Deportes Radio iPhone app will launch this month and will feature the 24/7 ESPN Deportes Radio stream, soccer scores, news, audio podcasts and video clips.
Other features available from ESPNdeportes.com include:
- Expert analysis and opinion from exclusive video segments produced in South Africa;
- Real-time enhanced GameCast of all 64 games with an enhanced chat application where users can post comments, send tweets or follow a Facebook feed from their friends;
- Live tweets from South Africa with commentary on the matches, news from South Africa and World Cup-related programming updates by following @ESPNdeportes/mundial2010;
- A dedicated World Cup section with live scores, gamecast, news and info on the ESPNdeportes mobile Web as well as ESPN Deportes Alerts where fans can sign up for free Spanish language text message updates to receive select scores and news by texting FUTBOL to 43776;
- Photo galleries capturing all the action of every match;
- A comprehensive look at every team and the top players of the tournament;
- Worldwide contributions from ESPN experts in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, London, Bristol and South Africa;
- Spanish-language versions of the four fantasy games developed for the World Cup.