Three-Day Initiative Features ESPN FC TV Special, Seven FIFA Matches, Digital Content, and More
Tuesday, March 4 marks “100 Days” until the kickoff of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and ESPN, the official English language rightsholder in the U.S. – will celebrate the occasion with three days of special programming (March 3-5), extensive digital content on ESPNFC.com, coverage of seven FIFA matches and more next week.
A special one-hour edition of ESPN FC on TV, the soccer highlights, news and information program, will air Tuesday on ESPN2 and WatchESPN (5 p.m. ET). The program will include previews and discussion of World Cup 2014 and the launch of “American Underdogs,” a multimedia series examining the 20th anniversary of the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.
Beginning Monday, ESPNFC.com, ESPN’s multi-platform destination for global soccer news and information, will also mark “100 days” with a robust, three-day content initiative highlighting Brazil 2014 with digital video, stories and more. Highlights:
- “American Underdogs” – Part I: Part I of Roger Bennett’s four-part series on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 World Cup looks at the buildup to the month-long event in the U.S.
- World Cup injuries report – Who’s in, Who’s out?: 100 days from kickoff of Brazil 2014, John Brewin scours the world of professional soccer to report key injuries going into the tournament.
- How does a Country win a World Cup, Gabriele Marcotti asks?
- Battling the Elements: Brazilian-based journalist Eduardo Alvarez takes an in-depth look at arguably the biggest opponents any team will face in Brazil – the climate and the travel.
TUESDAY, MARCH 4:
ESPN FC on TV – ESPN2 and WatchESPN at 5 p.m.
Dan Thomas and former U.S. Men’s National Team players Kasey Keller and Alexi Lalas will host. Analyst Alejandro Moreno, a former Venezuelan National Team player, will contribute from Atlanta, where he is calling Mexico vs. Nigeria (Wed., March 5 on ESPNEWS and WatchESPN at 8:30 p.m.). Highlights:
- ESPN FC pundits will discuss the top-10 on-the-field questions leading into World Cup.
- “American Underdogs” – Part III: Lalas, who played in the 1994 World Cup, discusses the legacy left by the month-long sports event in the United States
- Preview of the Wednesday, March 5, international friendly matches featuring key 2014 World Cup teams – the only FIFA-approved match date ahead of Brazil 2014
- ESPN FC on TV’s European football experts Gab Marcotti and Raphael Honigstein will join the program to provide insight on the top European teams bound for Brazil
- A “100th Day Out” countdown graphic will be featured on-screen throughout the one-hour program and across other programs on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic throughout the day to mark the occasion.
- 10 Key Questions: Marcotti, Honigstein, Bennett, Fernando Duarte and Spanish football expert Sid Lowe answer the 10 most pressing questions going into the tournament.
- Club v Country: Simon Kuper tackles a recurring debate since the advent of professional soccer – the difference between playing club vs. national team football.
- What You Need to Know about Brazil: 100 days out, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Wright Thompson will offer insight on what fans need to know as they plan their World Cup trip to Brazil.
- Part II – “American Underdogs”: Bennett relives the 1994 World Cup through the eyes of some of the players.
- The Tactician: ESPN FC’s leading soccer tactician Michael Cox offers an Xs and Os preview of the week’s key FIFA international matches.
- World Cup Power Rankings: Reactions to ESPNFC.com’s “World Cup Power Rankings,” compiled by a collection of the site’s leading football experts based on recent results, injury updates and most-recent team news.
- Photo Galleries: Still images from past World Cups featuring 100 iconic players and 25 special moments such as Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt (2006), Landon Donovan’s goal vs. Algeria, Brazil’s 1970 title win, and more.
Original Digital Video Content on ESPNFC.com
- 100 Days in 100 Seconds: A montage of the road to Brazil 2014 through the Draw on December 6, 2013.
- Generation Next: A look at young players from top countries expected to emerge on the sport’s biggest stage in Brazil.
- Tommy’s Tips: ESPN FC’s leading soccer prognosticator Tommy Smyth offers his top three tips for Brazil 2014.
- Top Goals in Qualifying: A montage of great goals from the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.
ESPN Deportes will present special features and analysis across television and radio studio programming: Raza Deportiva, Capitanes, Futbol Picante, Jorge Ramos y Su Banda, Fuera de Juego and SportsCenter.
ESPNDeportes.com will roll out World Cup-related content featuring wide-ranging stories and in-depth analysis. Highlights:
- “100 days, 100 stories,” a series of in-depth stories around the teams, players and history of the tournament;
- Two special features – 100 days: In rush mode and The Security at the World Cup – on Brazil’s preparation to host the month-long tournament;
- Video blog with analysis by soccer experts Jose Ramon Fernandez and Rafa Ramos;
- World Cup 5 on 5 – ESPNDeportes.com correspondents reporting from Brazil;
- A feature on World Cup through the years;
- Team news and analysis including player rankings and an interactive map of the teams.
ESPN Classic will show six matches from the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, beginning at 11 a.m.:
- 11 a.m.: France vs. Spain (Stade de France in Paris)
- 1 p.m.: United States vs. Panama (CenturyLink Field in Seattle)
- 3 p.m.: Mexico vs. New Zealand (Estadio Azteca in Mexico City)
- 5 p.m.: Sweden vs. Portugal (Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden)
- 7 p.m.: United States vs. Costa Rica (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.)
- 9 p.m.: United States vs. Mexico (Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5:
ESPN Networks to Cover Last Official FIFA Match Date Ahead of Brazil 2014
ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes and ESPNEWS will combine to present seven international matches on Wednesday, the final official FIFA match date before the 2014 World Cup, when all national teams can call in players from professional soccer teams during the season. The line-up of matches includes the U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Ukraine, which Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman will call on ESPN2 (1:30 p.m.). Live coverage from across ESPN networks is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox, Apple TV and Roku via WatchESPN. Schedule:
|Wed, March 5||1:30 p.m.||Ukraine vs. USA||ESPN2 / WatchESPN|
|2 p.m.||Romania vs. Argentina||ESPN3 / ESPN Deportes|
|2:45 p.m.||Germany vs. Chile||ESPN3|
|3 p.m.||France vs. Netherlands||ESPN3|
|3:45 p.m.||Portugal vs. Cameroon||ESPN3|
|4 p.m.||Spain vs. Italy||ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / WatchESPN|
|8:30 p.m.||Mexico vs. Nigeria||ESPNEWS / WatchESPN|
Additional TV and Digital Content:
ESPNFC.com and ESPN FC on TV will offer extensive coverage of the day’s international matches.
- ESPN FC on TV will air a 30-minute post-match edition (following Ukraine-USA) at 6 p.m. on ESPN2
- ESPNFC.com will feature the “FC Boot Room” coverage for eight FIFA matches – Ukraine vs. USA; England vs. Denmark; Belgium vs. Ivory Coast; France vs. Netherlands; Portugal vs. Cameroon; Spain vs. Italy; Mexico vs. Nigeria; and South Africa vs. Brazil – including reactions as it happens.
- Soccer in the Shadows – Part III: The Legacy of the Class of ’94.
- Post-match and on-site coverage of Ukraine vs. USA and Mexico vs. Nigeria matches.
ESPNFC.com on “How Brazil was Built”
The site will launch a series of insightful features on the rich tradition of Brazilian football and its impact on the nation’s culture.
- Marcotti on the evolution of Brazil’s style
- Tim Vickery, ESPNFC.com’s Brazilian-based journalist, takes a look at where the World Cup preparations stand, 100 days out
- Lessons Learned – the impact of Brazilian football by Molyneux Carter
- Fernando Duarte on the futsal-beach soccer culture in Brazil
- Eduardo Alvarez on “Samba” style