ESPN Deportes to televise World Cup in US

Published Nov. 26, 2009 9:08 p.m. ET

ESPN Deportes will broadcast next year's World Cup in the United States with Portuguese commentary in what appears to be a challenge to Univision. ESPN and ABC, both part of The Walt Disney Co., own all U.S. telecasts rights to FIFA events through the 2014 World Cup, except for Spanish-language rights. Those are held by Univision Communications Inc. ESPN announced Wednesday that ESPN Deportes will televise more than 40 World Cup matches live. Five-time champion Brazil and Portugal are the only two Portuguese-speaking nations in the 32-team field in South Africa. will show World Cup matches in Portuguese and other languages not yet announced. Univision did not have any immediate comment. "There's a thriving Portuguese-speaking community in the U.S. that lives and breathes soccer," ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia said in a statement. "With Brazil, undoubtedly one of the most-followed soccer teams in the world, and Portugal qualifying last week, we are leveraging our multilanguage rights to better serve the passionate Portuguese-speaking fans."