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LaLiga Santander games get more US viewers than baseball

North American sports might seem like a saturated market, with foreign football not only having to compete with MLS for viewing figures, but also NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB, but recent figures show that LaLiga Santander has managed to break through and it boasts some incredible numbers.

ESPN agreed a deal with LaLiga in May 2021 to broadcast eight seasons of Spanish football in the USA. As the broadcaster looks back on year one, progress has been very encouraging.

ESPN bosses are delighted with how their coverage is being received by viewers and it has been revealed that some LaLiga Santander games draw bigger television audiences than baseball.

“There are LaLiga games which are more watched than baseball, which is incredible,” said Ricardo Ortiz, an ESPN commentator.

“El Clasico was watched more than baseball, with everything that baseball is to American culture.”

ESPN broadcast their coverage of LaLiga Santander in Spanish and English, with areas which have high Latino populations particularly successful. The presence of Latin American and North American players in Spain also helps draw interest.

“The main markets for us are New York, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, although here [on the west coast] it’s harder due to the time difference,” explained Sonia Gomez, ESPN programming director.

“They are markets with a big Latino presence.

“[Andres] Guardado, [Diego] Lainez, [Yunus] Musah… Mexican and American players do a great job for us.”

ESPN+, the home of Spanish football in the USA, has over 22 million subscribers. For just 6.99 dollars a month, subscribers can watch every game from LaLiga Santander, LaLiga SmartBank, the Copa del Rey, the Bundesliga, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

The eight-year deal is worth 175 million dollars to LaLiga per season.


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