ESPN Goes to Rome for 2009 UEFA Champions League Final
English Premier League Champions Manchester United vs. Spanish La Liga Champions FC Barcelona;
Coverage across ESPN’s Domestic and International Networks; Live Reports from Stadio Olimpico; Digital Services; Studio Programs; ESPN The Magazine Profile; et al
ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League (UCL) season will culminate Wednesday, May 27, with the live telecast of UEFA Champions League Final around the world, reaching more than 167.8 million television households in 115 countries and territories in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, the Pacific Rim, Asia and Canada. The 2009 Champions League Final between defending champions Manchester United, led by FIFA World Player of the Year Christiano Ronaldo, and FC Barcelona, featuring Argentinian striker Lionel Messi, from Stadio Olimpico in Rome will mark the 15th straight year the Champions League Final has been televised on ESPN’s U.S. and International networks.
In addition to the live 2009 UCL Final telecast, ESPN will deliver its “game around the game” coverage with news, information, highlights and analysis across its media platforms in the U.S. and beyond. ESPN’s global coverage of the world’s most popular club competition will feature 14 on-air commentators (hosts, analysts, reporters, contributors) in Rome. On-site commentators – calling the match in three languages – include: Fernando Palomo, Quique Wolff, Juan Yankilevich, Jose Ramon Fernandez, Martin Ainstein (Spanish television), and Jorge Ramos and Hernan Pereyra (Spanish radio); Derek Rae, Tommy Smyth, and Dave Roberts (English); and José Trajano, Paulo Andrade, Paulo Vinicius, and Andre Kfouri (Portuguese). Highlights:
- ESPN will present exclusive, English-language telecast of the Final in high definition in the United States. Play-by-play commentator Rae, analyst Smyth and reporter Roberts will call the action live at 2:25 p.m. ET from Stadio Olimpico in Rome
- ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language network in the U.S., will televise the match exclusively in Spanish in the U.S. In the booth: Palomo (play-by-play), analyst Wolff and reporter Yankilevich. Additionally, the network will air a special 90-minute UCL Final pre-match show with co-hosts Ciro Procuna, Tony Cherchi, Rafa Puente and Daniel Brailovsky from the ESPN studios in Mexico, and live reports from Rome
- ESPN Deportes Radio, the only around-the-clock national Spanish-language sports radio network in the U.S., will broadcast the match live with Jorge Ramos (play-by-play) and analyst Hernan Pereyra in Rome. The network will also offer 30-minute pre- and post-match shows
- ESPN2 will air a special, one-hour 2009 UEFA Champions League Final preview show Tuesday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m. Adrian Healey will host with analysts Janusz Michallik, Shaka Hislop and Robbie Mustoe, including reports from Rome. Healey, Michallik, Hislop and Mustoe will also handle the halftime and post-match segments on ESPN HD (Wed., May 27)
- SportsCenter – leading into the match, daytime SportsCenter (12 – 3 p.m.) will feature UCL Final segments
- ESPN Deportes SportsCenter – Fernandez and Ainstein will join the booth team of Palomo, Wolff and Yankilevich for on-site reporting on all editions of ESPN Deportes SportsCenter beginning Monday, May 25
- First Take (ESPN2, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.) will feature Champions League Final-related segments including interviews with Smyth in Rome on Tuesday and Wednesday
- ESPN Classic will re-air the UEFA Champions League Final in a special same-day presentation (5:30 – 8 p.m.)
- ESPNEWS will feature in-game updates and post-game analysis
- Futbol Picante (ESPN Deportes), the one-hour Mexican soccer news and information program, will air UCL Final editions Monday and Tuesday with reports and updates from Rome
- Other ESPN Deportes programs: Juego Cruzado, sports news and commentary program modeled after ESPN’s Around the Horn, and Cronometro, a Spanish-language version of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption co-hosted by Fernandez (in Rome) and David Faitelson, and the weekly international soccer program Fuera de Juego, will feature UCL Final segments.
ESPN The Magazine Profiles Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, runner-up for the 2008 FIFA Player of the Year Award, is arguably the best footballer in the world today, albeit without the on- or off-the-field flair of Manchester United’s Ronaldo, the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year. Starring for FC Barcelona, the 5’6″ Argentine National team playmaker, who needed to take HGH to overcome a growth hormone deficiency as a kid, is responsible for some of the best passes and swiftest runs the modern game has ever seen.
The week before he leads Barcelona into Rome for the UEFA Champions League Final match against Ronaldo and Man. U., Messi’s profile is the cover story of the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, on newsstands Friday, May 15.
- “Being named among the best at something is special and beautiful. But if there are no titles, nothing is won.” – Messi on his quest for titles.
ESPN International Networks
ESPN International will provide live coverage of the 2009 UCL Final in the regions of Africa, Australia, Canada, and Latin America. ESPN STAR will televise the Final in English, Cantonese and Mandarin across Asia. On-site studio and match production teams will provide content to a variety of ESPN outlets around the world, including ESPN’s pan-regional network in Latin America; ESPN HD in Brazil; ESPN in the Pac Rim, ESPN Atlantic, and TSN and RDS in Canada. Immediately following the match, ESPN International will produce post-match programs simultaneously in three languages – English, Spanish and Portuguese, and ESPN’s three reporters (one for each language) will be inside the stadium during the match. Highlights:
- Live match telecast via ESPN networks in Latin America, the Caribbean, Pacific Rim, Atlantic region, ESPN HD in Australia, ESPN HD in Brazil, and TSN in Canada
- ESPN HD in Brazil – Trajano, Andrade, Vinicius, and reporter Kfouri will combine to provide Portuguese-language commentary for the Final, as well as reports from Rome for news and information shows
- A 90-minute Spanish-language pre-game show, produced in ESPN studios in Argentina with Jorge Barril, Andress Marocco and 1978 FIFA World Cup winner Mario Kempes, will feature live reports from Rome for the ESPN Latin South America region
- Abre o Jogo, 90-minute Portuguese-language Champions League Final pre-game show produced in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian audience, will feature UCL Final segments
- Live 60-minute English-language pre-game show featuring Healey, Michallik, Hislop and Mustoe, and live reports from Rome for the Pacific Rim, Atlantic region, the Caribbean and Canada
- Special live Fora de Jogo post-game show (Portuguese) on ESPN in Brazil
- Special post-match edition of SportsCenter at the conclusion of match on ESPN in Latin America
- ESPN networks in the Atlantic, Pacific Rim and Caribbean regions will air live, post-match live editions of SportsCenter with live reporting from Stadio Olimpico in Rome
- Hablemos de Futbol, a ESPN+ (Argentina, Paraguay, Chile y Uruguay) international soccer studio show produced in Argentina, will feature UCL Final segments
- ESPNSoccernet Press Pass, ESPN International’s hard-hitting English-language soccer news, opinion and debate program, will feature reports from Rome on its regular Monday edition. The program, featuring Healey (host) and analysts Michallik, Hislop and Mustoe, will also air special “UEFA Champions League Final Preview” shows May 26 – 27
- In the days leading up to the Champions League Final, ESPN Classic in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will air the greatest games of European Cup Finals, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup Finals in the last 50 years
- International editions of Cronometro (ESPN Latin America, M-F), Juego Cruzado (ESPN in Latin America, M-F) and Futbol Picante (ESPN 2 – ESPN’s local network in Mexico, M-F), will include special segments, previews and opinions about the 2009 UCL Final.
ESPN360.com: ESPN’s signature broadband service, available currently in 25 million homes nationwide (and soon to add 15 million Comcast households nationwide, making it available in nearly 41 million homes), will feature live English and Spanish simulcasts from ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes in the U.S. and in Spanish-speaking Latin America. ESPN360.com in Mexico and Chile will also be streaming the ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (TV) feeds. The service will also simulcast the 60-minute ESPN International English-language pre-match program.
For the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, ESPNdeportes.com (Spanish) and ESPNsoccernet.com (English) will provide complete highlights and coverage, including previews, recaps and post-game analysis, “Road to Rome” photo galleries, exclusive video highlights and podcasts, columns, blogs and chats with ESPN television commentators and soccer experts and online polls. A live in-game experience via Gamecast which includes play-by-play, commentary, full game stats and more will also be available for fans. Vito De Palma, ESPNdeportes.com correspondent based in Italy, will provide day-to-day coverage of the Final from Rome.
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