last train to russia-espn deportes

ESPN no longer owns broadcast rights to the World Cup, but that apparently won’t stop the network from producing ambitious original programming in connection with the event.

On Monday, ESPN announced that it would air a 12-episode series called The Last Train to Russia in which soccer reporter Martín Ainstein will explore the World Cup host nation through visits to the 11 Russian host cities, riding from west to east along the Trans-Siberian railway. The series was produced in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. It will air in the United States on ESPN Deportes, as well on ESPN channels in Latin America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, India and China.

“We are thrilled to premiere The Last Train to Russia, the first in our comprehensive global news and information coverage of the World Cup in Russia,” Rodolfo Martínez, vice president of production, ESPN International and ESPN Deportes said in a statement. “Russia is a country with rich culture and unique traditions. We expect that through Martin’s style of storytelling, we are able to offer a sense-of-place experience to World Cup fans.”

Here is the (Spanish-language) trailer ESPN released Monday:

ESPN has produced some excellent soccer documentary content in the past, including its 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series leading up to the 2014 World Cup and loads of video content centered on the U.S. Men’s National team during the tournament itself. The network was never likely to invest so heavily in soccer projects now that Fox owns exclusive rights to the World Cup, but it’s good to see the Worldwide Leader hasn’t given up on ambitious coverage of the World’s Game altogether.

The Last Train to Russia will debut Thursday, March 22 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN Deportes, with new episodes airing every week through the start of the World Cup in mid-June. Via ESPN, here is the full broadcast schedule.

Date Time Episode
Thursday, March 22 8:30 p.m. Episode 1: Saint Petersburg
Monday, March 26 8:30 p.m. Episode 2: Nizhny Novgorod
Wednesday, April 4 8:30 p.m. Episode 3: Saransk
Wednesday, April 11 8:30 p.m. Episode 4: Samara
Tuesday, April 17 8:30 p.m. Episode 5: Kazan
Wednesday, April 25 8:30 p.m. Episode 6: Ekaterinburg
Wednesday, May 2 8:30 p.m. Episode 7: Volgograd
Tuesday, May 8 8:30 p.m. Episode 8: Rostov-on-Don
Friday, May 18 8:30 p.m. Episode 9: Sochi
Thursday, May 24 8:30 p.m. Episode 10: Kaliningrad
Friday, June 1 8:30 p.m. Episode 11: Moscow 1
Monday, June 4 8:30 p.m. Episode 12: Moscow 2

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.