On Monday, ESPN announced several of the analysts for the 2021-22 LaLiga season, the first for the Spanish top league on ESPN+.
Luis Garcia, Steve McManaman, and Pablo Zabaleta will serve as English-language analysts, while Spanish-language analysts include Diego Forlan, Mario Kempes, and Hugo Sanchez.
These analysts will appear across a variety of LaLiga programs on ESPN platforms.
“We are pleased to have these legendary players represent LaLiga on ESPN+ and ESPN networks for the foreseeable future,” said Rodolfo Martinez, Vice President, International, and ESPN Deportes Production, ESPN. “This group reflects our commitment and ambition to elevate how soccer fans in the U.S. experience LaLiga matches and exciting storylines throughout the year across our platforms.”
Bilingual analysts will appear on Spanish- and English-language pregame, halftime, and post-game programs across ABC, ESPN, and ESPN+, in addition to highlights and analysis shows including SportsCenter, ESPN FC Jorge Ramos y su Banda and Fuera de Juego.
ESPN announced an eight-year deal with LaLiga’s for broadcast rights back in May, with matches airing on cable (ESPN), broadcast (ABC), and ESPN+ (the primary home for matches).
Kempes, McManaman, and Sanchez are all experienced ESPN hands, with McManaman actually working as an analyst for UEFA Euro 2020 this summer. Garcia has made a number of appearances on ESPN FC as well, and Zabaleta got started in broadcasting earlier this year with fuboTV following his retirement last fall. Forlan did some announcing for Telemundo during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
More talent for ESPN’s LaLiga coverage will be announced in the coming days and weeks, prior to the start of the season on August 13th. Based on this announcement, fans should be somewhat encouraged by ESPN’s plans for the Spanish league. It seems like LaLiga broadcasts and analysis shows will have a different feel from ESPN’s Bundesliga and MLS broadcasts and analysis, and it can only be a good thing when different leagues are given different presentations with different analysts.