ESPN and CBS have reached an agreement that will allow ESPN Deportes to broadcast the Super Bowl LIII in Spanish next February, ESPN announced Monday.
This will be the second time ESPN Deportes has carried the Super Bowl, after previously airing the game in 2016, the last time CBS needed a Spanish-language partner. The 2018 Super Bowl was broadcast in Spanish on NBC-owned Universo, while the 2017 version aired on Fox Deportes.
“As the broadcaster of Super Bowl LIII, it was important for us to find a Spanish-language partner to reach the NFL’s Hispanic fan base on the biggest day in television,” CBS executive vice president Dan Weinberg said in a release Monday. “The presentation on ESPN will be a great complement to our broadcast on CBS.”
ESPN says its Super Bowl broadcast will feature Álvaro Martín on play-by-play, ex-NFL kicker Raul Allegre on color and reporter John Sutcliffe on the sideline — the same team that works Monday Night Football and ESPN’s opening-weekend playoff game for ESPN Deportes.
The Spanish-language Super Bowl broadcast typically draws only a small fraction of the viewership the English-language version gets, but the numbers aren’t miniscule. Last year’s Super Bowl telecast on Universo drew 543,000 viewers, while the previous year’s game on Fox Deportes pulled 650,000 viewers. When ESPN Deportes aired the contest in 2016, the telecast averaged 472,000 viewers, making it the most watched non-soccer event in network history.
“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest and most anticipated sporting events of the year and we are proud to serve as the Spanish-language media partner thanks to this agreement with the NFL and CBS,” ESPN Deportes vice president Freddy Rolón said. “Carrying Super Bowl LIII will be the perfect way for us to cap the NFL season.”
As a cable network, ESPN won’t win English-language Super Bowl rights any time soon, but Spanish-language rights aren’t a bad consolation prize.