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ESPN+ adds Copa America to football portfolio

ESPN+ has again expanded its football portfolio by acquiring the exclusive English-language rights in the United States for the 2019 Copa America.

ESPN’s direct-to-consumer digital product will stream all 26 matches of the tournament, which is being held from June 14-July 7 throughout Brazil. ESPN+ will also carry the matches in Portuguese.

The NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo Deportes is the exclusive Spanish-language home of the tournament in the States and will broadcast the event across its platforms, including linear television.

In the past year, ESPN+ has acquired the rights to numerous global soccer properties, including Serie A, the English Football League, FA Cup, Major League Soccer, United Soccer League and the International Champions Cup among many others. Such content, which often would have difficulty finding room in a busy linear TV programming schedule, has been crucial in burnishing the over-the-top streaming service.

Earlier this month, Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice-president of programming and scheduling, told SportBusiness that the network was looking to “stack up global soccer as much we can” for ESPN+.

“We’re looking at all territories,” Magnus said. “We probably could do more in Latin America, South America, Central America, Mexico. That’s the next place we’re going to look….For an overall soccer fan, just having this buffet of great leagues and tournaments around the world is part of our design of making ESPN+ an indispensable proposition for a fan in that category. But in you need to have a critical mass [of rights] in order to have that dynamic.”

ESPN+, which costs $4.99 per month, currently has more than two million subscribers.