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Fox Sports en Español Eyes 4M Subs

5/17/2005 11:05 AM Eastern

New York -- Tom Maney, senior vice president of advertising sales at Fox Sports en Español, pushed hard on the numbers at the network’s upfront presentation here Tuesday, setting the stage for negotiations with media-buying executives in the weeks ahead.

Fox Sports en Español -- which added 20 clients over the past year to lift its advertiser base to 80 -- currently counts some 3.25 million Spanish-language households, and it expects to hit targets of 3.5 million in the fourth quarter and some 4 million by next year’s upfront presentation, according to Haney.

He said negotiations with DirecTV Inc., Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable would yield the new subscribers.

The network also claimed that that it was No. 1 among all Spanish-language networks in terms of overall male audience composition, including males 18-34 and 18-49. Relative to delivery of sports programming, network officials said the channel had 11 of the top 20 shows in 2004, eight of the top 20 among men 18-49 and seven of the top 20 among the younger male demo.

Those Nielsen Media Research accomplishments were reached, he added, despite Fox Sports en Español having far less penetration than other networks reaching into the sector, such as Spanish-language broadcasters Univision and Telemundo.

On the programming front, Haney said the network will offer 5,000 programming hours in the upcoming TV season, 1,500 of which will be live. Naturally, there is a heavy emphasis on soccer.

In addition to being the exclusive home to four club competitions next year, Fox Sports en Español will ramp up its World Cup coverage with a series of thematic specials: nine half-hour analysis shows dissecting the various tournament groups; nine one-hour shows presenting interviews and analysis from former World Cup coaches; and one-dozen one-hour programs featuring current and former World Cup players.
Haney said the network -- which will also present documentaries from the 1978-98 World Cups, with sponsorship opportunities a la TBS’ “Dinner & A Movie” -- will have three crews on the ground in Germany and a studio in Munich for the upcoming quadrennial competition.

The network also used the upfront to announce that veteran soccer commentator and current Univision Radio host Jorge Ramos will join the service in August. Two-hour weekly show Jorge Ramos en Vivio! will tackle fútbol from around the world, with phone-in, e-mail and other interactive elements.

September