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ESPN is taking over U.S. English- and Spanish-language rights to Spain’s La Liga next season as part of an eight-year agreement, ending the run of BeIN Sport's hyperbolic color commentator Ray Hudson.
La Liga, featuring Barcelona and Lionel Messi, has been televised by BeIN since the 2012-13 season, when it took over from GolTV. Hudson, known for his liberal use of outlandish metaphors, moved from GolTV to BeIN along with play-by-play broadcaster Phil Schoen.
BeIN Sports has limited distribution in the U.S., narrowing the visibility of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during league matches in heart of their careers. Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Italy’s Juventus after the 2017-18 season.
ESPN+ will stream all 380 La Liga matches next season, and some will be televised on ESPN’s broadcast networks. The deal runs through the 2028-29 season and ESPN also will televise select second-division games and the promotion playoffs.
ESPN also has rights to Germany’s Bundesliga, the Dutch Eredivisie and Scotland’s Premier League along with England’s FA Cup and League Cup and Spain’s Copa del Rey.
In addition, ESPN televises the European Championship, European World Cup qualifiers and Major League Soccer.
The deal followed the establishment of La Liga North America, a joint venture between La Liga and Relevent Sports.
NBC has held rights to England’s Premier League, the highest-rated domestic league on U.S. television, since taking over from Fox for the 2013-14 season. NBC's six-year contract runs through 2021-22.
CBS and Paramount+ started its rights to the Champions League and Europa League last year and takes over Italy's Serie A from ESPN next season.
Fox has rights to the 2022 and 2026 World Cups and the 2023 Women's World Cup.
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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press