ESPN + faces language barrier when trying to reach LaLiga fans

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ESPN +

ESPN + is a must-have for many football fans in the United States. ESPN’s acquisition of the US rights to LaLiga was supported by the development of streaming services for sports coverage.

Not only does the service stream correspond in English, but they also broadcast all LaLiga games in Spanish. The decision to broadcast in both languages ​​was frankly essential for society and viewers.

Prior to LaLiga’s deal with ESPN, beIN SPORTS owned the television rights to the Spanish League in the United States.

Over the past five seasons, beIN SPORTS en Español has attracted nearly three times as many viewers as its English-speaking channel beIN SPORTS for LaLiga matches. ESPN, clearly aware of these numbers, made the wise decision to broadcast LaLiga games in English and Spanish.

With the importance of Spanish language broadcasts, ESPN has paid special attention to the language. ESPN + Managing Director Russell Wolff spoke about the growth of the platform in both languages.

“We have seen steady growth in the number of subscribers on ESPN + and the Hispanic fan base has grown as well. “ Wolff said in early 2020. “Digital usage is also on the rise in all areas, including ESPN Deportes.”

Additionally, Wolff mentioned the doors open thanks to the service’s multilingual broadcasts. The increase in eyes looking at the service means a consequent increase in potential advertisers.

“More content should equal more usage, which should also lead to more attention from advertisers,” Wolff said.

“With the Spanish language broadcasts, we have more opportunities to offer partners the ability to speak directly to Spanish language subscribers, which is a desirable audience that is difficult to reach. “

ESPN + Spanish language experience

Undeniably, it is positive to have broadcasts in Spanish through ESPN +. However, the user experience for Spanish speakers is disappointing to say the least.

READ MORE: How to watch La Liga on American TV.

Yes, LaLiga matches and other viewing content can be streamed in Spanish. But, the navigation and actual controls in the app are in English no matter what subscribers are watching.

ESPN + offers a Spanish registration process, but once you’ve signed up for the app itself, it’s a fully English experience.

A major factor for ESPN to acquire the rights to LaLiga in the United States was clearly to attract Spanish speakers. However, it looks like ESPN could do more to help its target audience in the current app. It remains to be seen whether the company is currently considering making the necessary adjustments.

Yes, ESPN + this week added a new section to the app called ESPN + MÁS that focuses on content in Spanish, but that’s not enough. All navigation on the ESPN + app is still in English.

The departure of Lionel Messi from Barcelona to League One surely disappointed ESPN. Although the Spanish league remains one of the best divisions in European football, Messi’s departure has certainly dented the expected growth in ESPN subscribers.


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