Miami -- Latin America sports channel Pan-American Sports Network (PSN) has signed a multi-year partnership with Brazilian soccer superstar Pele. The sports legend will appear on PSN shows and will participate in marketing and community programs. During the course of qualifying matches this year for the 2002 World Cup, Pele will have his own commentary show two times per month. PSN says it's in discussions to secure some World Cup broadcast rights and anticipates that Pele will provide live commentary on those matches on PSN. However, Pele has a pre-existing accord to provide commentary on Brazil's World Cup Finals matches in Brazil. Except for Brazil's finals matches in the 2002 World Cup, PSN says Pele would be exclusive to the pay-TV channel for the World Cup 2002 qualifying matches, the draw ceremony and World Cup. PSN may also have Pele appear on its broadcasts of the soccer tournament Copa Libertadores and other special events. But Pele's World Cup commentary may be limited to PSN's signal in Brazil. Last month, satellite TV operator DirecTV Latin America announced it had acquired exclusive broadcast rights to both the 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals for Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, but not Brazil, in a deal valued at $400 million. The accord covers all TV and broadcast rights in those Spanish-language countries, where DirecTV Latin America said it would sub-license open TV and radio rights for certain games.
PSN is a 24-hour sports channel, launched in February 2000. It now reaches more than 10 million homes. It is part of a sport and media group owned by Hicks Muse and managed by the Muller Sports Group.
Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.