ESPN expands Hispanic role through baseball

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ESPN will air Major League Baseball's opening game on April 1 in Spanish on ESPN Deportes.

ESPN Deportes (ESPN Sports) is a 52-week block of Spanish-language programming offered to affiliates, for distribution via system channels not committed to other ESPN networks. The Sunday block includes baseball, NFL football, boxing and a Spanish-language version of "SportsCenter."

The April 1 game will match the Toronto Blue Jays versus Texas Rangers from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the first time MLB has played a regular season game in Puerto Rico. MLB is playing exhibition games in Latin America as part of its "Month of the Americas" program.

Valvoline has signed on as advertiser for ESPN Deportes. Ed Erhardt, president-customer marketing and sales at Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN ABC Sports, expects other marketers from last year's Spanish-language broadcasts. "We were extremely encouraged by advertiser response to last year's Spanish baseball telecasts," he said.

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