The series, which is in all but name an Under-19 Champions League competition, will showcase the best young talent from 24 of Europe’s top clubs, including Premier League champions Manchester City, La Liga giants Barcelona, Scudetto winners Juventus and big-spending French club PSG.
ESPN starts its coverage of NextGen with Inter Milan vs Borussia Dortmund on September 26, with exclusivity to the series in the United States, Brazil, Latin America, the Caribbean, Oceania and the Middle East.
In all, ESPN International will telecast 18 matches on its television networks around the world this season, including the semi-finals and final. All NextGen matches will also be carried live on ESPN’s broadband platforms ESPNPlay.com (the Caribbean and Latin America), WatchESPN (Brazil) and ESPN3.com (the Middle East and Oceania).
“The NextGen Series is a tremendous showcase for young talent developing at Europe’s top football clubs,” Mike Walters, vice president of programming at ESPN International, said. “In addition to getting a forecast of who may shine in Europe’s top leagues and the UEFA Champions League in the near future, fans will get a first look at future internationals who may lead their countries at World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016.”
Justin Andrews, co-founder of NextGen said: “We’re delighted to be introducing NextGen to so many new territories outside Europe, and via such a great broadcaster. There is a clear appetite for NextGen across the globe, giving fans the chance to follow the future stars of football.” [Source:I Sport Connect].
ESPN creates a meaningful global grassroots platform in order to position itself as the football broadcaster. The US channel is not only putting efforts into acquiring football TV rights for several markets, but does also engage with football young talents.
After launching ESPN FC, their global multi platform football brand, ESPN taps into youth football. With the rise of BeIn Sports (Al Jazeera sports channel in Europe) especially in France, ESPN adopts a strategy that engages directly with the fans, the players and the upcoming generation of talented footballers.