Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ESPN bets on World Cup spurring US soccer boom

NEW YORK -- If U.S. soccer has developed over the years, American TV coverage of the World Cup has advanced even more.

At the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea, ABC and ESPN didn't even bother to televise six of the 64 games live because of the 13-hour time difference. Four years ago in Germany, 20 matches were announced from U.S. studios in a cost-cutting move.

It'll be different this time around in South Africa.

The Walt Disney Co. networks are sending 200 people from the U.S. and Europe to join 100 local hires - slightly more than the 292 staffers the BBC plans to send. "SportsCenter" will be broadcast live from Johannesburg on a set shipped in, and 250 hours of original programming - that's more than 10 days of TV - are being produced.

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