ESPN has acquired the U.S. media rights for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, the premier championship for national soccer teams in the continent of Africa. ESPN3, the company’s live multi-screen sports network available in 83 million homes, will be the primary home for live presentation of the three-week tournament in South Africa from Saturday, Jan. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 10.
ESPN Deportes, the 24-hour Spanish-language sports network, will televise the semifinals and final matches on delay. This is the first time Africa’s most prominent soccer championship will be available in the United States via a media platform reaching a mass audience.
The agreement includes access to match highlights across ESPN media platforms such as ESPN FC, the company’s sole destination for soccer content; studio news, highlights and analysis programs such as SportsCenter, ESPN FC Press Pass on ESPNEWS, as well asSportsCenter and Los Capitanes on ESPN Deportes.
This year’s Africa Cup of Nations is the 29th edition of the tournament. Teams representing 16 nations compete in the tournament, following a qualification process among the 54 member nations of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the governing body for the sport of soccer in Africa. The winner of the tournament will represent Africa in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, June 15-30, competing in Group B along with Spain (Europe), Uruguay (South America) and Tahiti (Oceana).
Regarded as one of the most festive and colorful soccer tournaments among FIFA’s six football confederations, the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) features some of the best soccer professionals in the top European leagues. The competition is held every two years. Some highlights:
- Every Team has a Chance: Defending champions Zambia won the title in 2012 after ESPN Soccer Power Index (SPI) predicted the Southern Africa country had a two percent chance of winning the tournament.
- Cote D’Ivoire – A team of Stars: Shanghai Shenhua striker and current European club champion Didier Drogba leads an odds-on favorite Cote D’Ivoire, which features Manchester City’s Touré brothers (Yaya and Kolo) and Arsenal’s Gervinho.
- Ghana’s Return to South Africa: The Ghana National Team returns to South Africa, the site of its most successful FIFA World Cup run in 2010 where it led the six African national teams in the 2010 FIFA World Cup by reaching the quarterfinals after a 2-1 win over the U.S. in a Round of 16 match in Rustenburg. Asamoah Gyan, who scored the deciding goal in overtime, is Ghana’s team captain.
- Togo Returns to AFCON: Togo, led by Tottenham Hotspur’s Emmanuel Adebayor, makes its first appearance in the competition after their team bus was attacked by terrorists as they travelled from a pre-tournament camp through a conflict zone, en-route to the tournament in Angola in 2010.
Groups and Teams:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Morocco||DR Congo||Burkina Faso||Togo|
|Cape Verde||Ghana||Ethiopia||Cote D’Ivoire|
2013 Africa Cup of Nations Schedule:
|Sat, Jan 19||11 a.m.||South Africa vs. Cape Verde||A – #1||ESPN3|
|2 p.m.||Angola vs. Morocco||A – #2||ESPN3|
|Sun, Jan 20||11 a.m.||Ghana vs. DR Congo||B – #3||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Mali vs. Niger||B – #4||ESPN3|
|Mon, Jan 21||10 a.m.||Zambia vs. Ethiopia||C – #5||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Nigeria vs. Burkina Faso||C – #6||ESPN3|
|Tue, Jan 22||10 a.m.||Cote D’Ivoire vs. Togo||D – #7||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Tunisia vs. Algeria||D – #8||ESPN3|
|Wed, Jan 23||10 a.m.||South Africa vs. Angola||A – #9||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Morocco vs. Cape Verde||A – #10||ESPN3|
|Thu, Jan 24||10 a.m.||Ghana vs. Mali||B – #11||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Niger vs. DR Congo||B – #12||ESPN3|
|Fri, Jan 25||10 a.m.||Zambia vs. Nigeria||C – #13||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Burkina Faso vs. Ethiopia||C – #14||ESPN3|
|Sat, Jan 26||10 a.m.||Cote D’Ivoire vs. Tunisia||D – #15||ESPN3|
|1 p.m.||Algeria vs. Togo||D – #16||ESPN3|
|Sun, Jan 27||12 p.m.||Cape Verde vs. Angola||A – #17||ESPN3|
|12 p.m.||Morocco vs. South Africa||A – #18||ESPN3|
|Mon, Jan 28||12 p.m.||Niger vs. Ghana||B – #19||ESPN3|
|12 p.m.||DR Congo vs. Mali||B – #20||ESPN3|
|Tue, Jan 29||12 p.m.||Ethiopia vs. Nigeria||C – #21||ESPN3|
|12 p.m.||Burkina Faso vs. Zambia||C – #22||ESPN3|
|Wed, Jan 30||12 p.m.||Algeria vs. Cote D’Ivoire||D – #23||ESPN3|
|12 p.m.||Togo vs. Tunisia||D – #24||ESPN3|
|Sat, Feb 2||10 a.m.||1B vs. 2A: Quarterfinal #1||#26||ESPN3|
|1:30 p.m.||1A vs. 2B: Quarterfinal #2||#25||ESPN3|
|Sun, Feb 3||10 a.m.||1D vs. 2C: Quarterfinal #3||#27||ESPN3|
|1:30 p.m.||1C vs. 2D: Quarterfinal #4||#28||ESPN3|
|Wed, Feb 6||10 a.m.||Winners 25 vs. 28: Semifinal #1||#29||ESPN3 /*ESPN Deportes|
|1:30 p.m.||Winners 27 vs. 26: Semifinal #2||#30||ESPN3 /*ESPN Deportes|
|Sat, Feb 9||1 p.m.||Losers 29 vs. 30: Third Place||#31||ESPN3|
|Sun, Feb 10||1 p.m.||Winners 29 vs. 30: Final||#32||ESPN3 /*ESPN Deportes|
*ESPN Deportes presentation will be on delay.