Ernesto Jerez Named a Finalist for Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Baseball Broadcasting

Ernesto Jerez has voiced his way to the top…

The 52-year-old Dominican sportscaster and commentator for ESPN Deportes has been named a finalist for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting

Ernesto Jerez

Jerez has worked ESPN Deportes’ Sunday Night Baseball for more than 25 years along with the World Series, All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic.

He’ll face off against Hall of Fame pitchers Dizzy Dean and Don Drysdale, along with Fox‘s Joe Buck, ESPN‘s Dan Shulman and NBC‘s Al Michaels.

Dave Campbell and Buddy Blattner also are finalists, the Hall said Monday.

The winner will be announced on Dec.ember 9 and will be honored next July 24 ahead of the Hall of Fame inductions, along with 2020 Frick winner Ken Harrelson. The 2020 ceremonies were called off became of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Frick Award is for national voices, part of a three-year rotation that includes broadcasting beginnings (autumn 2021) and major league markets (autumn 2022).

Broadcasters must have at least 10 continuous years of major league broadcast service with a team, network or combination.

Jose Ramirez to Defend His Junior Welterweight Title Against Jose Zepeda 

Jose Ramirezis going on the defense…

The 26-year-old Mexican American boxer and Junior welterweight world titleholder will make his second defense against contender Jose Zepeda on February 10 at the Save Mart Center, the arena in Ramirez’s hometown of Fresno, California, where he has drawn sellout crowds.

Jose Ramirez

Top Rankannounced the bout, which will headline Top Rank Boxing on ESPNspecial Sunday edition (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 7:00 pm ET, with the entire undercard streaming on ESPN+beginning at 4 p.m. ET).

Ramirez is known for his copious amount of public service in his community and it will continue with this card. Top Rank announced that a portion of each ticket sold will benefit the Community Cancer Institutein Clovis, California. Ramirez also will auction off his fight-worn trunks, gloves, shirt and shoes, with all proceeds to benefit the Community Cancer Institute.

“I feel blessed to defend my title a second time at home against a great opponent and also support an issue that affects everyone and their families,” Ramirez said. “Let’s all band together to KO cancer and remember that every moment counts.”

Top Rank chairman Bob Arumhas regularly lauded Ramirez’s charitable efforts.

“Jose Ramirez is a great young champion and an even better person,” Arum said. “We are proud to be involved with an event that will raise a tremendous amount of exposure for cancer research. Zepeda is a really tough fighter who will give Jose an excellent fight. The fans in the Central Valley have supported Jose since day one, and I expect another fantastic crowd at the Save Mart Center.”

Ramirez (23-0, 16 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will be in his second fight with head trainer Robert Garcia. Ramirez won a vacant 140-pound world title by lopsided decision over Amir Imamin March in New York and then returned to the Save Mart Center in September and outpointed Antonio Orozcoin a one-sided, action-packed fight.

Zepeda (30-1, 25 KOs), 29, a southpaw from La Puente, California, will be getting his second opportunity to fight for a world title.

He is unbeaten in eight consecutive fights — 7-0 with a head-butt induced no contest — since he dislocated his left shoulder and was unable continue against then-lightweight world titlist Terry Flanagan in July 2015, which resulted in a second-round stoppage loss.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity since my first world title shot against Terry Flanagan,” Zepeda said. “I’m going to train very hard, better than ever before. I’m very thankful to my team and Jose Ramirez for giving me this chance. I’m not going to waste it, and that’s why I’m training so hard.”

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with Facebook to Stream Live Boxing & Original Programming

Life is but a stream for Oscar De La Hoya

Facebook is punching up its video lineup with more live sports, inking a deal with the 45-year-old Mexican American boxer-turned-promoter’s Golden Boy Promotions to stream live boxing and original programming on the platform.

Oscar De La Hoya

The live boxing will be available to fans in the U.S. on Facebook Watch and globally via the Golden Boy Promotions page on Facebook.

The pact expands L.A.-based Golden Boy’s distribution outlets, which include deals with ESPN, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, HBO, EstrellaTV,and RingTV.com. The company also distributes content on owned-and-operated sites CaneloGGG.com and GoldenBoyPPV.com.

Under the pact, the first of Golden Boy’s five live fight nights on Facebook will be August 11, featuring Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defending his WBA World Featherweight title against Joseph “JoJo “Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The second live bout be on August 18 with light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) squaring off against a yet-to-be announced opponent at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.

The boxing bouts will not carry any advertising. So far, none of the live sports broadcasts on Facebook have carried ads but the company has been experimenting with inserting ads into live-streaming video.

For the live Facebook boxing series, Golden Boy has teamed with Kathy Duva’s Main Events boxing promotion company to increase “the number of world-class fighters to be featured.” Golden Boy’s live boxing series on Facebook will be augmented with “shoulder programming,” including rebroadcasts of past fights featuring commentary from the boxers themselves, with the first content slated to debut July 13. The on-demand programming also will feature celebrities, influencers, and boxing commentators.

De La Hoya, a former prizefighter who won multiple boxing world titles in six different weight classes, touted the Facebook agreement as a “game-changing deal for the sport of boxing.” “The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories,” De La Hoya said in a statement. Kathy Duva added, “We look now to a future with Facebook with unlimited opportunity, where promoters can work together to best serve the interests of the fighters and fans all over the world.”

Golden Boy Media and Entertainment will produce the live fights and original programming for Facebook, with De La Hoya serving as executive producer. The content will take advantage of Facebook’s social features; for example, the live broadcasts will incorporate the real-time fan interaction and engagement.

Pablo Cesar Cano to Fight Fidel Maldonado Jr. at the Dallas Cowboys Training Facility

Pablo Cesar Cano is ready to rumble…

The 27-year-old Mexican professional boxer will face off against fellow hard-hitting junior welterweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. in a 10-round fight on June 17 at the Tostitos Championship Plaza at The Star in Frisco, Texas, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Pablo Cesar Cano

The fight, which will be the first boxing event to take place at the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys, will headline a “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” card (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET).

Cano (30-5-1, 21 KOs), a former interim junior welterweight titlist, is as battle-tested as they come, though he lost his biggest fights — decisions against Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley and a 10th-round knockout to Erik Morales in a 2011 junior welterweight world title fight. But he’s also coming off a 10-round split decision against fringe contender Mauricio Herrera in November and hoping to score another win and move on to a bigger fight.

“Even though I have been a professional for 11 years, I feel like I am just hitting my prime,” Cano said. “With a win over Maldonado, I feel like I will be ready to take on the top opponents at 140 pounds and compete for a world title.”

Maldonado (23-3-1, 19 KOs), a 25-year-old southpaw from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is 4-0-1 in his past five bouts since suffering a fifth-round knockout loss to contender Amir Imam in January 2015.

“I can’t wait to get in the ring with Cano and show the Texas fans what I’m all about,” Maldonado said. “People may call this a crossroads fight, but I’m only interested in taking one road — toward a world championship.”

In the co-feature, San Antonio’s Joshua Franco (10-0, 5 KOs), 21, and 24-year-old Oscar Mojica (10-2, 1 KO), of Dallas, will engage in an all-Texas junior bantamweight fight scheduled for eight rounds.

Dallas junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (5-0, 5 KOs), who is just 19, will face an opponent to be determined in his first scheduled six-round bout.

Other Dallas-based Golden Boy prospects — junior lightweight Javier Martinez (1-0, 1 KO) and junior middleweight Alex Rincon (1-0, 1 KO) — will also appear on the card as will San Antonio junior lightweight prospect Hector Tanajara Jr. (8-0, 4 KOs).

ChocQuibTown Signs Management Deal with La Industria

ChocQuibTown is under new management…

The Latin Grammy-winning Colombian group has signed a management deal with La Industria, according to Billboard.

ChocQuibTown

The trio, comprised of Gloria MartínezGoyo,” Mike Martínez “Slow” and Carlos ValenciaTostao, joins the Industria family led by Juan Diego Medina, who manages Nicky Jam, Saga White Black and Valentino.

ChocQuibTown’s 2015 album El Mismo reached the No. 5 spot on Billboard‘s Latin Rhythm Albums chart.

Last summer, the Grammy-nominated group scored their first No. 1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart with their single “Desde el día en que te fuiste” (chart dated August 6, 2016).

ChocQuibTown’s “De donde vengo yo” will be the official song for ESPN Deportes‘ 2017 World Baseball Classic coverage.

ChocQuibTown’s “De donde vengo yo” Featured in ESPN Deportes’ 2017 World Baseball Classic Coverage

ChocQuibTown may be sporting new fans soon…

ESPN Deportes is featuring the Latin Grammy-winning Colombian hip-hop group’s prideful, feel-good song “De donde vengo yo” for their 2017 World Baseball Classic coverage.

ChocQuibTown

ChocQuibTown, comprised of Carlos “Tostao” Valencia, his wife Gloria “Goyo” Martínez and Gloria’s brother Miguel “Slow” Martínez, took to social media to share news of their participation along with a video featuring the Latin teams that are playing in the tournament.

“Let’s experience the 2017 WBC to the beat of ‘De donde vengo yo,'” ChocQuibTown posted on Facebook.

The international tournament, with games taking place in major cities including Tokyo, Miami, Seoul and Los Angeles, will kick off March 6.

Alexis & Fido Record “Si No Tiene El Swing” for ESPN’s MLB Coverage

It’s a swing and a hit for Alexis & Fido

The Latin Grammy-nominated Puerto Rican reggaeton duo have partnered with ESPN to release a Spanish version of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for the sports channel’s Major League Baseball coverage.

Alexis & Fido Alexis & Fido

Dubbed “Si No Tiene El Swing,” the new version was recorded by Alexis & Fido, and features vocals by up-and-coming singer Eli Jas.

It was produced exclusively for ESPN and will be incorporated into ESPN’s cross-platform MLB game and studio coverage, including bumpers, teases and montages across all of ESPN’s baseball programming on all platforms worldwide.

It will include programs in Spanish, like ESPN Deportes, as well as in English, like Baseball Tonight.

This isn’t the first time ESPN tapped  a Latin act to use Spanish music, but it’s the first time it’s been done on such a wide scale, according to ESPN music director Kevin Wilson.

“We do a good job of choosing music whether in English or Spanish that lyrically connects to the network and to the sport,” says Wilson. “As long as people know the message of the lyrics [it] works.”

In fact, the use of Latin music at ESPN has increased exponentially in the last couple of years. “Reaching our Hispanic fans became much more of a priority for the network,” says Wilson.

The use reflects the reality of the market. According to Major League Baseball’s site for last season, reggaeton is the third most-used genre for walk-up songs (only behind hip hop and rock). Additionally, Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Nicky Jam are among the top 10 most-used artists by players.

Alexis & Fido, who perform an uptempo brand of reggaeton, have already seen their music used in cross-cultural campaigns.

In 2014, they were part of a TV spot for Sol Replic Deck for Radio Shack that also featured Lil’ Jon and Steve Aoki.

“It’s been a wonderful process,” says Wilson. “We had the idea to create a reggaeton version of the classic record ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing.’ We contacted the guys and they were totally down to do it since they are big MLB fans.”

“Si no tiene el swing” is available via Alexis & Fido’s app.

Perez Records ESPN Deportes’ Pan American Games Anthem “Respira El Momento”

René Perez is having a moment

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican singer and Calle 13 member, better known by his stage “Residente,” has recorded the track “Respira El Momento,ESPN Deportes’ anthem for the 2015 Pan American Games.

René Perez, Calle 13 Residente

The sports network premiered a promo video on Monday featuring Perez singing in New York’s Electric Lady studio, intercut with scenes of athletes training.

“Respira el Momento” is a track from the Grammy-winning 2014 album Multi_Viral, but it seems tailor-made for the international sporting event.

“It’s a song about life and about seizing the moment and the momentum to achieve something,” Pérez tells Billboard. “It seemed like the perfect song for the games.”

ESPN will broadcast over 270 hours of the Pan American Games in Spanish and English. Coverage will include the opening ceremonies, which have not been show on English-language television since the 1970s. ESPN has exclusive U.S. rights to the games.

Santa Brito, director of consumer marketing for ESPN Deportes, says that coverage of the 2015 Pan Am Games is a priority. The network is increasing its broadcast hours of the event on its Spanish and English-language stations after its coverage of the 2011 Games in Guadalajara received notably high ratings. The video promos featuring the music, the athletes, and Pérez himself, will be used in- and off-channel, across Pan Am programming and multiple platforms.

The Pan American Games have historically been crucial for athletes in Latin America, and a must-see event for audiences there, and by extension for U.S. Hispanics. The games were first held in Buenos Aires in 1951.

In preparation for the promo campaign, called “Yo Digo Presente,” ESPN Deportes crews traveled through the U.S. and Latin America interviewing athletes.

“There was a common theme,” Brito says. “In their training, the athletes were visualizing themselves in the Pan American games. They were breathing the moment.”

A lifelong baseball fan, Pérez grew up playing the game in a field across the street from his house in Puerto Rico. Last year, he drafted the great Willie Mays to appear in the clip for “Adentro,” another song from Multi_Viral.

“I thought I was going to be playing in the major leagues,” says the rapper, singer and songwriter, who currently lives in Brooklyn. “But in the end I had to decide between baseball and art. And I chose art.”

Herrera’s Got Game in His Next Big Project…

Mexican singer and actor Alfonso “Poncho” Herrera is preparing to bend it like Beckham on TV…

The 28-year-old former member of the Mexican pop group RBD will portray a professional soccer player seeking glory in the first original scripted series on Spanish-language sports cable network ESPN Deportes.

Alfonso Poncho Herrera

Entitled El Diez, the 10-episode series centers on Chava Espinoza, a young Mexican soccer player whose performance in the Under-20 World Cup makes him a star sought after by all of the world’s most important clubs.

“I played soccer since I was a little kid. I love soccer, and having to play this role is awesome,” says Herrera. “It’s a very realistic script and I truly believe nobody else has ever showed what’s behind the soccer industry the way El Diez does.”

The sports-themed novela will delve into Espinoza’s rise to fame—the highs and lows of being a superstar—and how he deals with the enormous burden of his fans’ expectations.

“In the story, Chava plays for a fictitious Mexican soccer team called Los Lobos del Atlético Nacional, but other than that all the stories showed in the episodes are completely real,” says series creator and producer Mauricio Quintana. “They show what happens inside the locker rooms and outside the field with the people that manage this incredibly profitable industry.”

The series—based on the real life experiences of former players, soccer team executives and sports journalists from Mexico, Spain and Argentina—will highlight issues like corruption, under-the-table negotiations and the invasion of privacy a soccer star faces.

“We show the audience all they want to see from the perspective of Latinos’ passion for soccer. There have been other movies that show the life of a soccer player in the British league or the league from Spain,” says Herrera. “But El Diez is completely made to give our audience what they want to see: Las Chivas, América teams and much more related to our Latino culture.”

The Spanish-language El Diez will be transmitted with English subtitles on Sundays at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN Deportes.