The Hollywood effect on Wrexham AFC will see the Welsh soccer club make its linear ESPN debut.
On Saturday, Wrexham’s FA Cup Qualifier against Blyth Spartans AFC will be broadcast on ESPN2 — the first time the Worldwide Leader has carried an FA Cup fourth-round qualifying match on its platforms in the U.S.
New Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds of course played a role in this media milestone for the world’s third-oldest professional soccer club.
“Welcome to Wrexham” — the actors’ docuseries about owning the club — is broadcast on FX and streams on Hulu, which are both owned by ESPN parent company, Disney.
“Wrexham is a unique, compelling story within soccer,” Disney said in a statement to Front Office Sports. “The timing of this match gave us an interesting opportunity to extend the way our company is telling that story, expand the overall audience, and help create new fans for both the FA Cup, Wrexham AFC, and ‘Welcome to Wrexham.’”
Normally, teams in the fifth tier and below of English football — as both of these clubs are — could not justify a Saturday morning spot on linear ESPN. But Wrexham’s debut on the network provides a level of synergy for the media behemoth.
“‘Welcome To Wrexham’ has gained, and created, new fans for the team in the U.S. — where most people have never even seen them play a full match, but now they will be able to,” said Disney’s President of Networks Debra O’Connell. “It is exciting to be able to deliver that kind of full circle experience for our viewers.”