Spanish-language sports programming expands its presence starting Friday with the launch of a new radio station in New York and an online platform for transmitting sports events live, both part of the ESPN network.

One of these projects - ESPN Deportes Radio - will be the only station in New York offering sports programming in Spanish 24 hours a day, so that "Latino fans can sound off about their passion in their own language," General Manager Oscar Ramos told Efe.

The radio station joins 45 others around the country to form the only network specializing in sports reporting and commentary entirely in Spanish and which can now reach 80 percent of the U.S. Latino population.

Programming for the new radio station will include 300 hours per year of sports events live, as well as news and discussion programs "so all the ardent fans can express themselves, because if you can't it's very frustrating," Ramos said.

He said that this element of interaction is what will chiefly contribute to its success, since "the discussion, the participation, being able to spill your feelings is wonderful on subjects as controversial as sports."

Ramos said the station will focus on local teams, like the NFL's New York Jets, with which it has signed an agreement to cover all its games for the next three seasons, but it will also put special emphasis on sports in the countries of origin of its Hispanic listeners.

"At the same time we'll give a lot of attention to European soccer, because it has grown enormously. It's incredible. A lot of people who never liked soccer are fans today because of the success of Real Madrid and Barcelona," Ramos said, adding that they will also cover other sports such as baseball.

The other novelty that ESPN debuts Friday is the digital platform ESPN Deportes+, calculated to reach 7.7 million Spanish-speakers in the United States with more than 200 exclusive sports events live over multiple platforms like computers, tablets and cell phones.

"This fantastic digital expansion strengthens our position as the Spanish-language sports destination for fans on the best screen they have available, and is an extension of our television channel, allowing us to offer more live programming," the general manager of ESPN Deportes, Lino Garcia, said.

Among events to be aired on this platform are World Cup soccer qualifiers plus baseball, basketball and American football championships. EFE