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ESPN Renews Rights with WSL and Maintains Exclusivity for Surf League on Pay TV

ESPN Brazil and the World Surf League (WSL) have reached an agreement to renew the rights for the surf tournaments promoted by the organization during the next two years. The new contract preserves the exclusivity of the League's events on pay TV for ESPN in Brazilian market, in addition to allowing the broadcast of content on the internet via the WatchESPN platform.

Mick Fanning  on the Gold Coast Mick Fanning WSL / Ed Sloane

The recently-signed contract includes all men's and women's WSL Championship Tour (CT) events as well as the WSL's Big Wave Tour (BWT) events. The 2018 WSL CT season also includes an event at the world-famous Surf Ranch facility with the best man-made wave in history, a significant innovation in the schedule for the upcoming season.

With a tradition of covering surfing since it was founded more than 25 years ago, ESPN Brazil has been live broadcasting all the stages of the WSL Tour for multiple years. The elite 2018 WSL Championship Tour will commence on March 11 with the Gold Coast stage in Australia and will close on December 20 with the Pipe Masters in Hawaii.

"Sports fans in Brazil have always felt an affinity for radical sports, and broadcasting these disciplines is the very lifeblood of ESPN. It is gratifying to expand our relationship of almost a decade with the WSL and make available to Brazilian fans the best surfing in the world," says Carlos Maluf, Manager of Acquisitions, Programming and New Business for ESPN in Brazil.

Filipe Toledo of Brazil being interviewed after surfing at the Future Classic in Lemoore, CA, USA Big Screen at the Surf Ranch WSL / Kenneth Morris

"We are excited to continue our partnership with ESPN and deliver the world's best surfing to our Brazilian fans," says Joe Carr, Chief Strategy Officer of the WSL. "Brazil is home to a number of our CT and BWT athletes and that talent will be on full display throughout the season and at our inaugural WSL Founders' Cup event in May."

The male surfing elite will include 11 Brazilian surfers out of a total of 34 athletes who will be disputing the title, with Brazil being the country entering the largest group of representatives. They are: Adriano de Souza, Caio Ibelli, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Ian Gouveia, Ítalo Ferreira, Jessé Mendes, Michael Rodrigues, Tomas Hermes, Willian Cardoso, and Yago Dora. In the women's division, the Brazilian Silvana Lima will be the country's representative among the 17 competitors in the elite of female surfers.

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