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Fox Sports plays in Mexico

Cinepolis brings sports channel's content to bigscreen

Mexico’s top exhib Cinepolis has inked with Fox Sports to bring the sports channel’s Spanish-language content to the bigscreen.

Keying into Mexico’s mega soccer fan demo, the pact kicks off Feb. 14 with a UEFA Champions League match between Milan and Manchester United, which Cinepolis plans to screen in 45 multiplexes and 31 cities at an average ticket price of 60 pesos ($4.60).

Cinepolis has lined up 13 or 14 games in the coming months with a planned expansion to 80 plexes in 48 cities and from 16,000 seats to 24,000 seats per game. The first matches will be shown in standard definition with plans to upgrade to HD in the next three or four months.

After soccer, Cinepolis’ exhib veep Luis Villavicencio said exhib wanted to unspool a variety of sports, including U.S. basketball, professional wrestling, the Olympic Games and car racing — with beer on tap in select theaters.

Cinepolis plans to begin screenings within two or three months in its VIP theaters, where viewers have access to amenities such as a full bar and sushi for a few pesos more.

The exec said consumer demand will drive every phase of expansion as the company transforms itself from a “film exhibitor” into an “entertainment exhibitor” with a wide variety of live events on the docket. Entering the deal as the fourth largest exhibitor in the world, Cinepolis has 2,215 screens and over 422,000 seats in six countries.

Three-year deal covers Mexico for now, but Fox Sports regional marketing veep Erik Baeza and Villanvicencio have plans to expand into other territories.

Baeza added the deal follows on the heals of the preem of the Fox Sports Plus channel on Monday.

Fox Sports plans to cross-promote with Cinepolis, making schedules and tickets available on both companies’ websites.

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