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ESPN Brasil pulls live programming to protect employees

Brazilian pay-television broadcaster ESPN has ceased all live programming amid the Covid-19 pandemic, stating the wellbeing of its employees is behind the decision.

In what is the most extreme stance taken by any broadcaster in Brazil, ESPN’s schedules will be filled by repeats and special programming.

André Kfouri, a presenter for ESPN’s SportsCenter programme, said: Concerned about the wellbeing of its employees, ESPN Brasil decided to take a break from its live programming to minimise the effects of the situation as much as possible.

“We will do our part. Stay at home! Life and health are the priority and do not underestimate the situation. Take care of yourself, and take care of others too. Thank you for your understanding.”

ESPN’s stance comes after BandSports, the pay-television channel operated by Brazilian media group Bandeirantes, moved to become available via the internet amid a broader opening up of broadcast services in the country due to Covid-19.

As with other sports channels, BandSports’ schedule has been altered after the suspension of most sporting events with content offered to aid the dissemination of information about the virus. Brazil has registered 1,891 Covid-19 cases, with 34 deaths, its Health Ministry said yesterday (Monday).