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Football player, Mexican sportscaster prepare for first-ever Spanish broadcast of Grey Cup

Spanish-language broadcast of Grey Cup
WATCH ABOVE: A football player and a Mexican sportscaster will make history on Sunday by being the first-ever Spanish commentators for the Grey Cup. Julia Wong reports.

Canadian fans won’t be the only ones enjoying the Grey Cup on Sunday. For the first time ever, there will be a Spanish-language broadcast of the game for viewers in Mexico.

Mexican sportscaster Aaron Soriano will provide the play-by-play and Frank Beltre, a Toronto Argonauts player, will provide analysis and commentary.

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“Football is the second sport [after soccer] in all [of] Mexico,” Soriano said when asked about the country’s interest in the Canadian league.

“The CFL is different. The rules are different but the plot is the same.”

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Soriano, whose visit to Canada for the Grey Cup is his first-ever visit to the Great White North, said he is excited about Sunday’s broadcast.

“It’s a passion, play-by-play in…football. It’s my passion and it’s my first time here in the stadium in CFL and it’s great,” Soriano said.

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The long-time sportscaster will be leaning on Beltre during the broadcast to provide colour and insight into the players.

Beltre was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and moved to the United States when he was 11 years old.

The Argonaut was tapped for the job because he is the only fluent Spanish speaker in the entire league.

“They gave me a call. I couldn’t turn it down,” he said.

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Beltre, who studied up on the players Friday night, said he isn’t intimidated that his first time doing sports commentary will be for the biggest game in Canadian football.

“Spanish is my language. It’s my language of origin,” he said.

“I love a challenge. I play football. When you play football, you like big moments. I’m pretty sure every single one of these guys want to make big plays tomorrow.”

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Beltre said one of the biggest challenges was getting a grasp on football jargon for Sunday’s game.

“I learned football in English. So, for example, a tackle in Spanish, there’s no such word.”

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The pair, who will be announcing the game alongside French and English commentators, have a certain chemistry.

“[Soriano] is definitely going to do 60 [per cent of the work]. I’m definitely going to do 40 [per cent] but like, a really good 40 per cent,” Beltre said with a laugh.

“He’s my main guy. He helps me out. I feel good. I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t want to do it.”

The Spanish-language broadcast is part of an initiative to bring the CFL down south.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie signed a letter of intent Friday with the Liga de Futbol Americano, an eight-team Mexican semi-pro American spring football circuit.

The league president Oscar Perez attended the commissioner’s annual Grey Cup address Friday.

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The letter of intent is not a binding contract but paves the way for the two leagues to increase co-operation, share resources, and jointly plan such events as a CFL scouting combine in Mexico this winter.

By signing the letter, Ambrosie said the prospect of staging a regular-season CFL game in Mexico City next year will take a big step towards becoming a reality. And for now, Ambrosie said he’s setting his sights on staging one game there in 2019.

The 106th Grey Cup between the Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders starts Sunday at 4 p.m. MT. It is available in Spanish on ESPN Play.

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– With files from the Canadian Press