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Plainview's NeuLion in deal to live-stream World Cup in Spanish

Argentine soccer players, from left, Maxi Rodriguez, Ezequiel

Argentine soccer players, from left, Maxi Rodriguez, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Angel di Maria, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, run during a training session in Vespasiano, near Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on June 12, 2014. Credit: AP

A Plainview-based online video-streaming service is playing a role in making the World Cup more accessible to Spanish speakers in the United States.

NeuLion Inc. said Thursday it has partnered with Univision Deportes Network to provide its video-streaming platform for the Spanish-language sports channel's mobile app and online stream. That partnership will kick off with the digital live stream of the World Cup, which Univision Deportes has the exclusive rights to broadcast in Spanish in the United States, said NeuLion executive vice president Chris Wagner.

Wagner said the contract with Univision Deportes is multiyear, but he declined to disclose its value or exact length.

The Univision Deportes mobile app and online stream will be free for anyone in the United States. Once the Cup reaches the semifinals, viewers will have to sign in with their cable provider and verify that they have a Univision Deportes subscription.

ESPN and ABC own the English-language broadcast rights, and their mobile and online World Cup streams can be accessed by their cable TV subscribers.

It's unclear how many viewers will access Univision Deportes' video streams during the matchups, but for Mexico's World Cup qualifying match against New Zealand last November, Univision Deportes had 650,000 viewers on its digital platforms, Wagner said.

Shortly before noon Thursday NeuLion's employees at its Plainview operations center were gearing up to collect highlights and amass clips for the first match -- Brazil versus Croatia -- that afternoon, Wagner said. Viewers will be able to watch complete games and access clips and highlights from all 64 matches, which will be made immediately available on Univision Deportes' mobile app and website during the games.

NeuLion is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It employs more than 300 people worldwide, including 125 in its Plainview headquarters. Revenue at NeuLion was $47.1 million in 2013, and the company has a stock market value of $187.5 million. The company's stock price jumped 5 percent yesterday on news of the Univision Deportes partnership, closing at $1.08 in Toronto.

NeuLion co-founder and CEO Nancy Li and her husband, Charles Wang, NeuLion chairman, owner of the New York Islanders hockey team and founder and former CEO of CA Technologies Inc., own 43 percent of NeuLion's stock, according to the company's latest proxy statement.

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