In the first announced acquisition of Tribeca 2009, ESPN said it had taken TV rights for its ESPN Films division to the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival selection The Lost Son Of Havana, set to get its world premiere on Thursday evening [April 23].

Jonathan Hock’s documentary takes an unprecedented look at former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians baseball pitcher Luis Tiant’s emotional return to Cuba after 46 years in exile. Bobby and Peter Farrelly produced with Kris Meyer.

English and Spanish-language versions of The Lost Son Of Havana will be televised in August on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, with additional details forthcoming. ESPN negotiated the deal with CAA on behalf of the film-makers.

ESPN senior vice president of content development and enterprises Keith Clinkscales said the company “could not have selected a more captivating story for our first Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival acquisition.”

Hock issued a veiled call for wider recognition of Tiant’s achievements in the game when he said: “Though Luis never won a World Series and isn’t in the Hall Of Fame yet, I think ESPN’s viewers will see what a champion Luis truly is.”

The Tribeca Film Festival opened on Wednesday night [April 22] with the world premiere of Woody Allen’s comedy Whatever Works starring Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood and Patricia Clarkson. Sony Pictures Classics holds North American rights.