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Volume 21 No. 2
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Telemundo gets in shape for ’18 World Cup

Network expands efforts for Confederations Cup

The FIFA Confederations Cup was set to kick off in Russia last weekend.
Telemundo is hoping that FIFA’s Confederations Cup tournament this summer will set the stage for next year’s FIFA World Cup.

Telemundo, owned by NBCUniversal, outbid its chief rival, Univision, in 2011 for the U.S. Spanish-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as well as to a host of FIFA properties, including the Confederations Cup.

The Confederations Cup, which features the winners of the respective national tournaments from each regional confederation, was scheduled to begin last weekend in Russia.

“We realize this is the big launch of our brand covering FIFA’s most popular events,” said Eli Velazquez, executive vice president of programming, production and content at Telemundo Deportes. “Not only do we want to present this tournament in a way that people expect to see soccer on television, but we also want them to say, ‘Wow, this is something that they are taking very seriously.’”

Telemundo will have more than 150 reporters, producers and other staff members working on the Confederations Cup, the most significant commitment of resources to a soccer tournament that the network has made in its 33-year history, Velazquez said. It also marks the first time that coverage of all of the tournament’s matches will be produced live from the venue cities.

The network will air all of the matches live and stream them on its website and app. Because of the time difference in Russia, most matches will air live in the morning, and the network will reair them each night in prime time on Universo, NBCUniversal’s companion Spanish-language channel.

“Working with NBC Sports Group, we have seen how different time periods change how content is consumed,” Velazquez said. “The live games are very favorable from mobile and digital streaming, and we think holistically it provides us with the opportunity to have a full day of coverage when you consider the rest of the coverage each day.”

Telemundo will air pregame shows every morning and postgame shows after the last match of the day. It will air its signature studio show, “Titulares y Mas” each night, with host Karim Mendiburu reporting live from Russia. The network will also add a special late-night show that will feature analysis and commentary, as well as on-site reports from the cities. Telemundo and Universo news and entertainment programs will also broadcast live from Gorky Park in Moscow and other locations in Russia throughout the tournament.

Telemundo declined to comment on ad sales for the tournament, as it does not break down revenue projections by property.

The Confederations Cup does not have the stature of the World Cup, but Velazquez said the network thinks there is an opportunity for it to grow, given Mexico’s involvement in the tournament. The network has increased marketing efforts around the tournament, though it would not say how much more it is spending. Ad spots will run on other NBC-owned networks, even touting Telemundo’s Spanish-language coverage during English-language sporting events for the first time.

“It’s no secret we’ve been investing in this tournament, and we want to show viewers that this is something that is bigger and more special than they thought about in the past” said Velazquez, noting the hiring of sports television veteran Bill Bergofin as Telemundo’s senior vice president of brand and content development; and Anomaly, which works with brands like Budweiser, Coca-Cola and MLB, to handle its marketing strategy around the World Cup. “And with the World Cup on our air the subsequent summer, we want to leave them with a good view of what they can expect next year.”