Telemundo: The key to covering major sporting events is parallel planning

April 10, 2024

Maribel Ramos-Weiner

For more than a year, Eli Velázquez has managed to learn a lot and meet all the challenge

For more than a year, Eli Velázquez has been the EVP of Sports at Telemundo and has over two decades in that area of the company. He said that in that position, they have managed to learn a lot and meet all the challenges, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which “was a tough job,” and seven months later, the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in addition to the Clásico Chivas de Guadalajara vs. America and the Premier League.

“We had great success in terms of execution and the audience. We saw that they are responding to what we are providing as a service,” said Velázquez.

Velázquez referred to Nielsen figures regarding the Mexican Classic (Chivas vs. América), held on March 16, which measured an audience of 1.7 million on all platforms. (1.3 million on linear TV on Telemundo). Digital audience per minute increased by 52% compared to last year (160,000). Locally in the US, the game was the first on its schedule, regardless of the language in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, and Sacramento.

Velázquez noted that parallel planning is the trademark of Telemundo’s major sports events preparation.

“What always characterizes us in terms of preparation for the execution of these huge events is that we prepare them in parallel. When we were talking about the 2022 Men’s World Cup, we were already planning the Women’s World Cup, while during the Women’s World Cup, we were planning the 2026 World Cup. We have been working on our proposal and vision for 2026 for a long time, and we will be surprising many people with that plan,” he said.

Regarding the 2024 Olympic Games that Telemundo will broadcast starting July 26, Velázquez said that they are working with NBC Olympics to have the best coverage in Spanish, more hours than before, most of which will be broadcast by Telemundo and Universo. “We are looking for a way to provide more soccer-related content. On this occasion, we prioritize the men’s and the women’s games based on the growth of women’s sports.”

Also, for the first time, they will offer live the opening ceremony that will take place on the Seine River. “We are very excited working hard every day to ensure that it is the coverage that the Telemundo Deportes audience expects, to entertain them and make them feel as if they were with us in Paris,” he said.

He mentioned that they will use technologies such as liveU, augmented reality (AR), and the virtual studios of the Telemundo Center during the coverage of Paris 2024.

Velázquez said that at the corporate level, they have had many internal conversations to see how they can turn the 2026 World Cup “into a great event not only for Telemundo, but for the entire company -Comcast and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises-, taking advantage of the fact that The Soccer World Cup will take place in our country, and also because it will be the biggest World Cup ever in history: with more games, cities, and countries. It is a difficult but nice challenge, and we always face it positively to create something special and innovative to provide something that people have never seen before.”

He added that they intend to offer the best experience. “The best World Cup they have seen in the history of World Cups. That is why we think that we are the best partners of  FIFA in terms of this product because we take care of it, we feel it, we are passionate about sports, but also passionate about the goal of FIFA and Telemundo Deportes, which is to grow in sports in this country, particularly in soccer.”

He noted that it will be easier to plan the event since FIFA opened offices in Miami.