May 30, 2014
By Todd Spangler
Univision Communications will feed the futbol frenzy for the FIFA World Cup this summer, with plans that include dedicating the Univision Deportes Network to 24-hour coverage of the world’s biggest sporting event and live-streaming all 64 matches on mobile apps and online.
Disney/ESPN and Univision have split up U.S. broadcast rights for the Brazil-hosted World Cup, which runs from June 12 to July 13, 2014. Univision has exclusive rights to Spanish-language telecasts in the States; Disney has English-language rights for broadcasts it will carry across ABC, ESPN and other properties including digital platforms, plus Portuguese and select matches in Korean.
Univision Deportes Network (UDN), which launched in 2012 and is available in 40 million homes, will deliver more 2014 World Cup content than any other U.S. network, including 56 live matches (which will be simulcast on the flagship Univision Network). UDN’s programming will be focused exclusively on the World Cup around the clock starting Monday, June 9, for the duration of the event.
Futbol fans also will be able to watch the World Cup’s 64 matches live on the recently launched Univision Deportes App — available for PCs and iOS and Android smartphones and tablets — as well as view highlights and other content, receive personalized alerts, and access match schedules, results and other content.
But to watch the World Cup’s final rounds on Univision’s digital outlets, viewers will have to subscribe to a pay-TV provider that carries UDN. The sports net is not available on Comcast — and Univision has set up a web page urging subs to contact the MSO to add it. Providers that carry UDN include DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox, AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS.
Via the Univision Deportes App, the first two rounds of World Cup action will be available free for anyone to watch. Starting July 4 with the quarterfinals through the July 13 final, users must log in using credentials from their pay-TV provider. ESPN’s live-streaming of the 64 World Cup matches online and on mobile will also require subs to authenticate their pay-TV subscription.
“We couldn’t be more excited about our World Cup coverage and the incredible access it will provide to millions of soccer fanatics in the U.S., allowing them to not only watch every game live on any platform they choose but also get a firsthand, behind-the-scenes look inside the lively atmosphere and excitement unfolding in one of the world’s most soccer-loving countries,” Univision Deportes president Juan Carlos Rodríguez said.
In addition to live broadcasts, UDN will present World Cup specials, new morning and nighttime shows devoted to the FIFA World Cup, and daily special editions of the network’s regular sports commentary programs, airing live from three set locations in Rio de Janeiro. UDN will have original and/or live programming for 17 consecutive hours a day, from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern.
Univision is sending a crew of more than 150 to Brazil, with a team of announcers and commentators including Enrique “El Perro” Bermúdez, Félix “El Gato” Fernández, Jesús “El Profe” Bracamontes and Luis Omar Tapia.
Univision’s broadcast network UniMás and Spanish-language cabler Galavisión will air eight live games and special programming during the monthlong tournament, with the remaining 56 on UDN. In addition, Galavisión will rebroadcast the best match of the day in primetime in a 60-minute format.