Univision Deportes’ Rodriguez: Copa América Centenario Will Beat the World Cup
Univision Deportes netted its best-ever ratings performance with the 2014 FIFA World Cup from Brazil. But Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodriguez, speaking during Univision Communications’ upfront presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, declared that next year’s Copa América Centenario “will be bigger than the World Cup.”
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the South American Copa América event, next year’s tourney will include not only the 10 CONMEBOL nations but six from CONCACAF, notably Mexico and the U.S. and will play out on American soil for the first time, June 3-26.
“You don’t want to miss this,” said Rodriguez, “unless you want to wait another 100 years.”
With the 10 South American sides, notably powerhouses Argentina and Brazil, and the CONCACAF entries, which also include Costa Rica and Jamaica and two that will qualify via this year’s Gold Cup, the tourney will be of keen interest to Univision’s Latino audience, according to Rodriguez.
He predicted that the 32-match event will become the “most-watched tournament in the history of Spanish-language television” in the U.S. and that 2016 will be Univision Deportes’ “biggest year ever.”
That year will feature the initial Campeon de Campeones meeting between the winners of the Apertura and Clausara seasons of Mexico’s top soccer circuit, Liga MX, in August.
In the interim, Univision Deportes will revamp its Website featuring live competition, stats, and social segments. It will also launch UD Fantasy, a platform taking aim at 41 million fanaticos and scheduled to debut in July in concert with the start of the Apertura season of Liga MX.
The initial Campeon de Campeones meeting between the winners of Liga MX’s Apertura (America) and Clausara (decided in the weeks ahead) campaigns is slated for July 20.
Univision Deportes continues to serve up most of the coverage from what is North America’s most-viewed soccer league. Officials say LigaMX surpasses the audiences for the UK’s top soccer platform, Barclays Premier League, as well as the National Hockey League.
Rodriguez’s pitch to advertisers also focused on what will be the second iteration of Univision’s sports-awards show. Honoring the sports and players favored by Latinos, the sophomore edition of Premios Univision Deportes will be simulcast on the flagship Univision broadcast network and Univision Deportes Network (UDN).
The dedicated sports service reaches more than 50 million subscribers via deals with the nation’s top 10 distributors. Univision’s de facto 24-hour home for the 2014 World Cup, UDN televises not only Liga MX but action from Major League Soccer and the Copa MX and CONCACAF Champions League circuits. It also offers Formula 1 racing and boxing coverage, while tracking the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Audience figures for Univision Deportes coverage of the 2014 World Cup were headed by the 10.4 million who watched The Netherlands beat Mexico in a round-of-16 match and 9.2 million for Germany’s victory over Argentina in the championship final.
All told, Univision Deportes set ratings marks for every round, averaging 3.5 million viewers for the entire 64-match tourney. The 2014 World Cup outdelivered the 2010 edition from South Africa by 34% among total viewers, 21% among adults 18-49, and 40% among persons 2-17, according to Nielsen data.