Live From Super Bowl LVI: Telemundo Deportes Brings Latin Flavor to Its First Over-the-Air Broadcast of the Big Game
The network will have four sets at SoFi Stadium, one at nearby Plaza México
Whether it was the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the current Winter Olympics in Beijing, or Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI, it’s a great time to be a part of the NBCUniversal family. With positive momentum over the past four months, Telemundo Deportes is joining in on the football fun with the network’s first over-the-air broadcast of the Super Bowl on Telemundo and Universo and has a large studio footprint throughout the city.
“This will be the first Super Bowl that is widely distributed, and we’re immensely proud of that,” says Eli Velazquez, EVP, sports content, Telemundo Deportes. “This is a win-win for both of our companies because we can push each other to figure out ways that’ll enhance the viewing experience.”
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Years in the Making: Collaboration Spurs Greater Involvement in Super Bowl LVI
In previous iterations of the Super Bowl, Telemundo Deportes covered the NFL’s biggest game of the season but at a much decreased scale. During the last championship game on NBC airwaves, Super Bowl LII in 2018, the Spanish-language network provided a presentation of the game on Telemundo Deportes with onsite commentators in the booth and studio shows at its facility in Miami. Gradually, the idea of extending Telemundo’s presence at tentpole events came more into focus.
“The 2004 Summer Games in Athens was the first Olympics that [Telemundo and Universo] did together,” says Velazquez. “Over time, the footprint for us has grown. When you get to know someone in a new relationship, you have to gain trust, understand what one team brings to the other team, and how to make each other better. Little by little, we’ve become a bit more integrated.”
This relationship has now flourished and turned into a massive undertaking for Velazquez and his team of 50 onsite staffers. On the linear channels of Telemundo and Universo, Carlos Mauricio Ramírez, sports anchor, NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48, will be on the call; former George Mason University tight end Jorge Andres will provide game analysis along with former Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Rolando Cantú.
In addition to the onsite crew, more than 30 employees will be handling the real-time cutting of the broadcast from a PCR in Telemundo’s Miami facility. Led by Telemundo VP, Sports Content, Robert Pardo, the production crew will be tapping into all of the camera feeds used by NBC Sports Sunday Night Football director Drew Esocoff and producer Fred Gaudelli. For additional creative control, the team will have six unilateral cameras inside SoFi Stadium.
“To make [the broadcast] customizable to the community that we’re serving, I have to have the flexibility of breaking off the feed to do other things,” says Velazquez. “For example, we can cut away when [Esocoff and Gaudelli] show [onfield reporter] Michele Tafoya, call-outs that are specific to NBC programming, or certain animations that we’re not focused on.”
In addition to the six dedicated cameras, Telemundo will also have three handheld cameras roaming the field during pregame and will be linked to the compound via two LiveU packs.
Studio Space: Emphasis on the Local Hispanic Community
Alongside NBC’s physical sets in and around SoFi Stadium, Telemundo Deportes will also have its own sets within Hollywood Park. At the main set on the concourse level, near the desk of Football Night in America, Miguel Gurwitz will host, joined by Ana Jurka, Karim Mendiburu and Cantú. A little farther from the lower bowl, in the atrium area, another set will house studio coverage, and even farther away, near the lake, a Telemundo desk will sit next to NBC’s lakeside set. Ariana Figuera will be reporting from the field in her own dedicated area.
Since Sunday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals will be making history on Telemundo, it’s only fitting to celebrate the accomplishment with a party. Three hours before the pregame show, Telemundo Deportes will take over Plaza México — a local area of retailers and restaurants situated 11 miles east of the venue — for Fiesta del Super Bowl LVI, En Casa Con Telemundo from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET. As Carlos Adyan and Alix Aspe report live from Plaza México, with Jorge Bernal in Miami, the three-hour special will feature musical performances by Hispanic headliners Elvis Crespo and Gente de Zona. The open-air plaza is inspired by Mexican-style architecture and features a replica of the Angel of Independence statue found in downtown Mexico City. The backdrop will set the tone for what the network is trying to accomplish: bringing Latin flavor to a domestic audience while showcasing the city’s predominantly Hispanic demographic.
“The real goal is to speak to the Hispanic community, regardless of where you’re from,” says Velazquez. “It’s all about being strategic around creating an audience, and we can do that with these musical performances, leaning into the local community, doubling down on culture, and sprinkling in all the great stuff you’re about to see.”
From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., the festivities will shift to the onsite sets at SoFi Stadium for the pregame show before kickoff at 6:30 p.m. After the conclusion of the game, the network’s late-night sports-news and entertainment show Zona Mixta will be produced at 11:30 p.m. from the main set with SoFi Stadium as backdrop.
Equal Representation: Telemundo Deportes, NBC Sports Highlight Hispanic Voices
Overall, a heightened sense of corporate synergy is mutually beneficial for both parties. As an added bonus, this new push between Telemundo and NBC is allowing viewers to understand important messaging disseminated from the NFL. For instance, the league’s “Por La Cultura” initiative is highlighting Hispanic voices and leaders at the local and national levels. Internally, this idea of existing on the same platform will be seen at other marquee productions on the NBC Sports calendar, including the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend, tournaments on the PGA TOUR schedule, and weekly Premier League matches. This co-branded push will eventually pay off in November during Telemundo’s Spanish-language coverage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
With these likeminded goals between the two networks under the NBCUniversal umbrella, and the importance of increased Hispanic representation at high-profile sports events, Super Bowl LVI is a good place to start.
“It has become a very supportive environment,” notes Velazquez. “We all want each other to succeed. They want us to present the same level of quality that they present to their audience, so we want to be authentic and genuine in way that speaks to the experience of the Latino culture.”