A new Miami facility, a strong presence in Red Square highlight a promising effort from Russia
Life is good at Telemundo these days. The network will finish calendar year 2017 as the top U.S. Spanish-language network in primetime for the first time in history. The sports division is fresh off a National Sports Emmy win (for its coverage of Copa America Centenario). The team is less than three months away from moving into the new $250 million Telemundo Center in Miami. And, this week, Telemundo Deportes rolled out its robust, multiplatform plan to deliver more than 1,500 hours of coverage from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
With the highly anticipated World Cup Draw set for tomorrow, here are four production, operation, and tech highlights to expect from Telemundo Deportes as it flies into Red Square on a high this summer.
1. A Shiny, New Miami Home
2018 promises to be a year to remember for the entire Telemundo network. The NBCUniversal-owned company will consolidate under one massive roof for the first time in its history with the opening of a state-of-the-art facility in Doral, FL.
And which will be the first division to move in after the ribbon-cutting in January? You guessed it: Telemundo Deportes. The 450,000-sq.-ft. facility in the Beacon Lakes district of Doral will be the new operations base for all Telemundo Deportes broadcasts and will obviously play a key role in the network’s coverage of the World Cup over next summer.
With the network taking in live game feeds from FIFA’s Host Broadcast Services and supplemental programming from various Telemundo operations across Russia, the Telemundo Center will serve as a nerve center where more staffing can help support the work being done on the other side of the world.
“We’re experiencing events in a more connected way than ever before, which allows us to leverage that kind of connectivity so that we can be, in real time, everywhere at once,” says Eli Velazquez, EVP, programming production and content, Telemundo Deportes. “Telemundo Media Center will have state-of-the-art, somewhat future-proof technology that we will be able to leverage not only to complement the coverage of our own matches but for our supporting program as well. So we’ll look to leverage the fact that we have done a lot in advancing our latency component to ensure that augmented reality and our set designs and virtual components will be leveraged in a way that’s never been seen before during our coverage.”
2. Setting Up Shop in Red Square
Telemundo will also have a tremendous presence across Russia with a set in iconic Red Square as the programming home for the network. It will host its pre- and post-match coverage from an impressive studio set in Red Square and will deliver other daytime programming and even news programs from sets in the historic locale.
Naturally, the network will also have operations resources and support studios at the International Broadcast Center (IBC) elsewhere in Moscow. In addition, Telemundo has committed to providing onsite commentators at many of the 64 matches of the tournament, with dedicated crews following teams with high interest for the Hispanic audience.
3. At-Home Workflows Supplement Sizable Onsite Effort
NBCUniversal aggressively uses at-home workflows during coverage of the Olympic Games, and Telemundo has been a leader in the U.S. in at-home soccer production, thanks to its work with Major League Soccer. So it’s not surprising that Telemundo will leverage significant at-home workflows tied in with the Telemundo Center in Miami.
“[We will lean on staffing in] Russia for obvious reasons because of the nature of the event here and the fact that it’s in the largest country in the world in 11 cities,” says Velazquez. “We plan on utilizing Telemundo to send back dedicated feeds from Russia so that our programming grid throughout the day can take advantage of those resources in real time and at a moment’s notice. We will be actively utilizing Telemundo Center to supplement everything we need to do in Russia.”
According to Velazquez, the full workforce should be split, with approximately 65% in Russia and the remaining 35% in Miami.
4. Digital Efforts To Be Highlighted by First-of-Its-Kind VR Offering
While live coverage of all 64 matches and 500 total hours of content airing on linear television (between Telemundo and Universo), Telemundo Deportes digital and social platforms will churn out more than 1,000 hours of its own content, thanks to a robust plan laid out by VP, Digital, Joaquin Duro and his team.
The network also plans to deliver, for the first time ever, a full-service virtual-reality app that will place users in a VIP-suite environment. Within the VR experience, viewers will be able to experience a wide form of content pieces, including full VR, 180° and 360° short-form videos, and near-live multi-angle clips.
Beginning with Friday’s Draw, Telemundo is also planning a strong social-media effort, with content planned for all the major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. On Friday, the network will be live on Facebook with reaction coverage of selection of the groups for the 2018 tournament.
“There will be a real significant push to make sure that we’re connecting with folks socially during our coverage,” says Velazquez.
Digital efforts also include (authenticated) live-stream availability of all matches via the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, TelemundoDeportes.com, and connected-TV devices like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire.