The domestic Spanish-language broadcaster commits to making the biennial event bigger than ever
Univision Deportes won’t allow for a letdown.
Following last summer’s epic Copa America Centenario (for which its coverage of the Final won the network a 2017 Sports Emmy), it would be easy to see the 13th edition of the biennial CONCACAF Gold Cup as a bit of a step down in both scope and drama. Not in Univision’s eyes. Instead, what Copa America Centenario did was raise the bar for live coverage of a major international North American soccer tournament.
“Our plans this year for Gold Cup was to make it bigger,” says Miguel Angel Garcia, VP, live events, Univision Deportes.
As the event moves into the Knockout Stage this week, Univision is further bolstering its coverage by introducing its innovative “teleportation” studio technology, which brings players and coaches into the Univision Studios in Miami virtually. It’s a technology that the network has used on its Major League Soccer coverage, and Garcia hopes that getting to know more players more intimately will enable the network to tell a better story for more than just the biggest teams it covers, Mexico and the U.S.
“Last Gold Cup, we were following Mexico and the U.S. closely. Now the goal is to cover all of the teams,” says Garcia, who is working his fifth Gold Cup, the third with his current employer. “We have a big soccer event every summer, so it was very important for us to reflect [the size of this event]. We want to make these teams relevant to the audience and make the whole event bigger. For a lot of these countries, this is the biggest soccer stage they get to play on. We want to make sure the fans of those teams get that first-class coverage.”
Throughout the tournament, Univision has done just that with technology and personnel onsite at as many of the 25 matches as possible, further supplementing the world feed being provided by the event’s governing body, CONCACAF.
Univision Deportes is adding five or six cameras at every match, including a Steadicam for the field, a booth camera for its onsite announcers, and a camera for its onsite sideline reporter. At each site, Univision is deploying a team of about 30 people (10 full-timers and 20+ local freelancers) to make the production possible.