This summer, I’ve watched more soccer on Univision Deportes than ever before. During previous World Cup tournaments, I would have watched 100% of the World Cup on ESPN and ABC, but as my thirst for soccer has increased, so too has my disillusionment with ESPN’s overall coverage of the tournament.
It’s not that ESPN’s coverage is poor. Quite opposite, in fact. However, while they’ve done an above average job of covering the World Cup, Univision’s excellent coverage of the same tournament has exposed several weaknesses in ESPN’s strategy.
But rather than dwell on ESPN, here are my 7 reasons why you should watch the World Cup on Univision:
1. Soccer is the number one priority.
When you switch on Univision, you know that soccer is their number one priority. Whether it’s the in-game World Cup experience, pre-match coverage or World Cup discussion on their morning chat shows, nothing is bigger than the World Cup. Unlike ESPN, they’re not leading their hourly coverage about news regarding a basketball player, Wimbledon tennis or spending their weekend mornings talking about OJ Simpson’s highway chase from 20 years ago.
There’s a huge difference in the atmosphere when you flip between Univision and ESPN. At times, ESPN can be quite reserved and quiet, whether it’s during the in-match commentary or post-game analysis. But turn the channel to Univision, and you’ll hear much more excitement and passion in their voices. Their commentaries and goal calls are legendary. But that level of excitement carries through to all of its programming, whether you can understand the Spanish language or not.
3. Sound quality.
The crowd noise for a World Cup game is better than the same game on ESPN. If you don’t believe me, try it. Flip back and forth between the channels and you’ll notice the difference. The increased crowd noise adds to an improved atmosphere and listening experience.
4. Time matters.
When you flip back and forth between Univision and ESPN, you’ll notice another big difference. Every World Cup game televised live around the world is shown on a slight delay — usually about six seconds. But I’ve noticed on several occasions that ESPN has a delay of approximately 1-2 seconds more than Univision. So if you’re watching a game on Univision, you’ll typically see the ball hit the back of the net 1-2 seconds faster than your neighbor next door. In a big match such as your favorite team or a final, that can make a huge difference.
One of the greatest advantages of watching the World Cup on Univision is that every single game is being shown live across free-to-air television. You don’t need a cable or satellite subscription. You can watch the games via your local Univision affiliate. For cord cutters, this is an enormous advantage.
6. No authentication required.
Another plus for World Cup soccer fans is that you can watch all of the World Cup games for free online without authentication (up until the quarter-finals when authentication will be required). If you want to watch the same games on WatchESPN.com, you have to authenticate — which means you need to prove online that you have a TV subscription to ESPN or ESPN2.
Univision also offers a World Cup app for smart phones and tablets so you can watch the World Cup games without authentication unlike ESPN’s WatchESPN app. For Univision, this will be up to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
7. Ease of use.
Perhaps one of the most convenient things to remember about Univision is that you only have one channel to remember. You don’t need to turn to the TV guide every day to figure out whether games will be on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, or whether ESPN’s Last Call is on ESPNEWS, ESPN2, ESPN, etc. Turn to Univision and you’ll find all of the World Cup games there.