Nico Cantor interview: Paving his way to success as a soccer commentator

Nicolas “Nico” Cantor, the son of the most famous soccer television announcer in the United States regardless of language, was hired by Univision Deportes in January 2017 as as the English-language play-by-play voice of Liga MX matches on the Univision Deportes Facebook page and Major League Soccer (MLS) matches on the Second Audio Program (SAP) of Univision Deportes Network (UDN).

Nico’s father, legendary Argentine sportscaster Andrés Cantor, was at the right place at the right time when he called all 52 FIFA World Cup USA 1994 matches in Spanish for Univision Network in the United States.

Millions of English-speaking sports television viewers in the U.S. who were dissatisfied with the telecasts on ABC Sports and ESPN (which assigned Roger Twibell to the #1 commentary team, ahead of both Ian Darke and Bob Ley) switched to Univision, which mastered the art of producing soccer television in the U.S. market to connect with and retain young male viewers (ages 12-25 and 18-34) over 30 years ago by combining the right amounts of information, passion, and fun. Univision Deportes has continuously refined its sports television products over the years without ever allowing its products to go stale.

Andrés Cantor left Univision in 2000 and crossed over to NBC Sports, where he called men’s and women’s soccer matches in English during the Sydney 2000 Olympics (with Alexi Lalas and Amy Allmann Griffin as co-commentators).

Andrés Cantor landed at Telemundo Deportes in 2001, where he has been calling soccer matches and anchoring Olympic coverage in Spanish ever since (Telemundo was acquired by NBCUniversal in late 2001 and started Spanish-language Olympic coverage in 2004.)

Nico is a first-generation American who was born in Miami, Florida 23 years ago. He attended New York University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Romance Languages in May 2016.

World Soccer Talk had an opportunity to speak with Nico Cantor over a variety of topics before he departed for Russia for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

World Soccer Talk: How did you land your opportunity to broadcast MLS and Liga MX matches in English for Univision Deportes?

Nico Cantor: Right after college, I started working with my dad’s radio company Fútbol de Primera (Radio), which had the rights to World Cup, Copa América, (CONCACAF) Gold Cup. The years before, every summer with my dad, I would get good opportunities broadcasting Gold Cups, doing sideline reporting. I had the chance to do mixed zone flash interviews. With each tournament, my responsibilities would get more important. After I graduated college, my father gave me a chance to broadcast soccer on the radio, in Spanish, together him during the Copa América Centenario Final. That was a very huge moment for me. After that summer, I stayed on the radio through December, on the daily soccer debate show Mondays through Fridays. I used that platform to catapult me into other mediums. I was learning from the best, the art of broadcasting soccer, in both languages. I have the best teacher, as I can learn anything I can from a legend of Spanish-language soccer broadcasting. I pick my dad’s brain all the time, and he loves helping me out. It is tough, constructive criticism, but it is the best. I take it as it is, because he wants to help me grow as much as I can. After that, I applied to a bunch of places. I landed the job at Univision and then they told me specifically that they want me to broadcast in English.

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