Featuring proud soccer nations such as Mexico, Chile, Germany, Portugal and others, the 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup will be televised in the United States by both FOX Sports (English language) and Telemundo and Universo (Spanish language). But it’s the Spanish-language counterparts that are planning wall-to-wall coverage of this tournament, with plans to far exceed what their rival FOX Sports is planning.
In 2011, Telemundo secured Spanish-language FIFA World Cup rights for the 2018 and 2022 cycles beating incumbent Univision. It was a breakthrough for NBCUniversal, Telemundo’s parent company, whose previous effort to secure World Cup rights on the English-language side for the 2010 and 2014 were rebuffed in odd and somewhat suspicious circumstances. Telemundo has since had its FIFA deal extended to include the 2026 cycle.
NBCUniversal has been aggressive about marketing Telemundo’s FIFA rights to English-language audiences as was evidenced by the number of spots promoting the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup that were run during the later stages of the Premier League season on NBCSN, CNBC and over-the-air NBC toward the end of the Premier League season. This is partly a reflection of the legacy of Telemundo’s predecessor with these rights (Univision) as well as perhaps a sense that Premier League fans may be looking for other options beyond FOX Sports to watch summer tournaments.
The FIFA Confederations Cup, which begins this Saturday in Russia, will be covered in a wraparound fashion by Telemundo, with teams of broadcast crews on-site at every match in the competition unlike FOX Sports who are only sending the single team of John Strong and Stu Holden. Plus, the coverage will include the involvement of the Telemundo network’s other programming departments including entertainment and news. Univision did this as well in 2010 and 2014.
Executive Vice President of Telemundo Sports Eli Velazquez spoke exclusively with World Soccer Talk last week about the programming plans for this competition. Velazquez touted the ancillary programming that Telemundo will be presenting around the coverage of the matches. With a desire to present the tournament as comprehensively and objectively as possible, the programming will also create a context about the players and storylines to help promote the players and national teams competing. Telemundo will use a “heavy dose” of storytelling drawing on the network’s experiences in broadcasting the last four Summer Olympic games as part of the NBCUniversal family.