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Fox Deportes Makes ‘Central Fox’ a New Focal Point

For its third birthday, Fox Deportes’s signature in-studio sports news program got a facelift.

Central Fox relaunched at noon (ET) Feb. 2, boasting a new logo  and situated in a new state-of-the-art studio in Mexico City.

Ahead of the relaunch, journalists from the U.S. got a pre-show tour of the set and met with the talent from Central Fox’s three daily installments. Fox Deportes emphasized that it had left its talent roster intact: Pilar Perez and Oscar Guzman host the first and second editions of Central Fox, while Marion Reimers and Jose Pablo Coello host the evening edition.

“There was no change in talent because we have had signature talent that has worked for us since day one,” Los Angeles-based Carlos Sanchez, Fox Deportes’s executive VP/GM, said in a phone interview. “They are tried-and-true hosts, and users know and trust them.”

Instead, the relaunch, including the studio upgrade and branding refresh, was content-driven, he said, as the network aims “to continue to provide our viewers with the best product,” Sanchez said. “After three years, it was time to improve the product. “

A 3,000 square-foot studio space was available, providing a significant step up in size and capability from Central Fox’s previous space. A multidimensional display wall features 12 televisions, while a two-way monitor wall allows the host to interact with displayed content.

The relaunch also includes the use of new on-screen graphics packages to display updates from La Ultima Palabra, the network’s other high-profile studio show, along with select plays of the week and a signature “goal of the week” culled from soccer matches across the globe. A Wall Street-style real-time sports ticker will continuously scroll around the main anchor desk, and another infographics package will enable Central Fox to display player stats and social-media updates and to cross-promote network programming.

Sanchez said the upgrades are wholly independent of any upgrades or changes that may be happening with Fox’s U.S.-based English-language sports networks.

“These changes are based on the U.S. Hispanic competitive landscape, and the importance of having to evolve to continue to bring audiences the best sports news,” he said. “La Ultima Palabra, our debate and talk-style studio show, also made some changes, so now our top two shows have a fresh look.”

Meanwhile, Fox Deportes is in the middle of a soft launch of Fox Deportes en Vivo, a new studio show produced stateside. Sanchez was quick to note that the show is produced on the road wherever a major global sporting event is held.

Sanchez said that while Central Fox also could have opted to move production stateside, “[t]here’s an advantage to having a show like Central Fox out of Mexico City.”

“There are the talent and the resources tied to Fox Sports out of Mexico, plus we had the space as an advantage,” he explained. “As the viewership in the U.S. is made up primarily of Mexican viewers, it just makes sense for us.”

Sanchez said that for now, Fox Deportes isn’t planning any additional changes.

“I think we have the right mix,” he said. “We feel very comfortable with our current lineup, and obviously something key to a sports network is live events. With UEFA Champions League coverage, boxing from Golden Boy and our signature shows, it just gives us a great combination of programming for viewers across the U.S. to enjoy.”