Univision Nets Mexico’s National Team

New York — Univision has put a big one
in the back of the net, scoring the Spanishlanguage
TV and digital rights to the Mexican
national soccer team in the U.S. through
matches leading up to the 2014 World Cup.

The deal, which sources put at more than
$50 million, secured the rights to Mexico’s
World Cup qualifying matches and international
friendlies, which have been televised
by Telemundo over the past decade.

The pact, which Univision announced during
its upfront presentation to advertisers in
Manhattan on May 20,
came three weeks ahead of the 2010 FIFA
World Cup from South Africa, to which Univision
holds Spanish-language U.S. rights.

Telemundo had drawn some of its biggest
audiences ever with its match coverage
of the Mexican team. The NBC Universalowned
broadcast network used a World Cup
qualifier from Mexico City between Mexico
and the U.S. National Team last August,
as well as a second match versus Honduras,
as a springboard to upping the sports ante
for its cable cousin, bicultural Latino service
Mun2, which simulcast the matches in
English. Subsequently, the cable network
officially established Mun2 Sports as a programming
destination that includes a package
of Saturday-night matches from Futbol
Liga Mexicana, the nation’s top pro circuit,
as well as boxing and mixed-martial-arts
fare, plus news and highlights shows.

“We had some conversations to retain the
games, but did not reach an agreement for
the renewal of our rights for MNT,” a Telemundo
spokeswoman said. “We wish the
team the best and look forward to expanding
our sports off ering in other directions.”

Telemundo is winding down its coverage
of El Tri, which has embarked on an eightmatch
preparatory tour ending June 3 in Brussels,
ahead of the June 11-July 11 World Cup.
Telemundo has a deal covering the regularseason
and playoff home matches of six top
Mexican league teams.

Negotiations for the Mexican national
team deal were evidently concluded around
mid-day on May 20, just hours before Univision
conducted its upfront — too late for
inclusion within the preliminary programming
schedule information packages disseminated
to the press.

“Outside of the FIFA World Cup, the Mexican
national soccer team is the premiere
soccer attraction for U.S. Hispanic audiences,”
Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks,
said in a statement. “This acquisition
solidifies Univision’s position as the premiere
provider of soccer programming in the
United States, and we are thrilled to be able
to offer the best soccer content to our loyal
audiences across our television, video-ondemand,
online and mobile platforms.”

As part of a $325 million agreement with
futbol’s international governing body, Univision
holds U.S. Spanish-language rights to
the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, the FIFA
2013 Confederations Cup, the FIFA Under-
20 World Championships, FIFA Under-17
World Championships and the FIFA Women’s
World Cup in 2011. Univision also televises
soccer games involving the U.S. men’s
national team, the CONCACAF Gold Cup,
home games of six Futbol Liga Mexicana
teams, the CONCACAF Champions’ League,
Major League Soccer and SuperLiga.