Biggest Scorer in World Cup? Maybe Univision
Months before the first whistle of the World Cup, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the president of the sports division of Univision Communications, presented his engineers with a challenge: Could they figure out how to beam its soccer broadcasts into American homes faster than its English-language competitors?
About a half-million dollars in new technology later, the challenge was met — Univision’s broadcasts beat ESPN’s and ABC’s, if only by a matter of seconds.
For Mr. Rodriguez, that felt like enough to lure away some viewers. “Who doesn’t want to yell ‘Goal!’ five or six seconds before their neighbors?” he said in an interview from Brazil.
The World Cup has been a record-breaking event for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. It even won the New York market for some games. With the finals still to come on Sunday — featuring a Latin American team for the first time in 12 years — Univision has already drawn roughly 80 million viewers, or about 60 percent more than it logged for the 2010 tournament.