Telemundo Deportes is making history this Sunday, becoming the first Spanish-language broadcast network to air the Super Bowl.
Previously, the Super Bowl has been televised on Spanish-language cable outlets NBC-affiliated Universo and Fox Deportes. By moving the game to the No. 1 Spanish-language broadcast network, the Super Bowl viewership among Spanish-speaking communities is expected to hit an all-time high this year.
The Latino community is the fastest-growing market for the NFL, with 32% considering themselves avid fans, according to Statista. The NFL said more than 28 million Latinos are NFL fans, and that 78% of Mexico’s sports fans consider themselves NFL fans.
“I wanted to bring the Super Bowl to a bigger audience,” Ray Warren, president of Telemundo Deportes, said in an interview. “The growth of the Spanish-language audience in the U.S. is a rocket ship.”
Under its new agreement with the NFL signed last May, Telemundo Deportes—the Spanish-language sports brand within the NBC Universal and Comcast umbrella—has been home to NBC Sunday Night Football, the NFL Kickoff Game, the annual Thanksgiving prime time game, two wild-card games, and one Divisional Playoff Game.
“What we’ve been doing for a couple of years now is to give the Spanish-language audience a reason to want to watch and understand and learn what the NFL is,” Warren said, “because it is a pretty cool game.”
The league has worked to bring Latinos into football for years. “The NFL has been very focused on growing the fandom amongst Latinos in the United States, as well as globalization of the game, for a long time,” said Amanda Herald, NFL’s VP of marketing strategy. “We know that the Latino population has been growing very rapidly and will continue to do so over the next several years. We know that likely half of the [audience] growth in this country will come from the Latin population.”
To bring the Latino community to the sport, the NFL is focused on finding ways to create cultural relevance with its audience. “The Super Bowl or content in Spanish is just one of those ways,” Herald said.
But the big game is a vital gateway. “We know that that’s a moment that creates fandom,” Herald said. “It is the No. 1 way people tell us they become an NFL fan if they’re Latino. It’s also the No. 1 way that Latinos who are already fans say makes them a bigger fan.”
This year’s Super Bowl Spanish broadcasts will be available in 18 countries across the Americas and Spain. The Rams-Bengals clash will be televised in over 180 countries and more than 25 languages.
Telemundo’s coverage will be led by Miguel Gurwitz, the Emmy-Award winner sports anchor, Ana Jurka and Karim Mendiburu. Carlos Mauricio Ramirez will serve as play-by-play, while Ariana Figuera will be reporting from the field. And Jorge Andres will provide game analysis along with the former Arizona Cardinals player Rolando Cantu.