Saturday saw a transformation in sports media as Univision Deportes officially rebranded as TUDN as part of a cross-border partnership with Mexico’s Grupo Televisa. Stateside, Univision Deportes Network is now known as TUDN, with TUDN branding also running across sports telecasts on Univision Network, UniMás, Galavisión and across their audio and digital platforms with Univision and Televisa sharing both programming and talent.
Cynopsis Sports asked Juan Carlos Rodriguez, President of Sports at Univision Communications, about the brand overhaul, its new partnership and what fans can expect.
Rodriguez on the year so far: What stands out so far this year is the acceleration in the rise of soccer in this country, as well as the recognition of that growth within the industry. When we launched Univision Deportes Network in 2012, we made a big bet on soccer. Rather than launch a sports network that would be all things to all people, we decided to focus primarily on a sport that our community was passionate about and where we saw massive potential for growth.
This year, we completed the most-watched UEFA Champions League season in U.S. television history, regardless of language. We’ve seen immense interest in Liga MX, which remains the most-watched soccer league in the U.S., and garnered tremendous viewership for this summer’s Gold Cup amid a crowded summer of soccer. The U.S. women’s team, of course, has also been a boon for the sport throughout the country, and we’re excited to bring fans all of the action from their upcoming victory tour. We expect increased interest in the women’s game will generate even more growth for us, from the U.S. women to Liga MX Femenil.
On this year’s biggest surprise: If I have to pick one, it would be UEFA Champions League. When we launched the season we knew it was going to be a successful one, but we were not expecting to see the results we had. Shattering records in our first season was definitely a positive surprise, now we are very excited with what we can do as TUDN as we start our second UEFA Champions League season in September.
On the rebrand: When we decided to take this next step in our collaboration with Televisa, we knew we needed a single brand that would work in the U.S. and Mexico. It couldn’t just be Univision Deportes or Televisa Deportes anymore. The new brand honors the history of both companies, but more importantly it will be a constant declaration to viewers that this is ‘Your Sports Network.’ ‘TU’ means ‘your’ in Spanish. The new tagline, ‘Vivimos TU Pasion’, which translate to ‘We Live Your Passion,’ reinforces that idea that everything we do here is for fútbol fanáticos by fútbol fanáticos. They are at the core of everything we do and we wanted a brand and a tagline that would empower them and encourage them to interact with our brand and our content.
On the partnership with Televisa: This TUDN initiative is the natural evolution of a long-standing partnership between Univision and Televisa, mostly on the entertainment side, but more recently in sports. It has allowed us to continue building on our four pillars: an unparalleled portfolio of Soccer rights, the most robust talent team in all Spanish-speaking media in the world, the use of the latest technology and a 360 ecosystem covering over-the-air TV, cable, radio, digital and social. Combining the resources of our respective sports divisions dramatically increases the amount of live and original programming we’ll be able to deliver on the network – up to 40 hours more per week. Since we made our foray into European soccer, which generally airs in the afternoon, daytime programming has become a much bigger priority for us. This additional programming will ensure we are providing live and original content from early in the morning through late at night.
On benefits: By partnering with Televisa, we’ll also dramatically expand our roster of talent. Imagine covering the NFL and bringing together the top talent from CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network – that’s essentially what we’re doing with soccer by bringing our experts together with Televisa’s. The other benefit is that we are bringing experts on many other sports which will allow us to better cover and inform our audience beyond the world of soccer. Thanks to our expanded talent and production resources, we’ll now have live coverage from the training grounds of all 19 Liga MX teams on a daily basis and be able to provide more thorough coverage of the NFL, NBA, MLB and combat sports. Televisa is also regarded as a leader in broadcast technology, which will enhance our already-stellar on-screen capabilities.