Juan Carlos Rodriguez: “The 2014 World Cup is going to be the most successful ad-event in the history of Univision”
Brands are heavily taking aim at Hispanic World Cup fans. According to Adweek, Univision's digital revenues in the upcoming 2014 Soccer World Cup have doubled versus the 201o World Cup. The rationale behind the strong growth is that even if Team USA looses early in the tournament, Americans, particularly US. Hispanics, will have many other Latin American and European teams to cheer for. As the biggest show in the world, the 2014 Soccer World Cup, starts this Thursday June 12 at 4pm EST with the match between World Cup host Brazil and Croatia, Portada interviewed Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes, to talk about this major global marketing and advertising event.
According to Rodriguez, the 2014 World Cup is going to be the most succesful ad-event in the history of Univision. An important reason behind the success is the fact that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is taking place during a very similar timezone: "This is the closest to prime-time we will be getting unless the World Cup comes back to the U.S.," notes Rodriguez highlighting the commercial appeal of the broadcast rights, particularly on the East Coast (EST). On the Pacific Time Zone many matches will take place during the day, so that they will be streamed and seen at work. Univision Deportes also has the rights for digital video including desktops and mobile (smartphones, tablets etc...). While digital video ad revenues has increased substantially, Rodriguez says that there still is not a clear business model to monetize online video assets: “Digital video everyone wants to dance but no one really knows what the dance is about.”
This is the closest to prime-time we will be getting unless the World Cup comes back to the U.S.
Long Sales Cycle
Another reason for Univision's commercial success is that the World Cup was offered to advertisers not only during the 2013 upfronts but also during the 2012 upfront season. At the time we talked with Rodriguez, a few weeks ago, there were still some open opportunities in the scatter market. "Scatter has gone bigger and bigger", says Rodriguez. We have been enlarging the game window from two hours to two and a half hours to make room for advertising. " Univision Deportes has two type of clients. First type clients are 2-year plan partners which take a holistic approach and also include digital video (usually with a 90:10 ratio in favor of broadcast advertising). The second type of clients into which Univision Deportes is still selling into now are scatter clients who buy TV and Digital separately. Univision has several other World Cup opportunities besides prime-Time TV and online video. They include promotions during the numerous World Cup News and Entertainment programs taking place during the 4 weeks the World Cup lasts. In addition, Univision Deportes is partnering with Televisa for the Super Guia magazine. It will promote the magazine and provide content, while Televisa will be managing most of the advertising sales.
We have been enlarging the game window from two hours to two and a half hours to make room for advertising.
The allure of Sports content
Sports content has a much less fragmented audience than other types of content due to the popularity of live programming. That is why, according to Rodriguez, the rights acquisition business is so important. Another key question is "once you have the rights, how do you proccess thems:
What happens after the World Cup?
Since 1978 Univision has had the Spanish-language broadcast rights for the every Soccer World Cup. This is going to change after 2014 as Telemundo won the Spanish-language rights for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 in Qatar. How is this going to change Univision Deportes approach to agencies and brand marketers? Rodriguez answers talking about his "every week the best Soccer strategy," referring to the exclusive Major League Soccer Broadcast Rights that Univision Deportes will continue to have. "Univision is going to continue with its franchises of Liga Mexicana, Mexican National Team, U.S. National Team and Major League Soccer," he adds. Another programming asset are the recently announced rights for the Copa America 2016,, the most important national team soccer competition in the Americas which in 2016 will be celebrating its 100 anniversary.
Boxing, Football (NFL), NBA (Basketball) and Baseball (MLB) are going to be the other sports, besides soccer, Univision is going to pursue heavily going forward. According to Rodriguez Boxing is also very appealing although not all brands are ready to support it.