Univision Vows to Remain Player in Soccer Despite Telemundo Winning World Cup Rights

 Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Univision

Univision Communications president and CEO Randy Falco said Friday that the Spanish-language media powerhouse will continue to be a leading destination for soccer even though competitor Telemundo recently acquired rights to World Cup rights from 2015 through 2022. He also said plans to launch a 24/7 sports cable network next year remain on track.

"We carefully consider the value of programming in the context of the benefits it [provides] for our audiences, clients, partners and the company as a whole," he told analyst during the company's third-quarter earnings conference call. "We are disciplined buyers to make sure that we dedicate our resources to an optimum programming mix that satisfies the taste and preferences of the Hispanic community every day of the year across all relevant platforms."

Telemundo's World Cup deal is believed to be worth $600 million.

Falco highlighted: "Univision remains the home of soccer for U.S. Hispanics," citing "an incredibly robust portfolio of year-round coverage of the leagues and teams that matter most" to them. This year, the company has reached more than 32 million viewers with soccer content, Falco said.

He also vowed that Univision goal is to remain the "number one destination for sports programming among U.S. Hispanics" and reiterated the goal of launching a sports cable network in 2012.

Said Falco: "We have taken important steps to make this network a reality, including our sports team with additional industry-leading talent, further developing our multi-platform infrastructure and negotiating with distributors."

Univision management also said Friday that the firm is in late-stage carriage talks with TV distributors about the new 24/7 sports network and new news and novela channels that the company is launching.

On the call, Falco also said he wants advertisers to set 15 percent-20 percent of their budgets aside for reaching Hispanics. Budgets currently include closer to a 10 percent allocation to the Spanish-language market, he estimated.

CFO Andy Hobson said fourth-quarter ad revenue is pacing up in the mid-single digit percentage range for the whole company.

TV station ad trends are looking flat, meaning the stations have "finally found bottom," while the network is looking "really good" as the upfront was up in the double digits, he said.

And radio, which has returned to growth in the latest quarter, will be up again in the current fourth quarter, Hobson said.

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