In building Univision Deportes’ impressive portfolio of live soccer rights, Rodriguez’s team made the network the top Spanish-language sports channel in the nation. “At Univision Deportes, we firmly believe in sports as an agent for social change and that part of our strength comes from our diversity,” he says. “We believe that diversity and inclusion make for a better programming product for our audiences, and there is much more work to be done to close the gaps in our industry.”
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts regarding diversity and inclusion?
At Univision Deportes, we firmly believe in sports as an agent for social change and that part of our strength comes from our diversity. Our team is comprised of more than 15 nationalities. As a top-three sports network in the U.S., Univision Deportes aims to shape and drive meaningful social change through a sports lens. One example is that this year, we broke the glass ceiling on U.S. Hispanic television featuring the first soccer match called by a woman, alongside with a talented team of female sportscasters who covered, directed, produced and assisted during this broadcast.
We believe that diversity and inclusion make for a better programming product for our audiences, and there is much more work to be done to close the gaps in our industry.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
This is a time of disruption and change in our industry, so the best advice would be the same I received some time ago in business school: “Fail fast and fail cheap, then move on.” Don’t be afraid to try new things and innovate, and if you fail learn from it and keep trying.
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
Consumer viewing habits have evolved in recent years. The way viewers consume the content is drastically different from what it was 10 years ago. More than ever, consumers are taking to emerging platforms to engage with sports, and Univision Deportes has been proactive in catering to these evolving behaviors and using digital platforms to enhance our offerings.
Furthermore, soccer has become mainstream in America. The popularity of global soccer in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years and during the past several years, we have solidified Univision Deportes’ position as the Home of Soccer in the U.S. by acquiring exclusive Spanish-language media rights to some of the most prominent properties and tournaments in the sport, including Major League Soccer, the U.S. and Mexican national teams, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Nations League and UEFA National Team Competitions, Liga MX soccer league, among others.