Univision continues to excel at live soccer coverage, and Rodriguez has found a way to use the sport’s popularity to promote diversity. “We believe in sports as a unifier and a vehicle for social change,” he says. That also applies to expanding the role of women on-camera and behind-the-scenes. In 2018, Univision became the first Spanish-language network in the US to have a woman play-by-play announcer call a professional soccer game. “We are proud to work with our partners and help them amplify their initiatives, for example, Major League Soccer has a number of initiatives, including ‘Soccer for All,’ to encourage diversity among its fans, players, employees and suppliers,” he says.
What does your company/organization do to ensure all employees feel included?
Univision is an incredibly inclusive place, which is the result of our mission of serving the Hispanic community. But we don’t just serve our community, we are our community. Roughly three of four Univision employees is Hispanic, meaning we have at least some firsthand experience of being judged or excluded based on what we look like or where we come from. This awareness of inequity compels us to pay extra attention to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, is part of the team and has opportunities to succeed.
Can you share a successful diversity program at your company or one you’ve observed at another company or organization?
We believe in sports as a unifier and a vehicle for social change. We are proud to work with our partners and help them amplify their initiatives, for example, Major League Soccer has a number of initiatives, including “Soccer for All,” to encourage diversity among its fans, players, employees and suppliers. Similarly, our partners at UEFA in Europe have their own “#EqualGame” effort aimed at ridding soccer of discrimination and creating safe, comfortable conditions for players and fans from all backgrounds.
At TUDN, we are also focused on enhancing the role of women in sports media, both in front and behind the camera. In 2018 we were the first Spanish-Language network in the U.S. to have a woman serve as the lead play-by-play announcer of a professional soccer game. And this year, we were the first network to air a professional soccer game 100% produced, narrated and broadcasted by an all-female crew. Initiatives like these make me proud to work in the game of soccer and provide me with a lot of optimism about the future of the sport.
Which current television show/s best embrace diversity?
Within TUDN, we have made a number of programming decisions that reflect our commitment to diversity in sports media. This past season, we became the first network to carve out a regular broadcast time for Liga MX Femenil, the up-and-coming women’s soccer league in Mexico; and this year we are expanding our coverage with up to two weekly games. In doing so, we are embracing a more diverse sports landscape and giving young Latinas across the U.S. the chance to see women who look like them play professional soccer on TV.