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Telemundo’s On A Futbol Tour

4/26/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Telemundo will have
at least eight more “friendly”
matches featuring the Mexican
national soccer team
leading into the World Cup
finals in South Africa, the
tournament that begins with
Mexico facing the host country’s
team on June 11.

Univision has the U.S. Spanish-
language rights to all the
World Cup final games, including
that opener. But, as Telemundo
sports overseer Jorge
Hidalgo points out, the top
property for U.S. Spanish-language
television is the Mexico
team, which is only guaranteed
three matches within its group.
If it doesn’t finish first or second,
it will be out of the tournament.
Telemundo in May
will have three Mexico national
team matches in U.S. venues,
one in Mexico City and four in
Europe, with the tour ending on
June 3 in Brussels before heading
to South Africa. The first
match is Friday, May 7, against.
Ecuador in the new football stadium
at the Meadowlands in
East Rutherford, N.J.

Futbol coverage overall has
been big for Telemundo, both
involving the Mexico national
team (four friendly matches
in 2010 rated 13% ahead of
five friendly games in 2009)
and the Futbol Liga Mexicana
teams to which Telemundo
has rights. Th e Easter Sunday
(April 4) “Superclasico” match
between Chivas vs. America
made Telemundo tops in the
men 18-to-34 demographic
on the night, regardless of
language, in its markets, the
NBC Universal-owned network
said.

“We’re doing very well, thank
you,” Hidalgo, whose title is senior
executive vice president,
sports, said. “The numbers are
phenomenal with the Mexican
national team and without the
Mexican national team.”

The MNT television rights
are up this year, Hidalgo confirmed. “But it’s not something
that we’re terribly concerned
about,” he said. “The relationship
for the last 10 years and
the numerous renewals — at
this point [another renewal]
is important and something
we’re working towards but
beyond that contractually I
couldn’t say much more.”

September