Telemundo Keeps ‘El Tri’ Qualifiers

3/21/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Telemundo has held onto rights to all
of the away World Cup qualifying matches of the Mexican
national team through the next cycle.

Through agreements with Media World and Traffic
Sports USA, the NBC Universal-owned Spanish-language
broadcast network has secured the exclusive
TV, broadband and mobile rights in the U.S. for up to
eight Mexican national team CONCACAF qualifying
matches leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio
de Janiero, Brazil.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sources in the soccer community estimate the rights
at somewhere around $15 million.

The agreement, which Jorge Hidalgo, senior executive
vice president, Telemundo Network Sports, said came
during the network’s exclusive negotiating window, enables
it to extend its relationship with the Mexican national
team, which has spanned more than a decade.

“Since 2000, Telemundo has and will continue to air
the all of the away World Cup qualifying matches for the
Mexican team,” he said noting that contests against Honduras
rank as the network’s top sports telecasts.

Last May, Univision outbid Telemundo for the home
World Cup qualifying matches for the Mexican national
team, as well as El Tri’s friendlies and exhibition
matches. That deal, according to sources, was for some
$50 million.

By retaining these rights, Telemundo is complementing
its coverage of five clubs from the nation’s top domestic
circuit, Futbol Liga Mexicana. Telemundo has
the rights to the home games of Tigres, Monte Rey, Pumas,
Toluca and Chivas.

“Today, fans demand that coverage that goes well beyond
the TV screen,” Hidalgo said. “We will be delivering
the matches to viewers via mobile and digitally to complete
the 360-degree experience.” Telemundo had not
had mobile rights in earlier deals.

The preliminary draw, which will give the top three
CONCACAF qualifiers a spot in the 2014 World Cup and
the fourth-place finisher a shot to earn a spot against an
Oceania side, is scheduled to take place on July 30.

Should Mexico play the U.S. — a strong likelihood, as
they are the top FIFA-rated CONCACAF clubs — Telemundo
will not air the match that will take place in the States. Those rights are held by Univision and ESPN.