New York -- Soccer fans in the U.S. and Mexico have made La Liga MX matches the most-watched on Spanish-language television for two reasons: their passion for the game and for the enthusiasm of their announcers, according to a panel at the Hispanic Television Summit here.
With 18 teams and two 17-week seasons, fans of La Liga have a lot of programming to choose from, said Azteca president of US operations and president of Grupo Salinas Sports, Gustavo Guzman. But he said that even U.S. Hispanics that don’t speak the language watch Azteca soccer broadcasts for the enthusiasm of play-by-play announcers, whose signature shouts of “GOOOALL!” after a player scores have become a staple of You Tube and social media sites.
“Many U.S. Hispanics that don’t understand the language are watching the games in Spanish because of the noise,” Guzman said.
Azteca America president and CEO Manuel Abud said fan loyalty is driven by close ties to their hometowns.
“The Latino audience roots for their home team,” Abud said. “It goes beyond sports itself; it has to do with emotion, with connecting with your country.”
Abud added that while fan loyalty and ratings are high, reaching viewers through other digital platforms has been a challenge, particularly around pay wall restrictions with some of their pay TV partners. But the programmer has had some success with clips of goals scored during games, rather than the full games themselves.
“We’re getting there,” Abud said.
The 12th annual Hispanic Television Summit produced by Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable, continues today at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Time Square