Telemundo Deportes brings excitement to the FIFA Women's World Cup
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 is finally here. The U.S. National Women's Team is going for a three-peat.
The stars of Telemundeo Deportes joined SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the big event and it's importance to the network and the soccer world.
Legendary announcer Andres Cantor, veteran reporter and host Ana Jurka and EVP of Sports Eli Velazquez have been preparing for the Women's World Cup can't wait for the exciting action to begin.
Cantor, who was the guest on the Sportsjam with Doug Doyle that recently won Best Interview Podcast in 2022 from PMJA (Public Media Journalist Association), is really looking forward to the women's tournament.
"The women's game has grown tremendously. We are going to have the first World Cup with 32 nations involved in two countries with more Latin American countries than ever. And then there's the story behind the U.S. Women's National team looking for the three-peat. So those are nice storylines. I think we are going to have lots of fun with unprecedented coverage on our networks. The first time in Hispanic television history that we will air all matches the FIFA Women's World Cup, so that is a big step forward for the women's game."
Ana Jurka says she's learned so much from the legendary Cantor. She has become a sensation on Telemundo Deports and social media because of her energy and fun approach to the sport. Jurka admits even though she grew up in Honduras, she never really played soccer, admitting she was terrible when she tried it.
"It's part of my culture. It's in every corner of my country. Since I can remember, my brothers were watching Manchester United in those days and I was wondering what soccer was all about. And then during the 1998 World Cup, I started following more and I just fell in love with it. I never played it. Maybe that's way I talk about it because I know how impressive they are."
Telemundo's veteran EVP of Sports Eli Velazquez says viewers don't realize the work that goes into the coverage of such a huge sporting event like the FIFA World Cup.
"It means everything. It's sincerely the way we feel about it. We love the sport. We love these tournaments. We love the way it elicits national pride. This is multiple years for these coverages. We approach it from two avenues. The main avenue is to figure out the story telling we want to do and how we want to do it because we feel like if we can grab the emotional connection or engagement that the fans will need to connect with the content, then that's half the battle. Then we look at the logistics and how are are going to actually mobilize the talent from country to country and which matches are they going to follow during the course of that path to the final. It does take a village. There's a wealth of opinions in the room. I'm very honored and blessed to manage that I've been working with for over two decades. The third aspect of that process is what's trending and how are people consuming content today."
As a storyteller, Velazquez admits he would love to see the U.S. National team win the FIFA Women's World Cup again.
"I think that storyline in and of itself will be a compelling thread to follow throughout the tournament or one of the Latin American countries to come to the fore and demonstrate they can play at that same level. That would be a big step forward for the women's game. We've seen the recent development in Latin America for this game is still in its infancy compared to the other countries in Europe and the U.S."
Jurka gave her thoughts on which team could win the championship.
"The U.S. is the team to beat just because even when they don't play well, the know how to win. But I love England. The change with those players from one tournament to the next one is amazing and now being led by Sarina Wiegman, to me she's the best coach in the world. They've turned the belief switch. Germany is another team that I think will do great, and now maybe France since they are coached by Hervé Renard and their players are feeling comfortable."
Both Jurka and Velazquez say Andres Cantor's emotional call of the men's FIFA World Cup brought them to tears. Cantor says he's been inundated with fan mail since Argentina won the championship.
"Many said I transported them back to Argentina. Many that were not Argentines felt like they were Argentinians and they wanted (Lionel) Messi to win. The common denominator for many messages that really moved move was that a moved the viewers to remember their deceased grandparents who they wanted games with. They remember sitting next to them and they remember my calls of the games. I didn't know I could provoke those feelings in people."
The always humble Cantor will certainly provide many more tears and cheers during this tournament.
Telemundo presents Team USA's opening FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 match live on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock on July 21.
You can SEE the entire SportsJam interview with the Telemundo Deportes crew here.