Univision experiments…and it worked

It’s not every day that Univision undertakes major collaborations for special events, and the upcoming “Premios Deportes” is a nice case study.  Unlike “Premios Juventud” or the long-running “Premio Lo Nuestro,” which Univision produces entirely on its own, “Premios Deportes” is a collaboration between Univision and Tecate beer.  I had the pleasure of attending the taping in L.A., and while we didn’t have the benefit of a fully-edited, continuously-running program, the content will make for a very nice program.

I mean, where else will you see Mexican futbol superstar Cuauhtemoc Blanco sharing the stage with NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz?  The intent of this program was to showcase Latino athletic achievement on both sides of the border and the Tecate-Univision collaboration succeeded quite well.  The program includes tributes to Mexican-American boxing great Oscar De La Hoya and the legendary, Mexican-born Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.  You also saw the first Dominican NFL player, San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo, serve as an award presenter.  (Castillo had to run off after the program to prepare for a speech he was giving the next day to the National Council of La Raza Conference in San Diego–very impressive).  And you even saw superstar athletes from way south of the border like Brazilian auto racing champion (and dance champion) Helio Castroneves.

And quite frankly, what really impressed me was the participation of two Latino stars from the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks Charlie Villanueva and the Denver Nugget’s Carmelo Anthony.   The NBA has done a very good job of showcasing its players from South America (Manu Ginobli) and Spain (Pau Gasol)…these great players deserve the attention they’re given but I still don’t understand why the NBA doesn’t leverage its US-born Latino players to grow its Latino fan base (the NBA has gone global in search of new fans, but it clearly has overlooked the growth opportunities right here at home with its Latino fan base).  The Dominican, New York-born Villanueva served as a presenter while the half-Puerto Rican, New York-born Anthony attended as a nominee in the basketball category (for which Gasol was also nominated).  Carmelo Anthony, who doesn’t speak much Spanish, proudly told the audience (in his own version of Spanish) of his Boricua father…I don’t even think the NBA knows of Anthony’s bicultural heritage.  Kudos to Tecate and Univision for doing what the NBA should be doing.

And Premios Deportes should also be commended for its hosts.  Univision’s “Republica Deportiva” host Fernando Fiore did a stellar job as did Univision Radio’s “Piolin,”but I think the one who stole the hosting show was “Betty La Fea” Angelica Vale.  The woman is an amazing entertainer and her comedic sketches (in which she impersonates some well-known Latina singers) were an absolute riot.

As they say, check your local listings for broadcast times on Sunday July 27.

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