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Episode Seven: Man And Machine
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In a nod to the National Football League's ever-expanding Hispanic fan base, CBS on Monday night announced that ESPN Deportes would present the official Spanish-language simulcast of Super Bowl 50 on Sun., Feb. 7. This marks the first time a Disney-owned TV outlet will carry a live Super Bowl feed since ABC hosted its seventh and final broadcast 10 years ago.
The move is a result of CBS's lack of a Spanish-language cable network of its own. Fox gave the Super Bowl the first full Spanish-language Super Bowl simulcast in February 2014 with a parallel feed on Fox Deportes that averaged 561,000 viewers, while NBC Universal leveraged last winter's Patriots-Seahawks showdown as a launch vehicle for NBC Universo, the channel formerly known as mun2. The NBC Universo telecast averaged 368,000 total viewers, which works out to about 0.3% of the 114.4 million fans who tuned into the flagship broadcast on NBC.
Super Bowl 50 only will be the third NFL title tilt to get the full simulcast treatment.
ESPN Deportes reaches 5.3 million Hispanic households, or 45% of all U.S. Hispanic cable homes. The standalone channel simulcasts regular-season "Monday Night Football" games, as well as a Wild Card game and the Pro Bowl.
While Deportes reps did not immediately respond to inquiries about the deal terms -- ESPN announced the agreement during halftime of Monday's Bengals-Broncos game, at around 10:30 p.m. EST -- it is likely that the majority of the advertisers represented in CBS's Super Bowl broadcast also will appear in the Spanish-language feed. How the final creative will shake out is anyone's guess. Last year, roughly two of every three spots that aired in the Universo simulcast targeted Spanish speakers.
Along with the game itself, Deportes will air a 90-minute pregame show set to kick off on Super Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST, and a postgame wrap will follow the final whistle.
The simulcast was announced by Deportes "Monday Night Football" sideline reporter John Sutcliffe and his ESPN counterpart, Lisa Salters, just before the third quarter of the season's final Monday night game. Official statements began pouring in shortly thereafter.
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"As the broadcaster of Super Bowl 50, it was a priority for us to find a Spanish-language partner to televise this historic broadcast and reach the NFL's Hispanic fan base," said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports, in one statement. "The ESPN Deportes presentation of Super Bowl 50 will be a great complement to our broadcast on CBS."
For its part, Deportes said the simulcast presents an unparalleled opportunity for ESPN to strengthen its ties to the nation's burgeoning Hispanic NFL fan base. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation's Hispanic population was 55.4 million as of July 2014, accounting for 17% of the country's total head count (318.9 million). Per Nielsen, Hispanic football fans in 2014 made up 9% of the overall audience for NFL broadcasts, or about 1.5 million viewers per game.
During that same season, the league invested some $230 million in Hispanic TV spend, up nearly $100 million compared to the 2009 campaign.
The Deportes "Monday Night Football" broadcast crew will suit up for the Super Bowl 50 simulcast, as Alvaro Martin and former Giants placekicker Raul Allegre will carry out the booth duties while Mr. Sutcliffe works the sidelines.