By: John Ourand
Univision will rebrand its sports channel as TUDN on July 20, coinciding with the start of the Mexican soccer league, Liga MX.
The channel, which had been called Univision Deportes Network, will run a 2-minute open at 8 p.m. ET that explains the rebrand before its Torneo Apertura match that will feature the Sábado Futbolero franchise.
“We’re delaying kickoff of that game by a few minutes so that we can show that video about what TUDN is,” said Eric Conrad, executive vice president of sports programming and acquisitions. “Our on-air talent will acknowledge the change at that time, as well.”
All sports programming across Univision-owned networks will carry the TUDN brand, including Univision, UniMás and Galavisión. This will be similar to how sports programming on ABC carries the ESPN brand.
Sports programming on Televisa-owned networks in Mexico also will carry the TUDN brand (including Las Estrellas and Canal 5). Univision and Televisa have shared programming for years.
“It’s a natural evolution of the collaboration that Televisa and Univision have had for years now — moreso on the entertainment side than the sports side, but over the last four to five years, that’s grown as well,” said Conrad, adding that the two media companies share the rights to more than 200 games per year. “This was the natural evolution of those discussions.”
In its first week as TUDN, the channel will carry matches from the inaugural Leagues Cup competition between Liga MX and Major League Soccer.
Executives spent the past 18 months working on the rebrand. They ultimately settled on TUDN as a nod to its viewers. Tu is the Spanish word for “your;” DN is the acronym for Deportes Network.
TUDN will carry the tagline “Vivimos Tu Pasion,” which translates to English as “We live your passion.”
“It’s a push to have greater engagement with our audience,” Conrad said. “It’s not just a rebrand of the sports network, but of all sports.”
The trick was creating a brand that could work in both the United States and Mexico, Conrad said.
“We needed a brand that worked for each media company — you couldn’t have Univision Deportes in Mexico, and you couldn’t have Televisa Deportes in the U.S.,” he said. “This was a strategic decision to say that this is what we need to continue to do to change. Everyone talks about engagement with the audience and how fragmented the sports media landscape has become. We are trying to bring that all together and make sure the audience continues to engage with us.”
The Univision-owned sports channel also will see a lot of changes, including studio shows which will run live on the network from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following day on days when the network does not have games.
“From a content and programming perspective, we’ve increased the capacity for live studio shows by 50 percent,” Conrad said. “From a programming standpoint, that’s a huge advantage. Of course, that will allow for greater access for the integrations that come naturally with sponsors.”
The rebranded channel also will bring new faces on screen, Conrad said.
“We will have talent that are established as leaders in the soccer space,” he said. “They will now be visible across both territories. There will be a lot of fresh talent on our screen.”
The rebrand also will affect audio, including the TUDN Radio Network, the TUDN channel on SiriusXM, the TUDN mobile app and TUDN.com. Its premium overflow channel will be called TUDNxtra.
“Where we are now with Univision, we needed to continue to evolve,” Conrad said. “All networks have to continue to grow.”
Source: Sports Business Journal