It seems that Univision is the true winner of the World Cup.

via The New York Times:

Months before the first whistle of the World Cup, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the president of the sports division of Univision Communications, presented his engineers with a challenge: Could they figure out how to beam its soccer broadcasts into American homes faster than its English-language competitors?

About a half-million dollars in new technology later, the challenge was met — Univision’s broadcasts beat ESPN’s and ABC’s, if only by a matter of seconds.

For Mr. Rodriguez, that felt like enough to lure away some viewers. “Who doesn’t want to yell ‘Goal!’ five or six seconds before their neighbors?” he said in an interview from Brazil.

The World Cup has been a record-breaking event for Univision, which has dominated its TV rivals in several of America’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Miami and Houston. It even won the New York market for some games. With the finals still to come on Sunday — featuring a Latin American team for the first time in 12 years — Univision has already drawn roughly 80 million viewers, or about 60 percent more than it logged for the 2010 tournament.

The numbers serve as a kind of exclamation point on the sharp growth of America’s Hispanic population over the last two decades. It is a demographic shift that has been apparent in voting trends and employment patterns. Now the World Cup has shown how it is reshaping the media landscape too.

A confluence of other factors — some deliberate, some serendipitous — have also worked to the network’s advantage. Legions of soccer fans used Univision’s free streaming to covertly watch games on their office computers or cellphones. A handful of Latin American teams, including Mexico and Costa Rica, performed surprisingly well in the tournament. And some non-Hispanic viewers simply prefer the network’s excitable commentators, who work themselves into a frenzy every time a player crosses midfield with the ball, never mind drives it into the back of the net: “Mamita querida que GOOOLLLAZZZOO!”

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