RICHMOND, VA—For Spanish-speaking households, the case for watching Univision during the World Cup needs no explanation—como no? But for anyone to whom it never occurred to try Univision, consider the following:
1. Univision is available in HD, and its screen is much less cluttered than ESPN. You see more of that big beautiful pitch, the scoreboard is a bit smaller on the screen.
2. Univision is not going to annoy with any bottom-of-the screen tickers, updates, etc. Univision knows that while the World Cup is going on, nothing outside (especially nothing going on in other sports) matters.
3. Brand loyalty. The commitment of English-language broadcasters to televising the World Cup in its entirety over the years has wavered, but not Univision’s. I remember having just moved to Boston in the middle of the World Cup in 1998, not having cable yet, just a small TV with an antenna. I was able to watch the classic England-Argentina match on that thing catching Univision’s Boston channel over the air (in pretty good quality, too). ESPN’s recent commitment to celebrating the World Cup in extravagant style, but never forget they are Johnny-come-lately.
4. You can concentrate on the game and developing your own opinions of it, not ones shaped almost from the moment play happens by commentators you fully understand.
5. You can work on your Spanish comprehension. With my one year of college Spanish and time living in Mexico, I can follow the most important things being said, and appreciate the directness of Univision’s commentating style—”que facilidad” was the comment on Germany repeatedly cutting open Australia, and “que lastima” was the comment on Tim Cahill’s very questionable tarjeta roja. As long as you know “fuera de lugar” is offside and a few other key phrases, you’ll get what you need to know.
6. Univision’s pre-game show and studio commentary certainly is enthusiastic about the Estados Unidos, but they are equally effusive about Mexico and other Latin American entrants in the competition. In fact, they are appreciative of everyone. If you want a presentation that less Americano-centric—or for that matter, Inglaterra-centric—than what you get on ESPN, Univision is the place.
7. Goal celebrations! The days of Andres Cantor’s minute-long “Gooooooal” yells are over, but Pablo Ramirez still gets excited with three quick yells of “goal,” delivered with equal passion whether it’s the game-winner or the 4th goal of a thrashing. The drama comes in whether the goal is judged by Ramirez a “golazzoo”—an incredible goal. When a truly splendid team move comes off or a stunning shot from distance flies in, the excited call of “golazzoooo!” is the perfect exclamation point.