Telemundo launches ‘enhanced’ cross-platform World Cup 2018 coverage via musical gifs, VR app and more

Telemundo announced a slew of partnerships to coincide with their spanish-language 2018 World Cup Coverage. / Sam Wermut via Unsplash

Telemundo, the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast partner of the 2018 Fifa World Cup, has rolled out cross-platform coverage via digital activations and partnerships.

In addition to broadcasting the event on linear TV beginning today (June 14), all 64 matches in the World Cup will be livestreamed through Telemundo’s designated sports app, Deportes en Vivo, and the NBC Sports app. An interactive bracket has been hosted on the Telemundo site to allow its global audience to compete against each other via desktop and mobile.

Users have the ability to emulate the ‘quiniela’ experience known in the Latinx and Hispanic communities by participating in global tournaments with other soccer fans or by creating their own private league for family and friends.

A full-service VR experience is also made available through Telemundo’s Deportes VR App. Through what the network calls a ‘VIP experience,’ the app has wide-angle feeds of each of the 64 games and 360-degree content from the opening and closing ceremonies. More 360-degree content will expand to dressing rooms, team bus arrivals, and city fan zones and will be available in 2D feeds, 180-degree views, 360-degree short-form video content and near-live multi-angle clips.

Telemundo is also working with Gifnote to provide fans with access to real-time musical GIFs, giving Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app users the opportunity to digitally show their team pride through music. Throughout the tournament, updates will allow the GIFs to represent each national team and will be changed to match the progress and results of each team leading up to the final match of the tournament.

Accompanying those gifs is a custom emoji keyboard, allowing users to root for their favorite teams and use a host of other animations. Telemundo also launched a Facebook Instant Game specifically for the Facebook and Messenger platforms called Goal Shootout that emulates the penalty kick experience.

A series of partnerships was also announced by the NBCUniversal-owned network, including a series with digital platform Copa90 called 'El 12,' which puts its content creators in close contact with each of the 10 Latino countries participating in this year’s tournament.

Other partnerships include an original series programmed for the tournament called Somos Mundial (We are the World) through NBCUniversal on YouTube that focuses on the journeys of Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Uruguay, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina and Peru to Russia; an AR sticker album experience sponsored by Panini; original content through David Villa’s production company Designated Player called Somos Llegaron (How They Got Here); and immersive real-time updates through Google and YouTube for highlights and analytics throughout the tournament.

This push by Telemundo was made to approach the 61 million soccer fans in America and 24.5 million Americans who play soccer. Although this is the first World Cup in decades without the US men’s national soccer team involved, Telemundo said that the Latino community in the United States has been leading the country’s cultural embrace of soccer, with two out of three Hispanic millennials identifying as soccer fans.

Additionally, the average US soccer fan is 10 years younger than the average sports fan, lending to the heavy push into digital and mobile activations. 68% of Latinas in what’s called Generation M (millennial, mobile, and multicultural) identify as soccer fans.

Peter E. Blacker, the executive vice president of digital and emerging business for NBCUniversal’s Telemundo arm, said in a statement: “Given that soccer enjoys the most multicultural and millennial fan base of any sport in the US, Telemundo has developed several innovative products and partnerships that will take the World Cup to a new level of engagement.”

Telemundo’s live stream experience has been said to feature more than 1,000 hours of content, reportedly the most ever from FIFA, including an exclusive view to the games through six additional camera angles.

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