SAN FRANCISCO – Sunday’s highly anticipated Super Bowl 50 will be available to millions of Spanish-speaking fans in the U.S. via ESPN Deportes.
As the network gets ready for its first-ever telecast of the big game, seasoned play-by-play announcer Alvaro Martin and analyst and Super Bowl Champion Raul Allegre recount their experiences covering the event over the years.
The duo has covered Super Bowls for ESPN International in Latin American for 13 years. This will be Martin’s 20th year covering the game (16 with ESPN) and Allegre’s 17th (13 with ESPN). This year is unique because of the additional ESPN Deportes telecast which means they will be speaking to a much more diverse Spanish-speaking fanbase of Latin American and U.S. Hispanics.
Front Row caught up with the pair today to hear more about their U.S. Super Bowl debut.
What is your most memorable moment(s) covering Super Bowl for ESPN?
Allegre: The James Harrison interception return for a touchdown before the end of the half and Santonio Holmes catch to win the game.
Martin: The thrills of Giants-Patriots (both), the back-and-forth of Steelers-Cardinals, the dominance and promise of SB XXVII’s Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay head coach Mike Holmgren allowing a touchdown just to get the ball back in SB XXXII. In my first one (SB XXVII) my then-partner, Benny Ricardo, was so loud, his voice was picked up by the Brazilian broadcasting crew’s mikes next door, so our producer urgently said to us “Benny, you are bleeding!”
This was my first Super Bowl and my first on-site, on-camera production, so I was nervous. I didn’t know TV lingo and I was literally thinking I would have to carry the rest of the three-hour event because my broadcast partner may have to leave to go to the hospital and deal with this wound! Benny never understood why I kept looking him up and down, front and back while he spoke — I was looking for the wound.
What do you look forward to the most with this year’s telecast on ESPN Deportes? Are you doing anything different in your approach to calling the game on ESPN Deportes and U.S. Hispanic fans?
Allegre: Nothing different for the game. On a personal note, it is pretty great that, since it will air on ESPN Deportes, my wife will finally have the chance to tune in and see me work a Super Bowl!
Martin: Every year, we try to push boundaries. While every MNF cablecast reaches both sides of the US border in the hemisphere (LatAm and US Hispanic), this particular Super Bowl will bring two new audiences — on the one hand, knowledgeable US bilingual Hispanic fans who want to know how ESPN Deportes’ production compares to the English-language telecasts they watch every week; on the other hand, the most casual of fans who heard the Super Bowl was an big deal and want to know what it is all about. The challenge is to hang on to both groups and win them over — a challenge we gladly accept.
For ESPN’s bilingual fans, what can they look for in your Spanish-language telecast to make them tune-in?
Allegre: A great mix of description, analysis and color.
Martin: Raul, sideline reporter John Sutcliffe and I prepare for each game. With the support of a dedicated and capable production crew, there are many instances where we beat our A-Net counterparts to an observation, fact or a report. John, Raul and I are ESPN’s senior MNF announce team and that experience, skill and knowledge has value. For bilingual fans or Spanish-speakers, we provide a cultural flavor that the English-language version does not have. It is not “emotion” or “passion” as many people label Spanish-language content or television often — it is relevance.
There’s a growing interest in the NFL among Hispanic sports fans. For this Super Bowl, what significance does it have to have coach Ron Rivera with the Panthers?
Allegre: Hispanics support their own. I am sure they want Carolina to win. The fact that Coach Rivera will be on the sidelines will increase the interest in the game.
Martin: In a sport and an industry with few Hispanic surnames, Rivera catches your eye. To focus on his Hispanic background, however, would be a disservice to the individual and his life story. His is a story of perseverance, of reinvention, of hard work. So is Denver Coach Gary Kubiak’s. We look forward to sharing those stories with our viewers.