The Chicago Blackhawks and Univision Chicago (WRTO AM 1200) have formed a partnership that will be highlighted by the team's first ever Spanish-language radio broadcast, the two sides announced Wednesday. Univision will broadcast Hawks' game coverage on March 6 when the team hosts the Detroit Red Wings.
Univision Radio sports commentators Hector Lozano and Omar Ramos will call the action and "bring behind-the-scenes broadcast stories, player interviews and more to bring fans closer than ever to the Blackhawks."
The news is significant for the Blackhawks, who become the latest team to expand their broadcast coverage beyond the English-speaking audience. The Florida Panthers took the historic step of having Spanish-language broadcast for all 41 of their home games during the 2015-16 season as part of a deal with ESPN Deportes. Chicago's announcement only covers the one game, but could pave the way for a much larger endeavor in the future.
"Our partnership with Univision is an important, historic step for the Blackhawks organization," said Blackhawks executive VP Jay Blunk in the team's statement. "As the Blackhawks brand continues to grow, it is of paramount importance to make our franchise as accessible as possible. We are very proud of today’s announcement and thank our partners at Univision for their support and vision."
The Blackhawks join other major Chicago professional sports teams with Spanish-language coverage. Univision has broadcast games from the NFL's Chicago Bears, NBA's Chicago Bulls and MLB's Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs over the past few years.
Chicago Blackhawks Charities and the Blackhawks Youth Hockey Department will also partner with El Valor "to conduct hockey clinics with students from the organization throughout the year." El Valor is a non-profit community-based organization "that reaches thousands of families throughout the Chicagoland area and strives for a community in which all members, including individuals with special needs, can live, learn and work," per the release.
This is a pretty big step for the franchise as it looks to reach new audiences and expand hockey's popularity beyond its current niche. Hopefully the team and Univision see a strong enough response to keep doing more stuff like this going forward.