The Chicago Blackhawks and Univision have agreed to a deal that will see Spanish-language radio broadcasts for 14 games during the 2016-17 season, the team announced Wednesday. The partnership, which is in conjunction with WGN Radio, will start with the Hawks’ season opener against the Blues on Oct. 12.
The games will be broadcast in Spanish on Univision Chicago (WRTO AM 1200), which is the city’s only Spanish-language, full-service radio station.
The announcement comes after the Blackhawks and Univision began their relationship in March with the first-ever Spanish-language radio broadcast of one of the team’s games. Univision’s Hector Lozano and Omar Ramos called the Hawks’ game against the Red Wings on March 6, and apparently the response to that was very positive.
"We received so much positive feedback about our first Spanish-language Blackhawks broadcast earlier this year that we decided to pursue doing more games with the organization and the English-language radio home for the Blackhawks, WGN Radio," said Univision’s Doug Levy in a statement. "The Blackhawks have a very strong appeal among Chicago Hispanics due, in part, to the team's amazing tradition of winning. Univision's multimedia approach to engaging Hispanic fans allows us to connect the Blackhawks with our audiences across all of our broadcast and digital platforms. We are excited to be expanding our partnership with an organization that recognizes the value in fully engaging with Chicago's Hispanic community."
It goes without saying that this is really important for the hockey world, which has increasingly filled a niche over the years. One of the easiest ways to sell the awesomeness of hockey is simply to watch it live, so having broadcasts in languages other than English could help move the needle among people who typically don’t watch the sport. It’s also good to see that Univision and WGN saw a positive enough response from the March 6 broadcast to decide a much larger commitment was in order.
I can’t speak Spanish beyond roughly a seventh-grade level, so pretty much the only word I’d understand would be “GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!” but that’s quite alright. It’s good to see the Hawks making in roads towards being relevant in other communities.