Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Telemundo Houston travelling to Russia for World Cup 2018

Telemundo Houston KTMD lead sports anchor Ubaldo Martinez: "For a sportscaster, it's a dream come true."

Sitting in a Telemundo Houston KTMD conference room in front of giant World Cup banners, lead sports anchor Ubaldo Martinez appears to be very excited about this upcoming assignment.

As a young boy, you could find Martinez playing soccer on the streets or watching it on television. He says the sport is his passion.

That passion will be in full force as Martinez and his photographer head to Russia for nearly a month to cover the 2018 World Cup next month.

"I mean I've covered a lot of great sporting news here in Houston...especially last year with the Astros winning the World Series, but it doesn't get any better than covering the World Cup," Martinez told mikemcguff.com. "Being able to go to a country like Russia and having that experience and exposure and just being there, for a sportscaster, it's a dream come true."

And that dream might be one with little sleep associated with it.

The KTMD Houston crew won't just park in Moscow for endless live shots, but will actually embed themselves with the various teams crisscrossing the very large country. Telemundo network reporters will offer coverage from other points.

Between June 13 and July 9th, the KTMD crew's coverage will take them to the cities of Rostov-on-Don, Samara and Saransk, all while reporting live to Houston and other Telemundo markets.

"The idea behind that is to be able to cover the different teams in different cities," Martinez told me. "Our focus is going to be the Latin American teams."

Jerry Vazquez, KTMD Vice President of News, says being embedded with the teams and coaches inside the NBC and FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) compounds gives Martinez the inside scoop on the games.

"Ubaldo will live in the NBC/Telemundo bubble and the FIFA bubble for security reasons," Vazquez told mikemcguff.com. "He will have to travel with a security guard and driver at all times and be in that bubble that no one can penetrate. It allows him to create relationships with the team that he's probably never covered before."

Martinez and KTMD management have been working long hours to plan this coverage. That even included getting a new set.

"I always say think of this as a Super Bowl," added Telemundo Houston Marketing Director JC Perez. "Every single day for an entire month."

"This is expected to be one of the best World Cups in the sense you have two of the best players in their prime," Martinez predicted. "Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Lionel Messi (Argentina) both have not yet won the World Cup with either one of their teams."

With the Dyanamo's Adolfo Machado playing for Panama, KTMD will be interviewing his fellow Houston players and coaches each night for extra analysis.

Beyond travelling to Russia for its team coverage, the station has also been working to position itself as the soccer station of Houston. That means covering everything from Major League Soccer (MLS) to high school teams.

Since many of the World Cup games will take place in daytime hours for our country, Telemundo is making sure you can catch the game wherever you happen to be during the action.

"I think in terms of local for the viewers, this will probably be one of the first World Cups that's engaged on all platforms," Vazquez added. "Every single one of [the games], you'll be able to watch on the go through the Telemundo Houston App."

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