Updated 02:44 PM EDT, Thu, Oct 21, 2021

Super Bowl 2014: Fox Deportes' John Laguna and Brady Poppinga Prepare to Make Super Bowl History

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John Laguna and Brady Poppinga were all smiles on Tuesday during Opening Bell at NASDAQ in Times Square as they prepare for the task of doing play-by-play and analysis for Fox Deportes Super Bowl XLVIII coverage - the first time a U.S. Spanish-language network televises the championship game.

"It's hard to describe but this experience is a privilege and an honor for me, being in this position. I've done past telecasts for the Latin America but this is the first time I'm doing it for the U.S.," said Laguna to LatinoPost.com.  "I think we have been late on this, doing the telecast in Spanish. We done it in SAP in the past but this is a whole complete production. And our style of commentating is much different than the English way. One is not better than the other but we do things differently."

Laguna also covers the English Premier League (EPL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and tennis for the network. 

Laguna is joined by Poppinga, a former Green Bay Packer linebacker who won an NFL title in Super Bowl XLV, helping the Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011. Poppinga, who did a two-year Mormon mission in Uruguay prior to attending Brigham Young University, became fluent in Spanish, promising himself never to lose his grasp on the language. His persistence in continuing to expand his language skills landed him a job with Fox Deportes, serving as the lead analyst for Fox Deportes Super Bowl telecast. 

One of the challenges for broadcast team of Laguna and Poppinga - who are also joined in the both by Francisco X. Rivera - is breaking down the nuances of the game to an audience that may be watching the game for the first time and still learning the game of American football.

"I really want to teach the game, that's a role I have taken very seriously, teaching what people are thinking on the field, why things are happening, potentially how that can effect the result of the game," said Poppinga to LatinoPost.com. "That's a big part of our broadcast."

Fox Deportes and the National Football League (NFL) recently signed a two-year deal for the Spanish telecast rights to the postseason and the Super Bowl XLVIII in December, which will include this year's and next year's postseason as well as Super Bowl XLIX. The network also added Impacto NFL to their broadcasting lineup, a weekly 30-minute NFL show, as well as airing NFL segments on the network's nightly news program, Central FOX.

The NFL has been attracting Hispanic viewers in record numbers, including 23.1 million Latino viewers during the 2012-2013 NFL season. Ten million Hispanic viewers tuned in to watch the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers last year in Super Bowl XLVII, attracting greater viewership than the Olympics, the NCAA Final Four or major award shows like the Academy Awards.

"We are extremely pleased about our new agreement with the NFL," said Jeff Krolik, President, FOX Sports Regional Networks, in a statement, at the time the deal was announced. "Being the first U.S. Spanish-language network to broadcast the Super Bowl is a testament to our continuous efforts to strengthen our programming, and further solidify FOX Deportes as the leader in the Latino sports space."

The deal with Fox Deportes - with a reach of more than 20 million cable and satellite households, including 6.5 million viewers in the U.S. - is one of many recent moves by the leagues to tap into a market that continues to rapidly grow, with 53 million Hispanics currently living in the United States and U.S. census reports showing an expected growth by 132.8 million by 2050.

The NFL has expanded their Spanish-language coverage on SiriusXM, which includes live game broadcast along with original NFL programming such as La Onda de la NFL on Piolin Radio (SiriusXM channel 147), hosted by former NFL kicker Benny Ricardo.

The NFL will have also have television presence on Univision as well, with Univision Deportes continuing their partnership with the league to present the eighth installment of Tazón Latino VIII: Desafío NFL, hosted by Fernando Fiore, which features Hispanic celebrities attempting four football skill challenges that include the Quarterback Challenge, Training Relay and Touchdown Celebration, One Minute Drill, and the Verizon Obstacle Course.

This year's Tazón Latino: Desafío NFL participants includes former Miss USA Susie Castillo, award-winning chefs Aarón Sanchez and Lorena Garcia, Mauricio Umansky of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Univision's Carlos Calderón, Primer Impacto's Jackie Guerrido, República Deportiva host Felix Fernandez, and República Deportiva "Senadora" Natalia Saenz; with the show will airing nationally on Univision Network and Univision Deportes Network on Saturday, February 1.

"Clearly, the Hispanic market has, and continues to be, a major priority for us," Peter O'Reilly, vice president for fan strategy and marketing for the NFL, said to the New York Times"We have a large and growing Hispanic fan base, and we're seeing growth among the more Spanish-dominant segment."

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