North American game broadcasts in different languages have been around for a long time, but there have been some notable expansions there over the past few years. Those include CBC’s Hockey Night In Punjabi, the Clippers’ new Korean and Spanish feeds, a CFL game broadcast in Cree this summer, and Apple TV+’s forthcoming plans for MLS broadcasts in French and Spanish.
In Spanish in particular, recent developments have included MLB Network broadcasting the ALCS and NLCS in Spanish and Peacock broadcasting the forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Spanish. And now, as part of their special programming around Hispanic Heritage Month and the New York Rangers‘ own Hispanic Heritage Night on Thursday, MSG will offer their first-ever Spanish-language broadcast of a Rangers’ game. Here’s more on that from a release:
As part of ‘Rangers Hispanic Heritage Night’ at MSG this Thursday, MSG Networks will be providing viewers with a Spanish-language audio broadcast of the Rangers game versus San Jose that night. The additional audio will be available by selecting the SAP setting on the broadcast, marking the first time the network has ever offered a Spanish audio call of an NHL regular season game.
The alternate audio will feature veteran Spanish broadcaster Octavio Sequera, who will handle both play-by-play and color commentary. A Venezuela native, Sequera worked as a Spanish radio analyst for the Florida Panthers from 2014-2017 on ESPN Deportes Miami. He later went on to became the first Spanish radio analyst for the Cleveland Browns in 2018.
The versatile broadcaster has nearly two decades of experience covering marquee sporting events around the world including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Baseball Classic, NASCAR Sprint Cup, World Cup, Summer Olympics and more. Throughout his career, Sequera has also produced Spanish content for the MLS and served as a writer and editor for NHL’s official Spanish website that launched in 2019. He is currently only the seventh journalist from Venezuela to ever be named to the prestigious Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
While this is only a one-night setup at the moment, it’s still an interesting thing to see. Many NHL teams have at least dipped their toes in the Spanish-language broadcasting waters over the years, including the Chicago Blackhawks, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Los Angeles Kings, the Arizona Coyotes, the aforementioned Florida Panthers (who Sequera called select games for last season), and the Dallas Stars (who Sequera called a game for last season). A New York Times feature last year had the Blackhawks, Golden Knights, and Kings listed as regularly broadcasting games in Spanish on the radio.
And there are further efforts to boost Spanish-language hockey coverage under way as well, including a Spanish-language NHL website (launched in 2019) and ESPN’s recently-gained international rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. The MSG/Rangers effort here is of more limited scope, but it is still a notable step. And it’s a good way for MSG to close out their Hispanic Heritage Month programming. We’ll see if it leads to anything more.