Legendary Telemundo soccer broadcaster Andrés Cantor was one of the many honorees at Tuesday night’s Sports Emmy awards in New York, winning the Emmy for Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish. It was the second consecutive win and 5th Emmy overall for Cantor, 55, who will once again lead Telemundo’s coverage at the World Cup next month in Russia.
Perhaps the most famous Spanish-speaking sports broadcaster in America, and the man who popularized his now ubiquitous “Goooooooooool” call in the U.S., Cantor chatted with Awful Announcing just moments after receiving his Emmy about the World Cup and how Telemundo’s coverage for its American audience will be impacted by the U.S. Men’s National Team’s absence from this year’s competition.
Congratulations, first of all
Does winning these Emmys get old?
No, it doesn’t. Like I said on stage, I was never expecting back to back, really. I mean, it’s wonderful. I’m still trembling. It never gets old, receiving the recognition from the Academy.
Getting ready for June?
Getting ready for June. It’s very exciting, this [win] is gonna pump me up even more. We’re 37 days away, so I’m counting the days to leave to Russia.
Is it weird having the broadcast rights in the U.S. and the U.S. team not being in the World Cup?
It’s a pity. It’s really a shame that they didn’t qualify. Obviously, we all wanted the U.S. national team there. It was a big, big blow, and it’s going to be kind of weird to call a World Cup…this is probably, I believe this is going to be my first World Cup calling without the U.S. So it’s definitely going to be different.
Does that kind of change the way you look at things, or will things be all Mexico-centric now?
No. It was never going to be all Mexico-centered. We at Telemundo are going to cover all 32 teams. We have, obviously 70 percent of our country’s Hispanic population is from Mexico, but we treat this sport with the utmost respect to everyone. It’s going to be weird not having the U.S., obviously, but we will focus on Mexico as well as Argentina, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, all the Latin American countries. There’s a Latin American country in every group, so hopefully we will take care of all the nationalities that will be watching our broadcast.
Is there a match in the group stage that you’ve looked ahead at that you’re really looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to Mexico-Germany, which could be the deciding game for Mexico in the group stage. It’s their first match, and then they get Korea and then they play Sweden. So depending on how they do against Germany— which is the ultra-favorite to win the World Cup, not just the group— that will probably pretty much dictate how Mexico does in the rest of the group phase.
I’m looking forward to calling Argentina, my home country, games and to see how Lionel Messi, if Messi can win the World Cup this time around. So I’m pretty much looking forward to all the games that I’m going to be calling, but with Mexico-Germany being the first game and Argentina-Iceland, their first game as well, it should be interesting.
For English-speaking fans in the United States, which our site audience is geared towards, how do you try to get them excited for a World Cup where their home country isn’t in it?
Well because I think the World Cup has an appeal like no other sporting event in the world. It has great stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and like Leo Messi. They are obviously like the LeBron James, the Michael Jordan of futbol, soccer. And people in the U.S. usually gather around big sporting events, like we see every four years with the Olympics. With the Winter Olympics, perhaps we don’t get to know the athletes that much throughout the four years that they compete, but then when it comes down to the Winter Olympics [games], everyone’s glued to the TV. And this also happens with the Summer Olympic games.
So I think there’s always an appetite here, whether you have a country or not, to watch a good World Cup soccer game. And there are enough stories around the teams and the players that are going to make it attractive to those that do not have any sense of belonging with their national teams in it.
Last question: What are you looking forward to the most for this World Cup?
For it to begin [laughs]. It’s been a long road. It’s been a long wait, and we are going to put together a great show at Telemundo. And I’m really looking forward for June 14 and finally to start feeling the adrenaline just like the players will and just get the ball rolling.
Image via Shlomo Sprung