Iris Cisneros & Ana Caty Hernández break glass ceiling: first 2 women-team in TV booth to broadcast men’s pro team sports event in history of U.S. TV regardless of language

From left to right: Univision Deportes sportscasters Ana Caty Hernández, Cristina Romero, and Iris Cisneros from press box level at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico on March 10, 2018 (Courtesy: Univision Deportes via Twitter)
By Oliver Tse
Twitter: @workingnow88

Published March 9, 2018. Updated March 11 and July 22, 2018

DORAL, FLORIDA and MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – For the first time in the history of U.S. sports television regardless of language, predominately Spanish-language sports media entity Univision Deportes will deploy deployed a team of 2 qualified women to broadcast a men’s professional sports event live from a broadcast booth at the stadium.

28-year-old Mexican sportscaster Iris Cisneros broke the news via Twitter that she will be moving to the U.S. to work for Univision Deportes as play-by-play announcer of men’s and women’s fútbol (soccer).

Cisneros will call called play-by-play for one the second half of the Liga MX match Club América vs Club León live from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Saturday March 10 at 9:55pm ET/6:55pm PT live on over-the-air Univision Network and Univision Deportes Network (UDN). (Veteran Univision Deportes play-by-play announcer Pablo Ramírez will call the other called the first half.)

Satellite television company Sky Sports México, where Cisneros last worked, promoted her to narradora in 2017.  She called play-by-play of English Premier League & FA Cup, La Liga & Copa Del Rey of Spain, and Ascenso MX (Mexican Division 2) fútbol matches off monitor from a studio in Mexico City.

Cisneros, who entered a talent contest on Mexican free-to-air TV network Televisa in November 2011, broke through over 5 years later to become the first second Spanish-language female sports TV announcer in Mexico to call play-by-play of men’s professional team sports.

(July 22, 2018 correction: Gaby Fernández de Lara was the first Mexican woman to call play-by-play of a live men’s professional team sports event on Spanish-language television when she called the Puebla vs Cruz Azul Liga Mexicana match on Televisa Deportes on April 18, 2004.)

Furthermore, Univision Deportes will assign assigned 2 women to the TV broadcast booth, as 27-year-old Mexican sportscaster Ana Caty Hernández has also been was assigned to the telecast as a match analyst (co-commentator). A graduate of ITESM (Monterrey Tech), Hernández has been with Univision Deportes since 2013 as an anchor and correspondent for its nightly sports news program Contacto Deportivo.

Hernández began providing match analysis during both men’s and women’s fútbol match telecasts on Univision Deportes Network in January 2018.

The third woman on camera during the telecast will be was Mexican sportscaster Cristina Romero, who will serve served as the touchline reporter.

Univision Deportes President Juan Carlos Rodríguez is yet another sports television executive who “worships at the church of what’s working now”, as he noticed both the positive publicity value and sponsor acceptance of qualified women broadcasting men’s professionals sports events on television as play-by-play announcers and co-commentators/match analysts. Rodríguez has decided to go “all-in” on Saturday March 10 by sending 3 women on-camera, including 2 women in the TV booth, for the best live sports event of the day available to Univision, scheduled in the best available time slot (7pm in Los Angeles, where over 5 million people of Mexican heritage live) to maximize the audience for the telecast.

ESPN started the trend in May 2017 when it assigned 52-year-old English-language television play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins to call play-by-play of one NFL Monday Night Football game in September 2017. Multiple U.S. TV networks, in both English and Spanish, followed by assigning dozens of qualified women to broadcast men’s team sports events.

I will update this blog article with statements from Univision Deportes officials, as well as from Cisneros and Hernández, as they become available.

March 11, 2018 update: 3 video clips below from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico on March 10, 2018 (Courtesy Univision Deportes):

1. Half-time video segment featuring the on-camera women working at Univision Deportes with their thoughts on their company’s #EllasTambiénJuegan (They also play) publicity campaign to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.

2. The “Gol” call of Iris Cisneros, along with analysis by Ivan “Bam Bam” Zamorano and Ana Caty Hernández, during the second half of the match telecast.

3. An interview of Iris Cisneros and Ana Caty Hernández after the broadcast by Cristina Romero.

About the author: Oliver Tse operated Oliver Tse Management Group in 2006-2009 to secure product endorsement opportunities for poker players and broadcast talent appearing on televised poker events such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the World Poker Tour (WPT), and the NBC Sports National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Among his clients were 3 out of 9 players at the 2007 WSOP Main Event Final Table airing on ESPN (including the champion), the first woman to win a mix-gender WPT event (at the 2008 WPT Celebrity Invitational), and the first female sportscaster on U.S. Spanish-language television who made a successful career switch to poker announcing and hosting and became the original “Voice of Poker in Latin America.” Tse’s clients were deployed as brand ambassadors to emerging international markets for poker including Germany, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico. From 1995 through 2007, Tse founded and operated, an Internet-based marketing business of televised soccer products for clients including ESPN, FOX Sports, and GOLTV. He holds a master’s degree in Financial Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.