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Eli Velazquez: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month                      


September 26, 2023

Eli Velazquez is Executive Vice President of Sports for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, where he leads the network’s award-winning sports division, Telemundo Deportes, with oversight of sports production, programming, acquisitions, operations, and content. He is also responsible for the management and execution of major Spanish-language event coverage, including FIFA World Cup™ properties, the Olympic Games, NFL Sunday Night Football, U.S. Soccer Federation matches, Premier League, and Liga MX’s Chivas de Guadalajara, working closely with NBC Sports and Peacock. Additionally, Eli serves as the Executive Champion of NBCUniversal’s Unidos Employee Resource Group. In his role as Executive Champion, Eli supports Unidos’ leaders and its mission to unite, educate, and empower accomplished and aspiring Hispanic professionals in a community experience to realize professional goals.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and why being Hispanic is important to you personally and within your role at NBCUniversal?   

I’m a Bronx-born New Yorker with Puerto Rican roots.  Thankfully, my diverse upbringing exposed me to different cultures and backgrounds at an early age and instilled in me a deep appreciation for inclusivity and cultural diversity. Being Hispanic holds significance for me, as it connects me to my family's traditions and their hard-working and aspirational nature in the pursuit of happiness and belonging. At NBCUniversal, I'm committed to promoting Hispanic opportunities across the company, especially in our sports coverage and engagement with the bilingual communities we serve. 

You serve as the Executive Champion of Unidos. What drew you to serve in this leadership role?   

I would like to say that I actively pursued the opportunity, but a colleague from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team approached me to serve.  Service is in my DNA, thanks to my parents, but I typically kept it within the groups I work or my own team. This opportunity presented a chance to extend my assistance to the broader company and community, and I'm grateful for that. As Executive Champion, I support regional leaders, serve as a sounding board, encourage collaboration across regional markets, and leverage my network wherever I can. The credit for Unidos' impact goes to the leaders in the regions who actively identify opportunities and promote understanding and inclusivity.  

How is Unidos is empowering Hispanic professionals at NBCU?  

For those in leadership roles, Unidos offers a unique opportunity to do good while enhancing personal growth. It combines leadership lessons, organization skills, and the rewards of making a meaningful impact. These experiences boost confidence and self-reliance, often leading to greater awareness of these individuals' importance within the organization and motivate them to advance their careers. Additionally, it enriches the broader Hispanic/Latino business community, allowing members to share their experiences with the next generation of leaders. 

You are also the Executive Vice President of Sports, overseeing Telemundo Deportes. As you know, Telemundo reaches 95% of Hispanic Households, and a large driver of this is Sports. Can you speak to some of Telemundo and Telemundo Deportes’ accomplishments over the past year?  

Our Enterprise Group has done an amazing job of developing content across platforms.  We've embraced innovative approaches, launching Telemundo Plus properties and premium reality programs like Los 50 and the returning favorite, Exatlón.  Our scripted shows like Vuelve a Mi push the boundaries of drama and excitement. In Sports, my predecessor coined the phrase that we are “The Home of the Biggest, Best, Global Sports,” and we’ve lived up to the title with record-breaking success at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023. We've secured exclusive partnerships with the U.S. Soccer Federation and Chivas, and we continue to showcase the best soccer from Europe with the Premier League. Planning is well underway for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2026. 

What are you most excited about for the second half of 2023 and early 2024?   

I'm deeply engaged in our cross-platform work, driven by the desire to entertain, inspire, and inform our audiences.  As a voracious consumer of content across genres, especially sports, I understand the emotional connection formed through the stories we tell. Whether it's our unique NFL Sunday Night Football coverage, the Premier League, U.S. Soccer, World Cup qualifiers, or Chivas, the remainder of 2023 and early 2024 provide opportunities to strengthen our connection with fans and those who appreciate what we do and how we do it.