podcast

Fernando Fiore, Legend Soccer Broadcaster | sleon productions Podcast #40

Fernando Fiore is an Argentine television personality known as the co-creator and original host of Lente Loco from 1992 to 1993, and the host of the travel show Fuera de Serie with Sofía Vergara. He is perhaps best known as the host of Republica Deportiva from its debut in 1999 until his departure in 2014. Fiore has anchored Univision’s FIFA World Cup coverage from 1990 until 2014. Fiore, a two-time Emmy Award winner, is also the author of The World Cup: The Ultimate Guide to the Greatest Sports Spectacle in the World. As of 2015, Fiore works as a Bundesliga commentator and a Germany correspondent for Fox Deportes in the United States and Puerto Rico and Fox Sports in Latin America, as well as an English-language studio host for Fox Sports’s soccer coverage.

Transcript

Santiago Leon
Fernando fury s

Unknown Speaker
ready sir, for none

Santiago Leon
no fury man wow my hero. What’s happening?

Fernando Fiore
Hey, you aren’t my hero now, man. I’m sorry, I had to change it, but I wouldn’t make it on time

Santiago Leon
at home. It’s okay man. This is worth it. And hey, whatever it takes, right?

Fernando Fiore
I mean, let me get my video. Do your thing right now you see me?

Santiago Leon
They see you, man. Look at wow look at that room. Yeah, that’s huge.

Fernando Fiore
That’s my office at home

Santiago Leon
What are you up to these days? I mean, are you still with Fox or being sport or

Fernando Fiore
I’m doing a little bit of everything but because of the because of the coffee you know, I cannot travel so in my work with been is been reduced until we can come back to travel to Spain. And Fox I work in usually on in the big events. So I have to wait. This year was no big event and the next year with Gold Cup or whatever happens. Yeah,

Santiago Leon
Hello, hello. And we are here at the Salina productions podcast where we interview entrepreneurs, pioneers of a whole whole different industries. And today we’re into the sports world and one of my childhood heroes, and I’m a huge soccer fan. As you guys know, Fernando fury. He is a longtime legend soccer here and I thought, um, um, states, worked in Univision, be in sport, and of course, like the big World Cups at Fox, and Fernando, welcome to the podcast.

Fernando Fiore
Thank you. Thank you. And you almost made me cry when you say it was from your childhood. But that but there are tears of of joy and happiness because I love I love when people tell me you know, I’ve been watching you for so long. I’ve been in this business for over 30 years. I started in television Telemundo back in 1988. I went to Univision, I spent their 25 years of my life. I did seven workouts with them. So you know I’m really happy that you know that I you know, that was part of you guys and your families for so long. You know?

Santiago Leon
Yeah, I mean, looking at soccer today has grown so much because when I grew up I was born in 85. And I grew up with you contoured got Bertha Longo and I used to also listen to like the radio here in Miami told 16 m m, got a glove, which you were host.

Fernando Fiore
I was I will see you kind of caught on. So in 1998, I had a show there called among friends entering into amigos. That was a great experience. We did that one year 1998. Right. That was the year before I started working with Republican Party and Univision, I remember that I was still doing for that area back then. And so it was imagine I didn’t have cellular phones to call from around the world. So we were calling. I was calling the radio from payphones in in Rome, or in Spain to be able to participate in the show. And and you know, it seems like it was ages ago. And actually it was ages ago, because that was 19 1998.

Santiago Leon
Now, we’ll have to go a little bit a little bit back. Tell us how did you get to the states and how did you get started with broadcasting?

Fernando Fiore
Yeah, when I came to the States, because I’m from Argentina, and I was 19 years old. I was trying to study broadcasting in Argentina, but unfortunately, it was a it was kind of difficult when I graduate from high school because I was 17 back then. And I needed to be 18 to be able to take a test to see if they admitted me in the school. It was a superior Institute of broadcasting. And unfortunately, you know, I have to sit down for a year which I you know, I went to university to do something else but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. And then I have one year have, you know of the Air Force because back in those days, it was mandatory so and the variant in Argentina for one year, and then I decided to move to the US because my family was living in New York back then in 1980. So five years before you were born, I decided to reborn in New Jersey, and the New York area, and I spent the first 10 years working odd jobs, like any other immigrant, and, you know, painting, you know, painting walls or being a driver. I work in a meat factory. And then, finally I got, you know, I got another jobs that they were more what they wanted to do. So I studied tourism, I graduated tourism. I never studied journalism. That wasn’t actually what I wanted to do. I wanted to be more into acting. So I studied theater. I worked in the Twin Towers, I was a tour guide, and observatory deck of the of the Twin Towers. And then I was a tour guy, and when I graduated, I was a tour planet for 10 years until I finally got my break returning one day 1988

Santiago Leon
something that I wish I actually listened to a few podcasts before and a story of yours was huge. Now tell us back in the 80s and obviously, the early 90s was the work of very visible back then because I was hearing is very limited.

Fernando Fiore
Yeah, well, the first work up here for me it was 1982. I saw that with Norberto Longo and Tony tirado, a Peruvian a Peruvian broadcaster famous broadcaster that was in in SI en la cadena picado Spanish international network. That was the origin of Univision. When they were part of Televisa, and those those guys, so that was my first workout that I watched it on TV. It was okay. It was okay. I was watching it on TV and that 1982 you can watch the games. Not every game. I don’t do that. You can watch it every single game. Previous to that in 1980 was a very important tournament Colin won the Alito unify. And I watched it on the Madison Square Garden. It makes a huge screen that they were doing their pay per view at that time. And then by 1986 Yes, we were watching every game on TV, also Univision. And then four years later, it was my first World Cup in 1990. When I was working in Univision, I did I did our postgame show at night in New York, and then I fully started in 94. Working with with Univision and sports and and we deal with Andres Cantona and Norberto Longo and Jesse losada. We do the World Cup in 1994. In the US, that was the first one, then 1998 it was the first World Cup that I was the host that I did in 98 2002 2006 2010. So back in the 80s, and 90s, I’m telling you it was their workouts was somehow okay to watch and easy to find the games. But besides that, nothing I mean, it was pretty much you know, one game that maybe was a rebroadcast from Europe, or something like that, you know, it wasn’t very possible and then then when they I was going to see the NASL at the time the cosmos, right after belay, but still with Beckenbauer, what I used to go to the stadium Channel Nine in in New Jersey used to broadcast the games, but it was very difficult. They they only watched the you know, the only show was probably the the the NASL the soccer ball that he was going to at the end of that final ABC was usually showing that game but not much than that.

Santiago Leon
Now back in 1994 which was my first World Cup in the United States did you what was like the whole ambience back then was it like a new beginning for like the US and soccer back then?

Fernando Fiore
Well, obviously it was a big thing for us. 1990 when we came back to the World Cups finally after 40 years, because us was in 1950 and then nothing until 1990 so we start to pay attention more to soccer in here. And 94 definitely was a big thing for us record attendance on the stadiums that people were involved. I remember that everybody remembers the first day of the workout with oj simpson running in the foreground but the white Bronco and and then Diana Ross missing that missing the penalty without without goalie to start a study in Chicago, so she got was on Michigan No, she got I think it was Chicago,

Santiago Leon
Soldier Field

Fernando Fiore
Soldier Field. And and then, you know that that month was kind of, you know, crazy. And for me in particularly my personal story was, you know, was the breaking point because I was already on TV for six years. And I was doing different things that a people that my colleagues were doing that respected all my colleagues and but they were doing sports and football very serious and, and they thought I was crazy because I was, you know, trying to entertain people and have fun. And also I was paying attention to the people that were watching their workouts, but not necessary that there were fans of soccer all year round, because there were many, many, many millions of people and especially at that time, a lot of women that they didn’t care that much much about soccer, but they were watching the World Cup. So not many people, you know, from our side, we’re paying attention to that occasional viewer. No, they always wanted to take care of the rabid soccer fan that they needed, you know, a lot of information and very specific but the people didn’t pay attention to the casual viewer and that was when I tried to fill the gap. And I tried to get I tried to convince my bosses to be a little more loose 1994 I was crazy enough to do my reports from the workup with a with the national team jerseys. That was insane. I mean nobody did that. You know how come you can go and do a report on the World Cup without students you know on a tie and then people start to like it and enjoy it you know, it was a it was a different atmosphere because you know at the end of the day sports and soccer is an entertainment you know if you know you’re going on you have a good time. I mean you’re not going anymore to the to the soccer stadium not even back then you were going to the soccer stadiums in a suit and tie.

Santiago Leon
Yeah, that was completely different back then. I remember that and you were putting on a whole different type of jerseys but but you made soccer fun it was entertainment. That was what about Yeah. Now um, we went to Fox which is recently what’s the difference between working for a American network and covering soccer versus like Univision or like you know, yeah, Univision

Unknown Speaker
ah one of the language

Fernando Fiore
I you know, I didn’t intend to go to Fox I needed you know, I need to have in my mind to to work on on on the general market and English television does not it was never my dream it was never my desire you know, you know, I you know, I live in this country for four years but I think that I’m still thinking Spanish and you know, and this is no my roots and I work on Spanish TV all my life. So for me, you know, it was a naturally you know, desire to work for the English market but as an ex boss of mine he called me and said Listen, you know, we have a great people here at Fox but we already have a lot of people that are x players or people that they take it so seriously that they tend to explain so much about the game we need someone who bring some craziness like you do you know in Spanish and I said well, he said he said you know English is not my first language and like i said i i don’t like languages pretty much in general also, I think constantly Spanish but he said but if you want me to try I have no problem and and and I was surprised I was embraced by by the general market not that people really like my style. I like the confrontations and they were real with Alexi Lada so we the other day explains to Holden that he always think that the US will win every single game and and sometimes I said you know, guys that I don’t see them playing that Well, I think that Argentina, we beat them, you know, in Copa America Centenario and, and everybody was against me, but you know, but the viewers is that, you know, you know, you were actually right, you know, and then Argentina beat our US team four to one I think it was four to zero. And, you know, and everybody was, you know, Well guys, it wasn’t, you know, crazy, you know, a decision for me to to give this kind of this kind of

was not and I was able to do that over the events called cups. Confederations Cup, the World Cup in Russia, but now I know I know I’m a freelance with them also. So hopefully I will work again next year. I did last year I did the Women’s World Cup and and the Gold Cup. So this year I was supposed to be doing again And some of the big events where, you know, we didn’t have any events. So next year we see next year. Meantime, I’m you know, I went back also to Spanish TV I’m working with being sold. I have a great project, there was a fantastic project that we started at the beginning of this year, that it was a contest that people will be participating in a contest, and then they will have the chance to travel with a celebrity which is me to a Spain to see La Liga game. And, and now we do one trip. It was fantastic. It was a lot of contestants. But then unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep going on to you know, whatever. They open the stadiums again.

Santiago Leon
Yeah, that’s something that we’re all looking forward to, hopefully sooner than later, Fernando. I mean, obviously back in the day, like the whole streaming. I mean, like the whole TV rise was was with Univision, ESPN now has grown. So a couple more networks.

Unknown Speaker
How do you everybody now?

Santiago Leon
Yeah. How do you see it going today? And do you think there’ll be some challenges like like, like the future because right now like to watch the Champions League, you got to pay, you know, money with CBS. But on the Spanish channels, they’re completely free and you can watch it from the app. What do you think about what’s going on today with like the TV rights in soccer?

Fernando Fiore
Well, they’ve been Christian for quite some time, not only soccer, but every every sport The thing is that the main sports in the US like basketball and football and baseball pretty much we got the big networks that they taking care of that because their revenues usually cover the expenses. So they tried to do that. With soccer, it’s a little difficult because the soccer rights are going up so high, that is difficult to then get the return on investment with with sponsorships especially for the for the for the network’s in English in Spanish. That’s why Univision got the chance and Telemundo get the chance to do it for free in their in their network sees because usually the revenue and the sponsors are much better because the viewership is much higher. So you can get the Champions League or the the World Cup in Telemundo and you will get the return on your investment. But for CBS to get the return on investment of a Champions League, which is a neat because not everybody you know, that speaks English know who watches the champion league and especially at 2pm or 11am in the West Coast. So it’s difficult to sell so you have to make the viewers pay for those rights. And that’s why there’s so much paywalls and everybody’s complaining and you know, but unfortunately that’s what it is. We have to admit this is not you know this software is growing and growing every year but still it’s not the same like in our countries for example and and unlike with the Spanish people

Santiago Leon
yeah there’s a lot going on with paywalls with peacock NBC you know not Yeah, you

Fernando Fiore
have to choose now you have to Yeah, you have to choose and see you know, the other thing is that it’s funny because I saw some of my colleagues and friends when they know like grand wall which is a good friend of mine and I we work together in Fox and and we have to get a lot of vendors and and chats and everything but what you know and he goes oh, I don’t know what to do. Because he watches probably six games a day you know and he needs to pay every single day what Pico can CBS Allah says and and you know on ESPN plus and everything but that’s not the regular soccer fan. I mean, people don’t watch six games a day you know even if you love soccer, if you love soccer you don’t watch six games a day because people usually weren’t Yeah,

Santiago Leon
yeah and and and back in the 90s I remember for like like the qualifiers for like the World Cup. I go to a restaurant to watch

Fernando Fiore
Yeah, we come into full circle. This is what happened now we come in full circle now because now the rights are keep going up. And the only difference is that you don’t have to go to a restaurant now you can pay and watch it on home. But also look what happened we’ve been sports been sports got all the quantities for the for the carnival. And then you know the people you know we’re watching it for for free because they have to get into the cable. Once beans for it’s got a problem with xfinity without at&t that is no longer in the major cables and you have to go to the UPS then now you have to pay because being sports he’s not able to get you know the revenue from the from the subscribers on cable. So now you have to pay so now everybody’s complaining Hey, why before we haven’t for free means for now. We have to pay Well, dudes, because nobody complained when being spotted was removed from the big cable channels, you know from the big cable on operators networks. And and now, you know they cannot afford it. So now you have to pay $30 to see

Santiago Leon
one game. It’s more I blues 50 bucks with one of these

Fernando Fiore
two games? Yeah, yeah. $30 per game. If you want to follow Argentina in a double double date, you know, you pay $50 you got both games? Exactly.

Santiago Leon
What will you tell a young journalists that wants to get into broadcasting and sports? What would you tell them today?

Fernando Fiore
Yeah, that’s something that they asked me so many times over the years. And I always have the same answer that he was Pray, pray a lot. Because it’s very difficult. And my, My take is that, you know, with so many ex coaches and ex players, going into the networks and going into the broadcasting is very difficult to find a place for people that are starting to be, you know, analyst or reporters or so on. The other day, I was on Twitter that, you know, that the media will say, oh, that that’s, you know, that’s not true, because you can see there, there are young people like my good friends, Nico Kanter that, you know, that he’s done an X ray, and he made it all the way to the top. And he’s in CVS now. Yeah, but it’s one in a million. You know, and, and, you know, and, and he didn’t depend on his father’s last name, because he worked hard from the very beginning. I know him since he was born. But it’s one kid that also have, you know, a very good, a very good chances, because he learned a lot from his family and his dad, and, and he was able to get that experience. But there are not many, you know, that they can, you know, reach to the top, if you’re not an X player, the only the only job that the x players x coaches are not doing it, is play by play. The day, the day one of these ex athletes, or coaches decided, oh, you know, what, I’m gonna do play my plane said the analyst, then it will be even less job. Because right now, many of the journalists and I say I’m not a journalist, so many of the journalists who studied communications for who decided to be a play by play announcer You know, there are people that they didn’t play the game, because none of the x players want to do play by play because it’s more work is more difficult. It’s more preparation. And, and maybe they don’t have the talent. You know, it’s difficult to be a play by play in one way. So all the exploiters and analysts color commentators, which is fantastic, but that’s those are the positions that they used to be for the young guys that you tell you that they are studied communication that they studied, you know, broadcasting journalism, you know, sports, sports journalism, now, those those, those seats are taken. I got nothing against them, you know, everybody, you know, is free to do whatever they want in their life. Yeah, I for that, man. I’m not a journalist. So I’m an actor, I just they asked me to do sports, and I lost horse and I did it, but I didn’t take the job of anybody else. But my point is that, you know, is basically, is this a call to get it? And it was funny that you asked me that now, because I was reading at a day. And you cannot put an example of, of my friend, Nico, because there are not many there are not many that have reached to the high level of broadcasting in the big networks. If you know if you’re not an expert or a coach,

Santiago Leon
yeah. Nico is a very talented guy. I mean, yeah, a few times on TV. And you’re right. Oh, and you know, like there’s other alternative ways now Nike does you know, some podcasting live stream Yeah,

Fernando Fiore
now. Exactly, exactly. It’s a completely different. It’s a completely different Yeah, but to do a podcast, we don’t we know, do respect. We do a podcast we do. To do a lot of streaming or things on a network. You don’t need to study 40 years of communications. You know what I mean? Yeah, right. You can you can do it for your own good, you know, and be forthright and because you know, you want to study but To tell you the truth so millions of people that are doing podcasts have anything that they don’t have journalism skills, you know, it’s a different world. It’s a completely different world now. Now that is, you know, the same thing with uh, with influencers, we take talk with anything, you know, you see it every day, you know, a couple of guys that I’ve seen and they have about 3 million followers. So it’s a different it’s a completely different spectrum. Now. If you ask Me, if I will, if I wanted to do something in journalism or in broadcasting or unless you want to go, you know, all the way to the top, which you need a journalism, you know, degree you can do a lot of things without, you know, without having to study for four years or five years in university is a completely different thing. And if you want to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or, you know, engineer or you know, anything, or a professor there you need it, no matter why you can go in front of a class and try to, you know, Wang get in and wait and see why even that bad in front of her in front of a phone.

It’s somehow easier.

Santiago Leon
Yeah, it’s quite interesting. Like the times we’re living in, Fernando, what is the best way to reach you online?

Fernando Fiore
Use I use my, my networks very much so because I, I have a you know, I have a good a good sense of playing along with people that the people that that say that you know, that they admire me and they like me and the people that you know, they criticize they also get engaged and have fun, you know, i and i think that you know, that’s the whole thing about you know, it’s a they can reach me in my twitter at Fernando fury. My Instagram is fury. offizielle we only want to see and, and that and eventually I use I also Facebook with Fernando fury offizielle. But I do a lot of campaigns like I was, you know, during this pandemic, I was lucky enough also to get up to get an offer to do TV or you know, to streaming for Central American. So I was knowing we do sports. We were working doing, we did a we do the nice die show that we just finished this weekend. We finished the first the first season 20 shows for the noodles and Salvador is called palabra de Presidente. I did a lot of streaming and chats and zoom and interviews with a lot of my friends. 4k campers in parador suad ecclesiam bat Giovanni sala de se a Pedro tro Leo Marcelo, voila, Medina Tokido Lily Adani Reynaldo read it was it was a it was a great season. I have a 20 interviews that they were really nice, because I have a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. And Gallup alone. And, and I’m also doing a lot of radio. I’m doing a lot of radio. I have also capsules in Spanish called palabra precedented that they are syndicated in Glr network and Sirius XM. So, you know, it’s a lot of a lot of work doing. And I’m doing the broadcast for the entire Miami dmls.

Santiago Leon
That’s nice to me. I didn’t know that. That’s awesome. Oh, wow.

Fernando Fiore
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we we weren’t, we weren’t. The idea originally was that was going to be doing something with a fence, the beginning of the season, but unfortunately, the season was without fans. So they switch me around, and I’m doing the world feed, and I’m doing the pregame postgame, we have a new radio called on site radio is you know, satellite is an internet on site radio. And that’s why we have a host radio analysis or Stock Show during the week that I’m not involved in in that. But then we do the broadcast of the games.

Santiago Leon
Well, I’ll have to check it out. Before we go, will Argentina win the World Cup in your lifetime? You already did twice. Oh, my bad. No. I mean, once again.

Fernando Fiore
Once again, it didn’t 78 and 86. So I I’m sorry. I can’t I can ask for more. I would love to have I would love to have one more. We may see but it’s more and more visible every time I I will I will be content first if we can get a cup of America, which we didn’t have since 1993. And we lost a you know quite a few finals. So yeah, I’m hoping but you know, I don’t hold my breath.

Santiago Leon
interesting perspective. You’re right, like your content with you know, with like, I’m I’m having one or two already, but having one more. It’s okay. If not, but Copa America would be a extra cherry.

Fernando Fiore
I yeah, I saw I saw when we won the last 119 93 in Ecuador. That was long time ago, man.

Yeah, but the stomata That’s right.

That was against Mexico 1983. But the CMA on a Sunday it but that was back in the preview century. So I would love to have one now.

Santiago Leon
Exactly. Anyways, Fernando. You’ve been a amazing guests a huge for mine. And I appreciate you coming on to the to the podcast.

Fernando Fiore
No, it’s all my pleasure. Thank you very much and I’m so glad that you were watching you since you were a kid. Say hello to your family. God bless you and and stay safe and healthy. And it was a pleasure talking to you.

Santiago Leon
God bless you too.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai