Spanish language broadcasts of state soccer tournament a hit with Hispanic communities

The Spanish television broadcasts from the Nebraska boys state soccer tournament are a big hit.

News Channel Nebraska along with sister companies Telemundo Nebraska and Radio Lobo are providing live video coverage in Spanish of Columbus, Grand Island, Schuyler, South Sioux City, Omaha South and Lexington throughout the tournament. All six schools have large numbers of Hispanic students.

“I honestly think it’s such a great idea, and I’m so glad that they are doing it,’’ South Sioux City coach Lupe Gonzalez said. “I really appreciate they are doing it for all the parents who can’t get out of work. For them to watch the game in their own language is just tremendous.’’

The coverage in Spanish is airing on the NCN state network in South Sioux City (Channel 15.1), Norfolk (Channel 35.1), Columbus (Channel 48.1), Grand Island (Channel 30.1) and Beatrice (channel 21.1). The games are being broadcast on ncnsportsnow.com and available on Roku by searching News Channel Nebraska-Norfolk.

Mike Flood, owner of News Channel Nebraska, Telemundo Nebraska and Radio Lobo in Omaha, saw the opportunity. RosAnna Salcido, general manager of Telemundo Nebraska and Radio Lobo, said it’s a historical moment for Nebraska.

“NCN exists to support all high school activities. By allowing our Spanish language staff to cover these soccer games in Spanish, families, supporters, the community and fans across the globe can watch their kids play while listening to play-by-play coverage in their first language,” Flood said in a statement.

Reaction was so positive after the games shown Wednesday that Thursday night’s showdown between Lexington and Columbus was scheduled to be broadcast live at the Majestic Theatre in Lexington. Admission was free.

Gonzalez said he’s seen lots of positive comments from people in the South Sioux City community. He expects interest to be huge for the 18-3 Cardinals’ 9 a.m. semifinal Saturday with Schuyler (18-2).

He said it’s a neat thing to see both teams and their many Hispanic players advance.

“It really shows the quality of the kids, the quality of the school and the quality of the programs,’’ Gonzalez said. “We are improving and we are getting to where we want our boys to be and being successful.’’

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