Southern California is known for its beautiful beaches, idyllic weather, and lifestyle of leisure. But, over the past few decades, it has transformed from an English-speaking community into a multicultural, multilingual hub, full of a diverse array of people with roots from all over Latin America.
In October 2012, after recognizing that it was missing out on a key sports-viewing demographic, Time Warner Cable launched its regional Spanish-speaking sports network, Time Warner Cable Deportes. The network features sports coverage 24 hours a day, focusing on exclusive coverage of local teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Galaxy, and the Los Angeles Sparks. “We’re the first-ever regional sports network in Spanish,” says Pablo Urquiza, vice president of Time Warner Cable Deportes. “For the mother ship—which is what I call Time Warner Cable—this is an extremely big deal.”
A native of Buenos Aires, Urquiza was recruited by the higher-ups of the parent company more than two years ago thanks to his reputation for hard work and stellar sports production. He moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to attend Loyola Marymount University, and quickly began making a name for himself in the television field while working at Univision Los Angeles. “When I got to Los Angeles, I didn’t know anybody, so I knocked on the doors of Univision,” Urquiza says. “I used to have to take three buses to get to the Univision studio, which at the time was located inside the Paramount lot.”
He started out as an intern at Univision and rapidly worked his way up through the ranks, filling just about every role imaginable, from cameraman to teleprompter operator to promotions producer. “That’s when luck struck. In 1994, just two months before the World Cup, the group who ran the sports division of Univision jumped to Telemundo. My boss asked for my help, because I liked sports and would work with the department on the side,” he says. “There was not much money to spend on coverage, so I acted as cameraman and producer at the same time, and I even brought in a well-known Mexican journalist. Suddenly, we were getting interviews that the network couldn’t get, so they picked up our coverage. My profile went up a notch.”
Since then, Urquiza became synonymous with unparalleled sports coverage. He worked on three additional World Cups and also covered countless athletic events during his tenure at Univision. “As an Argentinian, I love soccer. Sports coverage was the perfect fit for me, because I love media, I consume a lot of television, and I always wanted to be close to the sport I’m passionate about,” he says.
In 2002, Urquiza also made the jump to Telemundo, serving in different capacities in production and programming for nearly a decade. But, in 2011, he received that fateful call from Time Warner Cable and his career took an exciting, unexpected turn. “I got the phone call on a Friday afternoon. They said they’d like to meet me because they had heard I’d be the best person to lead Time Warner Deportes, the new endeavor they were launching,” Urquiza recalls. “You know when you go into an interview, and halfway through you know you’ll get the job, because you just have a feeling? Well, we hit it off and were on the same page, so I knew it was going to work out. I loved what they said and what they wanted to do—or more specifically, how they wanted to do it. They offered the position to me a week later, and the rest is history.”
Urquiza was tasked with developing and launching Deportes, the first network of its kind. What many people would consider a daunting task—particularly when paired with the pressure that comes with debuting an innovative project with no set examples or framework to follow—Urquiza embraced as a fun, exciting challenge. He decided that he would focus on the groundbreaking sports coverage he was known for, while utilizing this new endeavor to serve the Hispanic community in any way possible. “Time Warner Cable in LA is the largest Hispanic footprint of the company. It’s important that we do a good job and are relevant to the community,” he says. “We want to serve our customers with the right programming, the right people on camera, and the right content.”
Since its formal launch, the company has made waves in the community as a haven for its Spanish-speaking sports fans. In addition to the exclusive Los Angeles sports team coverage, the network has also been able to cover soccer, boxing, and more. Urquiza worked tirelessly to get the network to this point, and he couldn’t be more proud. “Everything I do, I put everything I have into it. The passion I have for what I do is what gives me the edge to succeed,” he explains.
The television veteran also decided that Time Warner Cable Deportes should be more than just an equal-opportunity employer—he wants the company to help people just like him, who are hard-working and focused, and are willing to do anything to get their foot in the door. “The sports business is very difficult to break into; there aren’t many opportunities for minorities or women,” Urquiza says. “I want to open doors for people who want to break into the business, and to lead by example. Thirty years from now, I want someone to thank me for giving them an opportunity and to say that I helped show them the way. This, for me, is a big deal.”