Longtime sports television executive Ray Warren is retiring early next year five decades in the media business.
Currently the president of Telemundo Deportes, Warren will depart the network after its coverage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar in November. He has spent the past 15 years at NBCU, including the past six running Telemundo’s sports division.
“Ray has been an invaluable member of our executive leadership team since he joined Telemundo. His leadership of the 2018 men’s World Cup in Russia and 2019 women’s World Cup in France has proven an unparalleled foundation for him and the Telemundo Deportes team to lead the most ambitious live, multiplatform coverage of the global tournament from Qatar this fall,” Telemundo chairman Beau Ferrari said in a statement. “Ray has been a relentless advocate and contributor to Telemundo’s positioning as a premier sports brand among US Hispanics. We are extremely thankful for his contributions, leadership and dedication to Telemundo Deportes’ world-class sports operation—and for developing a seasoned and experienced team that will continue to lead our efforts following the Qatar World Cup.”
Warren led Telemundo Deportes through the World Cup in Russia in 2018, followed by the women’s World Cup from France the following year. In addition, he oversaw the network’s first-ever men’s FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Warren was also responsible for Telemundo’s acquisition and coverage of Copa America from Brazil in 2019—and in 2020 he spearheaded the purchase of the exclusive U.S. media rights to Liga MX’s Club Deportivo Chivas de Guadalajara—to complement the network’s soccer line-up, including the exclusive Spanish-language rights of the English Premier League.
“Since my first day in the business and through the last fifteen years at Comcast, NBCUniversal and Telemundo, it has been a great journey and an amazing ride,” Warren added. “I’m looking forward to one last chapter with my partners at Telemundo and my extremely talented crew at Telemundo Deportes, the best I’ve ever worked with. We will bring the most authentic and innovative World Cup coverage to all ‘fútbol’ fans across the country. I’m extremely grateful to my mentors, colleagues, friends and family for their guidance and support along the way.”
Warren also oversaw the recent coverage of his network’s first Super Bowl telecast. He said Telemundo Deportes helped draw viewers in through the similarities between American football and the Hispanic audience’s beloved soccer, or fútbol.
“You can’t just put a game on and hope,” Warren said at the Adweek Elevate: Hispanic TV Summit earlier this year. “You really have to create the demand. So, the World Cup inside of the Super Bowl blended the two together and showed all of the assets we have at NBCUniversal—and how we can use all of those assets inside the Super Bowl inside the World Cup and connect those two audiences. Wherever the Hispanic audience is, we want to be there for them and make sure they are involved in it.”
Warren joined Telemundo in 2016 from NBC Sports, where he was EVP and CRO of NBC Sports Regional Networks. Warren has held several senior-level positions at leading advertising and media companies, including serving as President of Carat Media Group Americas, Managing Director of OMD USA, and President and CEO of Raycom Sports, where he led the company’s expansion from a regional sports marketer to a national sports content company. He also held several senior sales positions at ABC, where he sold the first “million-dollar minute” in the 1985 Super Bowl.