Telemundo has the exclusive U.S. Spanish language broadcast rights to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The company has devoted a ton of resources to coverage of this iconic global event — which includes dispatching the Noticias Telemundo team to the Middle-Eastern nation.
Julio Vaqueiro anchored Telemundo’s flagship 6:30 p.m. newscast from Doha, Qatar during the first week of the World Cup in late-November, and it paid dividends from a ratings perspective.
According to live plus same day data from Nielsen for the time period of Nov. 21, 2022 (when the Cup kicked off)- present , Noticias Telemundo is averaging 1.2 million total viewers. That’s +42% from the prior four-weeks (before the start of the World Cup), when the newscast was averaging 848,000 total viewers. In addition to 1.2 million total viewers, Noticias Telemundo is also averaging 440,000 adults 25-54 in the same time period. That’s +48% from the prior four weeks, when the newscast was averaging 298,000 A25-54.
After a stint back in the friendly confines of Telemundo’s Miami HQ, Vaqueiro is back in Doha in time for the World Cup Final and third-place match (Sunday and Saturday, respectively), and he’ll anchor the newscast from Doha through Monday.
Arantxa Loizaga, who anchors the network’s late-night newscast, also anchored her show from Doha while also reporting for the flagship newscast. Fellow Telemundo anchor Nacho Lozano was also on the ground doing reporting along with senior correspondents Cristina Londoño and Rogelio Mora-Tagle, who have been in Qatar throughout the tournament.
For the 6:30 p.m. newscast, Vaqueiro and the team have broadcast at 2:30 a.m. from Qatar. The network’s 11:35 late night newscast, helmed by Loizaga, was broadcasting at 7:30 a.m. local time in Doha. Certainly abnormal hours for these two anchors, but they’re enjoying the ride, so far.
We spoke with Vaqueiro Friday morning about his experience broadcasting from Qatar.
“It has been an incredible experience. Qatar is a very different country to what we know; a rich country in culture and tradition, very different to what we’re used to,” said Vaqueiro. “Of course, every time we do the newscast from outside the studio, it’s a completely different setting. It’s challenging, the whole team works harder. Everybody has to be more focused or things can get out of hand. It’s a challenging experience, but it’s also a very enriching experience. We learn a lot and I have to say we enjoy bringing them [Noticias Telemundo viewers] the news from the places where the news is happening.”
Noticias Telemundo coverage from Qatar has not exclusively focused on the matches, the players and stories behind each team. The program has also explored the issue of LGBTQ laws in Qatar, the role of migrant workers played in preparing the country for the World Cup and a series of stories explaining Qatar’s history, architecture and culture.
“At the end this isn’t a story only about sports, it’s also about human beings and relationships between people and countries coming together to support their teams,” said Vaqueiro. “So that’s one big part of it. And also, we are working on trying to understand this country and learn about this culture and try to bring our audience with us to discover this whole different world for Western civilization.”
There have been various reports of foreign news organizations having issues with the Qatari government. When asked if he and the Telemundo team have had any types of entanglements with government officials as a result of their reporting, Vaqueiro said that his team has not, at least not yet.
“I have to say that our experience, thankfully has been very positive. We’ve been welcomed and people have been helpful,” said Vaqueiro. “In general, people in Qatar, at least what I’ve felt, is that they are happy to have people from all over the world in Doha. I understand there have been some issues with other organizations, but so far we haven’t had any of those experiences.”
It hasn’t been all work and no fun out in Qatar for the news team. Vaqueiro had the chance to see Mexico play in person. Results for El Tri were disappointing this time around (they failed to make it out of the group stage). However, the experience was still very enjoyable.
“We didn’t do that well, but it’s always nice to see Mexicans supporting the same team and singing the national anthem and coming together to support our team,” said Vaqueiro. “It’s too bad it didn’t work out, but we’ll do better next time.”
That may very well be the case — Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will have home field advantage as co-hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and perhaps Telemundo viewers will see Vaqueiro on-site delivering the news once again.