Univision Communications Inc. announced the appointment of David Downs to the position of President of Sports, effective immediately. Downs, who replaces Stephen J. Solomon, will be based in New York.
As Vice President of Univision Sports since 1999, Downs has been instrumental in developing winning sports programming for the Univision Network and Univision-owned cable station Galavision. Most recently, Downs was responsible for acquiring the 2002 and 2006 broadcast rights to the most watched sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. In addition to the FIFA World Cup, Downs secured the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast rights to other FIFA soccer events, including the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2001, 2003 and 2005 FIFA Confederations Cups, World Youth and U-17 Championships. Downs also played an instrumental role in obtaining the exclusive North American broadcast rights to Copa America, one of the world's most prestigious soccer events, for the 2001 and 2003 tournaments.
In addition to solidifying Univision's position as the leader in soccer coverage in the United States, Downs was responsible for launching "Solo Boxeo," which has quickly become the most popular boxing program on English or Spanish-language Network television.
"David is a first-rate executive whose leadership in the development of Univision's sports programming makes him the ideal person to take the reins as President of the division," said A. Jerrold Perenchio, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Univision. "With his extensive industry knowledge and outstanding track-record, David has demonstrated that he is the right person to secure the future sports lineup at Univision, Galavision and at our new network, which we expect to be up and running in January of 2002."
"I look forward to working in this new capacity at Univision Sports," Downs said. "Univision is the clear leader in Spanish-language sports television, providing the Hispanic community with comprehensive coverage and analysis of the most exciting games, matches, fights and tournaments in the world. I am excited to continue working with such a talented team of executives to provide our audience with the most popular sports programming available on television today."
Prior to his role at Univision, Downs worked at ABC Television Network for 21 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Network Operations and Development. In that position, he was responsible for managing and supervising day-to-day network operations as well as building new business. During the time Downs was the senior programming executive for ABC Sports, he brought ABC to its prominent position in soccer coverage among English-language networks by televising the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups, as well as Major League Soccer from 1996 to the present.