Touchdown Kansas City

Driving back from their first ever game at Memorial Stadium, Oscar Monterroso and Kike Morales stopped at a gas station to fill up and grab some snacks. Walking inside, the two were immediately complimented by Husker fans for their broadcasting work.

The duo made history earlier that day as the first ever Spanish broadcasters in Memorial Stadium, calling Nebraska’s 13-10 win over Northwestern.

The game winning field goal was called with a long and simple “It’s goooooooooood” in Spanish, mimicking the famous “goal” calls from Spanish broadcasts of soccer matches. That call was the end result  of a process that took years to complete.

The broadcast was led by color commentator Monterroso and play-by-play announcer Kike Morales, who are a part of Tico Productions. Monterroso is the president and co-founder of the company, which has made significant breakthroughs in broadcasting for a relatively young company.

“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve,” Monterroso said. “We’re proud of what we do and we’re able to deliver quality in our own language.”

The duo is also part of the Spanish broadcast team for all Kansas City Chiefs games and first met through the Chiefs. In 2009, they were offered jobs to headline the broadcast team in Kansas City. They became instant friends and Monterroso offered Morales a spot when he launched his company.

Tico Productions began in 2012 when the focus was not on broadcasting games but rather creating new multimedia stories through video storytelling, photos and other mediums. Despite him founding a new company, Monterroso was also broadcasting Kansas City Chiefs games in Spanish.

It took four years after Tico Productions formed for Morales and Monterroso to get Tico Productions its first major breakthrough.

Tico Sports, a division of Tico Productions led by Monterroso and Morales, helped negotiate a groundbreaking deal with the Chiefs in 2016 that allowed them to broadcast their games.

The 2016 season was a massive success and was a springboard for the company. Morales and Monterroso were able to call Chiefs’ games through their own company. After that season, their business took off.

“After we started with the Kansas City Chiefs, … the [Oakland] Raiders contact us and asked us if we’re able to help them,” Monterroso said.

The Raiders were the second NFL team to work with Tico Productions, beginning in 2017. The decision to branch out from the Chiefs brought new opportunity to the young company, which has since worked part-time with the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

The small Kansas City company branched out, but did not have much of a local footprint. Despite covering the Chiefs, the two still looked for other chances to call anything in the area, no matter the size.

“Sometimes I get invited to do recreational events,” Morales said. “I can tell you it’s the same feeling as calling in front of 80,000 people.”

Their passion drove them to call even more football games. This year, the duo dove into college football and began calling Kansas Jayhawks football games. The most exciting year for Jayhawks football this decade brought along new voices.

While Kansas was a new thrill for the pair, the Monterroso and Morales needed an audience that could match Kansas City’s enthusiasm. That new audience was Nebraska, as they worked out a deal for the two to call Nebraska’s game on Oct. 5 against Northwestern to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. 

“Husker fans are one of the best fans that I have broadcasted,” Morales said. “I became a fan of the Huskers after the game.”

Monterroso and Morales’ radio broadcast marked both of their first times in Memorial Stadium. They were given a tour and said it was one of the greatest experiences they’ve had.

“There is so much history in that place and you can feel the energy,” Monterroso said. “Seeing the Heisman Trophies and the walk with the guys before they get to the stadium, it’s a top of the notch stadium.” 

After seeing the stadium, Monterroso said he was a little nervous for the game. However, it helped him to remember that he was just providing products and he only needed to focus on doing his homework and performing during the game.

Morales on the other hand said his excitement overpowered his nerves.

“I’m not a guy that usually gets nervous, but I was extremely excited to experience and enjoy the game,” Morales said. “It was a great experience and I can’t wait until we get to go to the stadium again.”

Monterroso added that he also became a fan of the Huskers after that game and checks how the team is doing frequently.

After the game, Husker fans shared videos of the Spanish broadcast all over social media, including a video of them enthusiastically calling a touchdown. This was the icing on the cake for Monterroso and Morales and it showed how welcoming Husker fans were to their broadcast.

Monterroso and Morales agree there needs to be more broadcasters in different languages in the U.S. They hope to be part of a process to get more Spanish-speakers to join them in their profession.

Monterroso and Morales encourage the “If Tico Sports can do it, we can do it” attitude to anyone interested in broadcasting in different languages.

One reason they believe reaching people who have a different first language is so important is because they believe broadcasting in someone’s first language gives fans a sense of security.

“I go to a dentist that speaks Spanish, I do my taxes with someone who speaks Spanish, just because I feel like that person is going to understand me better and I feel more secure,” Monterroso said.

As of now, Monterroso and Morales haven’t been invited to broadcast another game, but they mentioned how excited they are for their next call at Nebraska. 

“I will never have enough of this time and this stadium,” Monterroso said. “I don’t think anyone in the world will say that they don’t want to go back to that stadium. Once you feel what it’s like to be a Husker, you will always want to be a part of that.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com