Hugo Bernal's Passion for Sportscasting Connects Spanish Speaking Sports Fans

Covering international sports was not necessarily a planned move in his career, but Hugo Bernal ’11 says working as a broadcast correspondent for ESPN Deportes, ESPN's multimedia, Spanish-language sports brand, was an exciting ride. The opportunity came at an early point in his professional life, teaching him to truly seize the moment.

Bernal, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, made his mark on the soccer field at Mercy as a mid-fielder. As an international student studying Communications and Media Arts, getting his bachelor’s degree and gaining experience through internships were his focus. “I had an internship at Disney World and then I worked at the same animation studio that made the movie Ice Age. They were great experiences and great conversation starters.” 

“I joined ESPN Deportes as a production assistant just to see what would happen,” said Bernal. As it turned out, opportunity came knocking, as the network was seeking on-air talent who could cover sports for the Spanish speaking market. This was a broadcast assignment that would put Bernal’s sports reporting broadcasts out to more than 60 countries. “I didn’t know I would be the one. ESPN gets thousands of applications, yet I was on the right track, and I felt prepared.” Bernal attributes his preparation to having learned in a small school setting like Mercy, adding that it allowed him to test his abilities in ways he might not have otherwise tried at a larger school environment. 

As ESPN’s first Spanish speaking production assistant to transition to the role of regular correspondent, he covered soccer, boxing, the World Series and nearly every major sports event covered by ESPN. It was an exciting career that afforded him adventures and excitement he won’t soon forget. Yet, it was March of 2020 that would force him to reevaluate his career path. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel ceased and with much of the sports world on pause, he was seeing his future differently just as his talent contract was about to expire. “I had been travelling all the time, and it sounds fun, and it was…but it takes a toll. I wanted to be there for my family.” 

With his wife expecting his second child, the time felt right for Bernal to make a change. Bernal sought a new opportunity with Acumenian, a boutique technology advisory firm based in Puerto Rico. He now serves as the firm’s Lead Strategic Solutions Advisor, helping to expand its business development strategy for growth in the U.S. Bernal, who now lives with his wife Claudia and two children in Boca Raton, Florida, is excited about helping drive the progress of a company that helps organizations evolve in today’s business world. Additionally, he keeps his connection to his passion for sports through hosting a weekly sports podcast with El TRI Online, which has a fanbase of 30,000 subscribers.
Clearly, undeterred by fear of a new adventure, Bernal believes flexibility in one’s career path is all about believing in one’s capacity to learn on-the-job. “No one is going to learn exactly what they need to use in their next job. Sometimes you’ll learn most of the stuff you use afterwards.” In part, Bernal credits his belief in continuous learning to the process of learning a new language and adapting to life in the United States. Resilience is just one of the things he says navigating life as an international student taught him. “I still have a lot of love and respect for Mercy. It gave me the foundation and allowed me to start an exciting pathway,” said Bernal.