Sports

The most human side of ‘El Tigre’ Azcárraga, the feared owner of Televisa, that few got to know

A Emilio Azcarraga Milmoformer owner of Televisa, was given the nickname of ‘The Tiger’ for, they say, his tendency to launch himself with precision on what he wanted and desired. His employees also called him that because they were afraid of angering him and that on impulse he would mistreat and humiliate them if they did not meet his expectations.

Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, the powerful former president of the Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa, died;  at the age of 66 in Miami, USA in 1997 (Photo: Reuters).

Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, the powerful former president of the Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa, died at the age of 66 in Miami, USA in 1997 (Photo: Reuters).

Azcárraga Milmo accumulated countless stories during his lifetime, many of them describing him as a superb man who boasted of making television for a screwed-up Mexican society, temperamental with employees who did not wear the company badge correctly, or who at the same time The least provocation vetoed actors, actresses or artists, even if they were the stars of the moment.

But is that “you could not fail the Tiger, it was that easy, he would not forgive you a (…), he was angry because that was his demand and it is the best thing that you can work with people who demand”, defends Juan Dosal, a sports commentator, who got to know the deceased owner of Televisa up close and came to ask him for a very special favour.

A striker for Club Deportivo Toluca from 1958 to 1971, the General —as he was known on the pitch— became one of Televisa’s star storytellers in the 1980s and part of the 1990s in his retirement, as well as a sports analyst for some news spaces, where he came to replace headline journalists such as Guillermo Ochoa (vetoed for his interview that the government did not like in 1988) or María Victoria Llamas (who left the television station due to differences in the treatment of certain social issues).

It was in a substitution when Juanito —that’s what the businessman called him— understood the esteem that Azcárraga Milmo had for him, because shortly after Colombia gave up on hosting the 1986 World Cup, the former soccer player assured in full broadcast that Mexico was the ideal country for the sporting event. His words rang out and he was soon summoned to the boss’s offices.

“‘Let’s see, Juanito, I’ll give you 20 minutes to make me an executive card and explain it to me perfectly…'”, said the commentator in a conversation with Jorge van Rankin and Juan Carlos Gabriel de Anda. According to the former player, this is how the proposal that led Mexico to become the venue for the 1986 World Cup was born.

From that championship in which the Mexican National Team won its fifth game, Argentina and Maradona the Cup and Televisa took over the coverage, Dosal only remembers what happened afterwards and, perhaps, what sealed the loyalty and affection that he gave to the deceased owner of Televisa.

Juan Dosal has four children and of them, Rebeca —who lived in Pittsburgh, USA— suffered from a heart problem for which she needed a transplant. One day, she recalled the General talking to the drivers, motivated by her concern, she went to the Tigre offices in Televisa Chapultepec to ask for help. “I arrive, I touch him, he comes out, he tells me ‘wait for me a moment, Juanito’; minutes later he comes out and tells me ‘let’s go’, then he grabs and we got into his car, he was driving and I was next to him, ‘let’s see, Juanito , what is offered to you’, ‘look, I have a daughter like this, like this and like that, I need 315 thousand dollars for your heart transplant‘.’El Tigre’ at that moment ordered the money to be transferred, “he gave it to me, like that, no ‘hey, for when (I pay you)’, nothing.”

The gesture brought them closer in their friendship, until the death of El Tigre in April 1997.

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