The NFL Seeks to Score Big With Hispanic Markets

Super Bowl XLIV will unveil an unprecedented attempt to appeal to the U.S.-Latino population.

By Alice Gomez and Lucia Matthews | Diálogo PR, San Diego, CA
Barton Silverman | The New York Times

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning talks to reporters during a Media Day news conference at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Both the Colts and the New Orleans Saints met with reporters on hand to cover the Super Bowl.


It is official, Super Bowl XLIV will be a faceoff between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida on Feb 7.  More and more U.S. sports leagues are courting the lucrative Hispanic market in attempt to tap into an aggressive fan base ready to shell out consumer dollars.  The NFL’s strategic positioning and innovative marketing efforts for this season’s big game will allow them to do just that.  

Often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Latin America’, Miami offers a definitive Latino flair to this year’s Super Bowl.  The region boasts a population that is more than 62 percent Hispanic decent according to the 2007 U.S. Census.  The population has made its mark.  The South Florida vibe is unmistakably Latino.  The music, the food, the fashion – the region is rich in Hispanic culture to the very core.    

Miami-Dade County is no stranger to the Super Bowl.  This will be the record breaking 10th time the Super Bowl will be held in this part of the country.  On one level the choice is rational- the weather is ideal, the beaches are beautiful, the atmosphere is fun and the tourist industry can accommodate the crowd.  On another and most likely more influential level the choice is strategic.  What better way to captivate the Hispanic market than to bring the game to the famed Latino hotspot. 

The NFL vamped its push towards U.S. Hispanics in recent years.  Marketing, advertising and sponsorship dollars as well as innovative grassroots initiatives have all been cultivated with the new target demographic in mind.

Their efforts seem to be making an impact.  In the 2009 regular season Hispanic viewership averaged 1.1 million.  This is an increase from the 2003 season’s average of 780,000 Hispanic viewers per regular season game.   Increased growth is especially critical in the down economy that has forced the NFL to downsize almost 14 percent of its workforce.   

In fact, almost every U.S. professional sports league has joined the mad dash to reach Latino populations.  Whereas traditionally boxing and soccer thrived on Latino fandom, other leagues are now vying for a chunk of the pie.  The NBA launched large-scale marketing efforts including Spanish-language radio broadcasts and team websites and community-engaging events.  The MLB, NHL and even NASCAR have similar campaigns underway. 

The big push towards Hispanic consumers is in part due to the quality of fanship they offer.  Latinos tend to be ardent fans with strong home team convictions.  Simply look at the level of dedication Hispanics have for their beloved fútbol teams such as San Diego’s new Flash Soccer Club and it is easy to understand what has U.S. professional sports leagues salivating.  

It is popular industry knowledge the Hispanic consumer purchasing power is expected to reach $1 trillion this year.  High levels of extreme fandom coupled with abundant consumer dollars have motivated sports leagues to seriously re-evaluate their efforts towards the Latino population. 

Super Bowl XLIV will showcase a full on attempt to captivate Hispanic audiences.  The NFL is pushing its NFLHispanic.com website even more than ever.  This site is designed as a tool to attract potential marketers to buy into their 360 degree platform approach to reach the Hispanic demographic.  This approach allows brands to reach the segment at every angle from television, online, radio, print, calendar events to grass-roots efforts.  Viewers can expect a markedly overt Hispanic overtone for this year’s championship game. 

The key to success when communicating with Hispanics is to appeal to the segment rather than target them.  Messaging should resonate with the diverse peoples who identify as being Hispanic in order to truly grab their attention.  NFLHispanic.com states over 2.5 million more Hispanics on average watched last year’s Super Bowl XLIII than the World Cup Final.  Perhaps the league already has the field of cultural marketing figured out. 

***To learn more about Diálogo PR, visit http://www.prdialogo.com.



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