Move over futbol and make room for football and basketball

If you have been to a West Coast NFL football game lately, you have seen that the fan base is very diverse and within that very diverse fan base, Latinos are well-represented. Although soccer and baseball have traditionally been the sports of preference among Latinos, as U.S. born and immigrant Latinos assimilate, they are rapidly becoming football and basketball fans. It is not uncommon in a Latino household on a Sunday afternoon for a father to be watching soccer, while his children are watching football.

The NFL and NBA see the potential to capture this market; they realize the Latino population tends to be younger and that the Latino youth demographic is especially positioned to grow significantly. Additionally, Latinos in the U.S. tend to be predominantly male and are increasingly enthusiastic sports fans.

Both the NFL and the NBA are actively seeking to make inroads with the Latino community.

The NFL has a dedicated a Hispanic website www.nflatino.com in partnership with Univision; the league has also forged partnerships with Latino community-based organizations such as the League of American United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest national Latino advocacy group. In 2011, more than half of the league’s teams had events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Although the NBA had previously focused on each team’s locally-based efforts to connect with Latinos, in 2008, the Association created a platform “”éne•bé•a” that allowed it to group all previous Latino efforts and offer a cohesive voice for all campaigns. The league launched a dedicated Hispanic website http://www.nba.com/enebea/ , a partnership with Univision Interactive. For this season, the league launched its “Emoción” campaign designed to generate enthusiasm for the new season. Campaign advertisements aired on television, radio and social media. The NBA also celebrates Noche Latina, a night when the teams show their appreciation for Hispanic fans and heritage with special telecasts and in-arena festivities, including distinctive NBA team uniforms.

Some facts you didn’t know about the NFL and NBA’s outreach to Latinos:

  • In 2011 more U.S. Latinos watched the Super Bowl than the World Cup final; the Super Bowl averaged 10 million Latino viewers.
  • In 2005, to attract the interest of Mexicans living in Mexico and in the U.S., the NFL played its first regular-season game outside the U.S. The event, held in Mexico City, drew over 100,000 people.
  • According to the NBA, one out of its six fans is Latino.
  • An ESPN survey found the Los Angeles Lakers is the most popular sports team among U.S. Latinos, beating out baseball’s New York Yankees and football’s Dallas Cowboys.
  • In 1995, the Miami Heat was the first NBA team that started marketing specifically to Latinos. Now outreach to the Latino market is part of the entire association’s overall marketing strategy.

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