Targeting the Hispanic sports market

Marketers see the potential to grow their brands through targeting the Hispanic demographic, but stressed that the focus can’t be solely on soccer, but must include other sports, depending on the geographic region. During a discussion at the 2013 Intersport Activation Summit entitled, “The Shifting Paradigm of Hispanic Sports Marketing and Sponsorship Activation,” panelists talked about not only appealing to the Hispanic market, but also knowing the market. The panel was moderated by Michael Rodriguez, senior vice president of incito!, a division of Intersport.

ESPN Deportes GM Lino Garcia said, “Soccer is a big big driver in sports for Hispanics. Two-thirds of the U.S. Hispanic population is Mexican; their number one sport is soccer. South Americans, their number one sport is soccer. However, when you look at the Caribbean and their top sports, soccer is not even one of them. It’s baseball, basketball, NFL. You can’t get the whole marketplace if you’re only focusing on soccer. There is a lot of diversity within the Hispanic market. There’s diversity in terms of geography. While soccer is a big driver, it’s not the only way.”

Allstate Insurance Integrated Marketing Manager Kenneth Harley said that multicultural consumers want an invitation to participate. “Some of that is asking, some of that is the type of content that you’re surrounding yourself with,” Harley said. “But a lot of it is sort of cultural nuance. At Allstate, for example, that means people know that we speak Spanish and you can get a quote in Spanish. We have other resources available, too. But that signal of letting multicultural consumers know that we’re open for more business... At times, it’s a little bit obvious, but it needs to be there.”

The panel discussed U.S. sports leagues focusing on the Hispanic marketplace, including the NFL with its Hispanic heritage month celebration, the NBA with its Spanish website, and NASCAR targeting markets that have a heavy Hispanic population. Garcia said, “We see that leagues and teams are realizing that their growth is going to come from the Hispanic market. Fifty percent of the growth in the U.S. in the last 10 years has come from the Hispanic market. Same thing applies to businesses and, obviously, leagues and sports teams.”Marlins Marketing & Event Booking Senior VP Sean Flynn talked about his team catering its Hispanic marketing appeal to the South Florida region. “Our message has to be very targeted,” he said. “There’s not a one message fits all. Talking about the development of our creative, 50% of our budget is spent on Hispanic marketing as opposed to general marketing. It’s very distinctive. Miami is much different from the rest of the markets. Every day is Hispanic Heritage Day.”

QUICK HITS:

Harley, on companies activating around the ’14 World Cup in Rio De Janeiro: “The fact that it’s in Brazil means that there’s going to be a lot more coverage at times when people can actually watch it.”

Garcia, on advertisers being proactive in creating Hispanic marketing: “The folks that get it right really understand that it’s about the whole market. Also, on the marketing side, they’re putting together plans and strategies where the Hispanic (strategy) is up front, it’s not on the back end. It’s not like retrofitting, where all of a sudden you translate the spot for a creative or you’re going to stick in an Hispanic face for a commercial.”

Flynn, on being disconnected after former GM Ozzie Guillen’s comments last season about Fidel Castro: “The biggest thing was to get out in front of it, show some transparency, and show whatever the apologies are.”

Garcia, on what not to do to market to Hispanics: “Sometimes you have to do something that is tailored. It’s the same general campaign. What not to do is to kind of force something that has been created for the general market and force it into the Hispanic market. It might work sometimes, but you have to watch that you don’t do that and lose the effectiveness of the campaign, and maybe, even worse, it could be offensive.”

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