Survey identifies trends among Hispanics
Hispanic sports fans are learning to navigate the scattershot landscape of Spanish-language TV coverage and are better than their non-Hispanic counterparts at identifying sponsors of leagues and events, according to a wide-ranging study conducted by Turnkey Intelligence.
The survey, developed by Turnkey, Sports Business Journal and Telemundo, consisted of 1,003 Hispanic sports fans and 598 non-Hispanic sports fans ages 18-55, all in the U.S. That included 300 in-person surveys with fans from Spanish language-dominant households. The survey was in the field July 25-Aug. 22.
“Generally, there is a lot of confusion among Hispanics about the TV networks that host top soccer events,” said Ray Warren, president of Telemundo Deportes.
For example, his network surprised the media industry in 2011 when it successfully bid $600 million for the U.S. Spanish-language rights to the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cup cycles, dethroning longtime incumbent TUDN (known then as Univision Deportes).
Telemundo has since replaced TUDN as the Copa América rights holder, extended its FIFA deal through the 2026 men’s tournament, picked up rights to Concacaf qualifiers, the English Premier League and the Olympics through 2032, and launched its live boxing series last month.
Although Telemundo has only aired the men’s and women’s World Cup one time each, 44% of Hispanic fans in the study correctly identified the NBCUniversal network as the broadcaster for each tournament.
Warren said the network’s app grew from 1.5 million users prior to last year’s men’s World Cup to a sustained 7 million now.
Rival TUDN is the home of the Concacaf Gold Cup, a distinction that was known by 42% of Hispanic fans. The network also holds the rights to Liga MX, MLS, U.S. Champions League, the U.S. and Mexican men’s and women’s national soccer teams, UEFA Champions League and the NBA.
TUDN still enjoyed a legacy effect in the study among Copa América viewers. The network aired the tournament from 1993 to 2018 (except in 2015, when beIN was the rights holder), until Telemundo took over this year. However, 48% of Hispanic fans believed that TUDN carried this summer’s tournament.
Adding to the confusion, ESPN Deportes’ rights include Liga MX, MLS, Serie A, the NFL, Major League Baseball and others, while beIN Sports this summer extended through 2024 its deal to broadcast La Liga matches in the U.S. and Canada.
While it may take some effort for Spanish-speaking fans to find the right networks, they are better attuned to the key partners of high-profile sporting events — soccer or otherwise — than their non-Hispanic counterparts. For example, 21% of Hispanic respondents accurately recalled (unaided) Pepsi as an official Super Bowl sponsor, compared to just 16% of non-Hispanics. The soda brand has been a league partner since 2002 and the title sponsor of the past seven Super Bowl halftime shows.
Hispanic sports fans are also more likely than non-Hispanics (54% to 48%) to support brands that sponsor the leagues or events they follow by purchasing, recommending or trying a product for the first time.
Telemundo plans to incorporate the findings of the study to look ahead to the next cycle of rights deals across all sports. For example, the data showed that Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to be horse racing fans, which is not surprising, Warren said, considering that the majority of jockeys in Triple Crown races (to which NBC owns the rights) are Hispanic.
“The men’s World Cup put us on the map,” Warren said. “And now, the Olympics will be our very first since having the World Cups. We’ve done the research, so we’ll focus on the sports that we know our viewers want.”
Other notable findings:
40% of Spanish-language media consumers said soccer is their favorite sport, compared to 33% of non-Hispanics who said the same thing about American football.
43% of Hispanics said that one of the reasons they watch soccer is because they feel it is culturally important to the Latino community.
Outside soccer, Hispanics are 27% more likely than non-Hispanics to be a boxing fan and 10% more likely to follow the Tour de France.