By Hernan Tagliani  

There are many things that Hispa- nics from different nationalities and generations have in common: language, culture, food, and values top the list. However, sports are central to their identity. Favorite teams are passed down through generations. It is a family bond. Sports engage not only U.S. Hispanics but also foreign born.

Hispanics are big fans of boxing, baseball, UFC fights, basketball, and football. However, soccer (fútbol) is the major sport. Spanish-speaking and bilingual Hispanic consumers have a great affinity for fútbol games played at the national level. Soccer games featuring Mexico “El Tri” are among the hottest sports properties and draw immense viewership among Spanish-speaking sports fans. Considering that 73% of Mexican Americans speak mostly Spanish or are bilingual, these games are a sure bet to draw huge audiences, emphasizing the combined influence of language and country of origin.

Based on the latest sport report from Nielsen, 94% of Hispanic males say they’re sports fans, and 56% of Hispanic males consider themselves avid fans. Also, Hispanic fans are twice as likely to attend sporting events at least once per week. When they’re not at the games, watching sports is an opportunity for them to socialize. They like to watch sports pro- gramming with others. Fifty-five percent of Hispanics say they’re more likely to take in a televised game or other sports programs at someone else’s home, whi- le 45% of non-Hispanics noted that they do so. However, according to the Nielsen report, they tend to use the mobile device to watch sports-related content (24% use a tablet to watch sports content, 27% use a smart phone compared to 12% and 15% among non-Hispanics).

Hispanics fans placed value in athletes as role models more than non-Hispanics. This is why brands such as Pepsi used

the Argentinean soccer player Leonel Messi and others in their TV spots to engage with them. (http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=P5Kcs_ZFNxc). However, NBA athletes rank as the highest role model standards within Hispanics.

Even though Hispanic consumers are in- creasing their engagement with American football and providing marketers with an open field of opportunity, traditional fútbol remains the KING. With more than 52 million Hispanic consumers in the U.S., it is critical for U.S. companies to reach and resonate with Hispanics. The ONLY way to do that and to capitalize on this thriving market is to make your brand culturally relevant. Understand their values, language, and lifestyle and your marketing efforts will score big. The World Cup 2014 is around the corner. You should start planning now.

* President of The Group Advertising.


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