Fútbol is a particularly strong sport around the world, especially among Hispanics. A new sport though, seems to be capturing the heart of Hispanics: American Football.
Recent polls conducted by ESPN have revealed that the NFL has approximately 25 million Hispanic fans, an amazing figure for this sport. Nielsen has also determined that during the 2012 and 2013 Superbowls the highest Hispanic fan was attending and watching the games including the regular seasons. So are Hispanics leaving Fútbol behind for the new Football?
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month from September 15 through October 15, several sports franchises try to connect with Hispanics by showcasing their own players and creating activities in support for this growing segment. These franchises have increasingly become more savvy at researching the market and translating their insights into activities and opportunities for connecting with new fans.
Another Forbes article details that in the last few years the NFL has shown that it has a growing and strong fan base thanks to its insights and marketing strategies. Research and strategies dedicated to attract Hispanics have enabled the franchise to reach far more of them than if the growth had happened organically. Early research in 2002 also shows that the NFL has been able to find insights about market drivers and what activities that connect with them in a unique way. Celebrating this Hispanic Heritage time is a key activity that helps to solidify that fan base.
The NFL has also been smart about using Spanish Language media to broadcast games translated into Spanish, thereby making it the first and only league in the U.S. that broadcasts the entirety of its games in Spanish. This might be easier to do for them as they only have a regular 16-game season, versus other franchises that may have 80 games or more.
On the other hand, Nielsen also indicates that the NFL seems to resonate a lot more with English dominant speaking Hispanics of Mexican and Caribbean descent. The old Fútbol is still mostly watched by Spanish dominant Hispanics of Mexican, Central American, and South American descent. Most of them still prefer to watch Fútbol, especially the Mexican National team El Tri.
As the NFL has been progressing in its execution of a Hispanic strategy, there still seems to be a gap in viewership mostly due to an acculturation factor. Nielsen shares that as most Hispanics acculturate they will become more attuned to the NFL. Will they prefer Football over Fútbol? Probably not, but we will see.