Last week, the NFL refs announced penalties in Spanish for the benefit of the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets Monday Night Football game at Land Shark Stadium. The stadium took on a decidedly Latin flavor with a Calle Dolphins tailgating area; Gloria Estefan and Hank Williams Jr. singing a bilingual “Are you ready for some football?” in the MNF theme video; and Marc Anthony performing the national anthem.
Sports leagues certainly recognize the power of marketing to Hispanics. Today, the NBA announced its most comprehensive Hispanic marketing effort that encompasses all of its previous efforts, which have included Spanish-language radio broadcasts in 11 markets and Spanish language team Web sites, and new ones, including advertising, broadcasting and online components.
The league’s effort is called “éne•bé•a,” – or the Spanish pronunciation of ‘NBA,’ – and includes a dedicated Web site at www.nba.com/enebea, which currently features a story about the Miami Heat signing guard Carlos Arroyo (who is from Puerto Rico); advertising that features Heat guard Dwyane Wade along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on Spanish networks; and content on Spanish language social networking sites. There will also be special merchandise. NBA TV even broadcast the NBA Mexico game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns in Spanish on Sunday.
Already recognized for its efforts to reach fans globally, the NBA wants to make further inroads with its Hispanic fans, who make up 15 percent of the league’s fan base. Some 25 NBA players hail from Latin America and Spain.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said the number of Hispanics living in the U.S. is close to 50 million that will have a spending power in the next several of years of $1 trillion.
“We pride ourselves on our diversity and inclusiveness as a league,” Stern said. “We’ve slowly begun to diversify our efforts to speak to our Hispanic market.”