In the 4th minute of Saturday night’s game against DC United, Omar Bravo of Sporting KC was anxious to take the shot. Sporting KC, who had been in last place as recently as June had a chance to lock up first place in the Eastern Conference and a solid opportunity at a berth in the MLS Cup. And while Bravo’s shot missed the goal, Sporting KC went on to win the game and complete the turnaround securing home field advantage in the playoffs.
But playing good soccer is not all that Mexican international Bravo and Sporting KC does well. They also have proven to be the savviest MLS team when it comes to reaching out to Spanish speaking Hispanics.
As we reviewed the MLS team websites we had in mind that the MLS, being a soccer league with teams in major Hispanic markets such as New York, LA, and Chicago, would definitely have a huge presence of Spanish language media forums. We were surprised after reviewing all 19 MLS teams that only 3, (including Sporting KC), had Spanish language social media presence, while 4 US based teams had no Spanish presence at all. Below is our complete review divided in 3 sections:
A. We Habla Español (Spanish website and social media.)
B. We Habla Poquito Español (Spanish website only.)
C. We Don’t Habla Español (No Spanish website or social media.)
We Habla Español
1. The MLS
Spanish presence: The MLS has launched an often updated Spanish news blog on its site. It publishes several articles per day in Spanish on current MLS topics, as well as the Latino de la Jornada (Latino Player of the Week). Additionally, the MLS has a very active Spanish Twitter page with over 5,400 followers.
2. Sporting Kansas City
Spanish presence: El Sporting KC has the most socially interactive Spanish media of all MLS teams. They are active on both Twitter and Facebook in Spanish, and have 750+ fans and 300+ followers respectively. Every website section in Spanish is updated regularly including ticket, sponsor, league, and contact information.
3. FC Dallas
Spanish presence: The team has a Spanish news blog that is updated occasionally. They also have a Spanish language Facebook page that is updated frequently during the season. They have gained 499 fans to date.
4. Portland Timbers
Spanish presence: Although in only its first season, the Portland Timbers have a deep Spanish website compared to the other teams. Website contains sections on news, sponsors, events, clubs and contact information in Spanish. In social media, there is a semi-active Facebook page, however it seems to be unofficial at this point. The Twitter page looks to be official, however, they have not tweeted yet.
Facebook: has unofficial fan page–http://www.facebook.com/portlandtimbers#!/somostimbers
We Habla Poquito Español
1. Columbus Crew
Spanish presence: The Crew has a Spanish language news blog as well as event, club, sponsor, and news information in Spanish. While no official Spanish social media, they do have an informal presence in Spanish on Facebook.
Facebook: a Spanish language fan club tracks them: http://www.facebook.com/columbuscrew#!/TurbinaAmarilla?sk=info
2. Chicago Fire
Spanish presence: Provides several Spanish language news articles per week.
3. Chivas USA
Spanish presence: While sharing the same owner as the Mexican Chivas Club out of Guadalajara, Mexico, Chivas USA is limited to only Spanish news on its website.
4. D.C. United
Spanish presence: The team keeps a regularly updated Spanish news blog.
5. Houston Dynamo
Spanish presence: The Dynamo maintain a well-updated Spanish news blog.
6. Los Angeles Galaxy
Spanish presence: The team seldom updates their Spanish news blog.
7. New York Red Bulls
Spanish presence: The team seldom updates their Spanish news blog.
8. Philadelphia Union
Spanish presence: The Union have an FAQ section, ticket information, stadium info as well as an occasionally updated Spanish news blog.
9. Seattle Sounders FC
Spanish presence: The Sounders have a frequently updated Spanish language news blog.
We Don’t Habla Español
The remaining MLS teams do not have known Spanish websites nor social media profiles. Interesting as several of the teams (Colorado, New England, San Jose) are in major Hispanic markets. Expansion Montreal has a French version of the site, of course.
1. Colorado Rapids
2. Impact Montreal
3. New England Revolution
4. Real Salt Lake
5. San Jose Earthquake
6. Toronto FC
7. Vancouver Whitecaps
What do you think? Do you think more teams will launch Spanish language social media like Sporting KC has? Should other teams in larger Hispanic markets expect to gain even more fans on a Spanish social media forum? Do you think most Hispanics would be satisfied with the ample English language social media? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
An interview with Victor Villalba, of the Dallas Cowboys
The timing was perfect this week for a conversation about NFL Hispanic marketing. With the NFL kicking off full festivities for Hispanic Heritage Month including community events, Hispanic Heritage Leadership awards, and even mariachis performing outside of stadiums, the relevance of Hispanics to the NFL was on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to catch up with Victor Villalba, Manager of Spanish Language Broadcasting for the Dallas Cowboys. I approached Villalba, as it was obvious of his qualifications to discuss the team’s marketing and community outreach efforts towards Latinos having worked for the NFL team over 10 years, during two stints.
Villalba most recently returned to the Cowboys in 2002 to work with the Spanish radio broadcast. Soon after, Villalba was given the opportunity to do the Spanish language play by play which he does for every game, including this past Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
I wanted to know what we all could learn from the most well known NFL team about marketing to Hispanics, community integration and the importance of knowing your customers. I have laid out my findings in the subsequent categories. Please review and add your comments and questions to the end, and also consider reading a similar article about the NBA’s Hispanic Marketing efforts.
How does the NFL lend itself to the Hispanic community?
In a recent article in the Phoenix Business Journal, Villalba was quoted as having said that, “The NFL product lends itself to popularity among Hispanics in the U.S. because most games are on Sunday, which meshes with traditional Latino family get-togethers and social gatherings.”
When asked to expand on this topic, Villalba added that, “Hispanic fans are very passionate about sports; we can see this passion in other sports they play as well such as soccer and boxing. NFL Sunday brings together the Hispanic experience to American football.”
The Cowboys understand this well, and they embrace Hispanic fans of all levels of American acculturation and Spanish language skills.
“We want to translate that passion that Hispanics, as a colorful group, like to embrace all other cultures regardless if they speak Spanish or not,” notes Villalba.
Interestingly, Villalba noted that his broadcasts are done in proper Spanish, castellano. “This means, we don’t use Spanglish terms during the play by play, such as Touchdown. I say Anotación,” adds Villalba.
The role of Hispanic Marketing with the Dallas Cowboys
When asked about the Dallas Cowboys marketing plan toward US Hispanics over the past few years, Villalba had much to say.
“Hispanic marketing with the Dallas Cowboys goes back to the ‘70’s when president Tex Schramm decided that it would be a good idea to broadcast games in Spanish,” comments Villalba, confirming the Cowboys reputation as having one of the longest running Spanish language broadcast histories of any professional American sports team.
Over the years, the Cowboys Spanish language broadcast has grown to the current position where regular season games are broadcast in 20 markets to reach Hispanic Cowboys fans living outside of Dallas, including those in certain parts of Mexico.
Additionally, the Cowboys can be found on Spanish TV. “There was a decision during the Jerry Jones era (current Cowboys owner), which began in 1989, in which to bolster radio with TV,” comments Villalba about the various TV Spanish programming which can be viewed for the Cowboys. Cowboy’s preseason games currently can be found in 15 markets regionally.
Villalba says that Mexico is also a very important part of their strategy. He concluded by saying that what is most important, is that the Cowboys give their fans an option to view and listen in English or Spanish.
Hispanic Heritage Month with the Dallas Cowboys
This past Monday night football game against the Redskins kicked off NFL Hispanic Heritage Month. We discussed further what activities the Cowboys do during the month which runs from September 15 to October 15.
It seems that for the Monday night victory against archrival Washington, the community relations department was indeed busy. “They had mariachis, bailes folkloricos (folk dances), Los Lonely Boys, and Grupo Intocable whom are huge around here. In addition we had former Cowboys Marco Rivera and Tony Casillas for the coin toss. Even standing room was packed, it was a full house!”
Villalba went on to discuss the Rookie Club, which is a program run by the Cowboys in which rookies on the team perform outreach in the community. The rookies make appearances at community events, hospitals and other locations throughout the season. “Rookies get a chance to learn about the importance of the community,” comments Villalba. “During Hispanic Heritage month there is a focus on interacting with the Hispanic community.”
The Cowboys support other Hispanic community programs during Hispanic Heritage month as well. One of which is the Adelante program in which the Cowboys team up with Miller Lite for the good of the community. “The Adelante program is geared towards guiding students to continue on to college, and pursue higher learning,” mentions Villalba.
Through the program, Miller Lite donates 25 cents from each case of Miller Lite purchased at participating retailers to the organization. Former Cowboy and two-time Super Bowl champion Tony Casillas serves as a motivational speaker making appearances statewide to inspire parents to make wise choices for their children. All of these actions contribute to the Adelante program, which is dedicated to developing the next generation of Latino leaders.
Spanish Website or Social Media in the Future for America’s Team?
Not unlike most other NFL teams, the Cowboys do not have Spanish language social media forums or a website to cater to Latinos preferring Spanish.
Villalba explained that this is simply a function of not having the specific need for such forums so far. “For us to create these channels there would have to be clear cut demand from our fans as well as support from our internal and external partners. At this point, there is not the business need for these channels,” summarized Villalba.
The NFL itself does have a Spanish language website which is run in partnership with Univision Interactive Media. It will be interesting to see if in the near future the Cowboys do determine there is a valid business reason to establish Spanish language digital forums.
I think that the Cowboys could definitely expand their engagement with their Hispanic fan base through social media activities, as by their extensive broadcasting area we know there are fans that prefer Spanish. Also, Hispanics are on Social Media: we know of the extensive use of Facebook by US Hispanics as well as that there are over 8.1 million US Hispanics on Twitter. Social media marketing to these fans could allow the Cowboys to bring an even more enthusiastic Latino fan to their stadium as they would be connected on an additional level. The Cowboys are no stranger to social media either as the Cowboys own English Facebook page has over 3.6 million fans to date.
Fan Favorites among Hispanics?
There have been many great Hispanic players that have come through Cowboys home stadiums in the past 50 years, including Tony Romo, Marco Rivera and Tony Casillas. I asked Villalba if there are fan favorites among Hispanic fans and the answer was not unexpected.
“Hispanic fans gravitate to excellence,” commented Villalba. “When the Steelers were on top in the 70’s they were very popular among Latinos as they were very good. When you win, you’re going to get fans, including Hispanics.”
Hispanic Fans different from non-Hispanic Cowboy fans?
The most interesting part of our conversation I found was our discussion of differences between Hispanic Cowboys fans, in comparison with the general market fan. Villalba stated that besides cheering in different languages, Cowboys fans are fairly like-minded.
“Being a fan of the NFL or the Cowboys is a very universal thing,” began Villalba. “If you found a fan in Portugal wearing a Cowboys hat, and arranged to have an interview in Portuguese, you’d find he has the same memories, complaints, and thoughts about the Cowboys as the rest of our fans.”
Another interesting point that Villalba mentioned is that when the Cowboys look at their Hispanic fans it is very hard to tell by appearance alone, their level of acculturation. Basically, it seems that acculturated Hispanics in Dallas have similar cheering habits as those season ticket-holders that drive up from Mexico every week for the game.
“Especially when you’re talking about division rivals playing each other. It’s exciting! It doesn’t matter your language (or acculturation level), everyone is on the same page.”
What are your thoughts on the efforts the Dallas Cowboys have taken in the area of Hispanic marketing and community interaction? Are there other teams doing interesting outreach with the Hispanic community as well? Share with us examples and any questions in the comment section below.
Bio of Victor Villalba
Victor Villalba is now serving his second stint in Spanish language broadcast production with the Dallas Cowboys. He was lured back to Texas in 2002 as the club explored ways to bring production and affiliate relations in-house as part of the growing Broadcasting Department for English language properties.
By 2003 Villalba’s role was expanded to executive producer of television and radio properties for the team, affiliate relations with stations in the US and Mexico, as well as an active participant of strategies to reach the growing appetite for Spanish language properties tied to the Dallas Cowboys Football Club.
In 2005 Villalba added Spanish language play-by-play and Hispanic marketing consulting for the Dallas Mavericks, and having been part of the first trip to the NBA Finals in 2006, was part of the 2010-2011 Mavericks team that won it all. Adding to his broadcast activities, Time Warner Cable in association with Fox Sports Southwest broadcasted a select number of Texas Rangers games in 2010, and for 2011, there are another number of games to call, along with color-commentator and former major-leaguer Jose Guzman.
A resident of Coppell, Texas since 2003, the Villalba’s include wife Olga, and daughters Katia Michelle and Kristina Marie.
Personal interview with Victor Villalba on 9/26/2011.
DK Web Consulting has been chosen by Scarguard Labs of Great Neck, NY as the exclusive Hispanic digital agency for its extensive product line being sold in over 60,000 stores nationwide. DK is tasked with the entire online Hispanic marketing presence for Scarguard including a Spanish language website, blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter profiles. DK was chosen against several competitors for their exemplary background working with several well known CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands across the country.
Additionally, DK’s health communications work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assisted Scarguard to choose DK as the right fit for the project.
DK will also be creating and maintaining a Spanish language website, blog, and social media forums for the firm’s cosmetic surgery office also located in Great Neck, NY.
About Scarguard Labs:
Scarguard Labs is a specialty pharmaceutical company that is guided by doctors, pharmacists and pharmaceutical biochemists with over 75 years of combined experience. Our products were developed by a plastic surgeon with a keen understanding of the most common problems and the latest advancements in medical biotechnology. The result is a scientifically-proven suite of products that have been widely recognized as effective by the medical community and the major retailers.
Scarguard products are manufactured in seven locations across the United States and are available in doctors’ offices, directly from Scarguard, and most major retailers including 60,000 WalMart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid, independent drug stores and many more nationwide.
The NBA proves that hard work on and off the court pays off. After significant research into what resonates with Hispanics, the NBA has found a winning combination. Evidence of their success includes growth of the NBA’s U. S. Hispanic fan base by 9% during the 2008-09 season. To put that in perspective, the U.S. Hispanic population grew by only 4% during that same period indicating that the NBA is growing 125% faster than the Hispanic population. Add to that, promising figures such as the 57% rise in viewership of the NBA on ESPN Deportes and the growing éne•bé•a Facebook page that now has over 240,000 fans.
“Our success can be attributed to a winning combination of all of our marketing programs,” says Saskia Sorrosa, Senior Director of U.S. Hispanic Marketing at the NBA during our interview in October. “But most importantly, the NBA has great basketball.”
So how does the NBA market to Hispanics? Let’s review keys to their success:
The NBA’s latest marketing campaign, éne•bé•a, is part of a comprehensive initiative to grow the game of basketball throughout the expanding U.S. Hispanic market. The NBA brings initiatives focused exclusively on Hispanic fans under a platform that includes media, events, grassroots, and merchandising programs.
In October the NBA announced a partnership with Univision Interactive Media, Inc. to bring the www.nba.com/enebea website to life on Univision Interactive Media’s online platform. The co-branded site includes blogs by Latino NBA players, video highlights, the latest news, photo galleries, interactive fan content, and other offerings.
Key to their success in marketing to Hispanics is the structure of their internal operations. The Hispanic Marketing department headed by Ms. Sorrosa is structured in a way which ensures the NBA’s commitment to the Hispanic market. Each department of the NBA has a Hispanic lead who acts as the liaison between their groups and the Hispanic Marketing department. This person drives activations within their discipline, which ultimately ensures the Hispanic fan base is considered for every marketing endeavor.
After significant market research, the league determined how best to present the NBA to different Hispanic groups including acculturated Hispanics, bilinguals, and Spanish-dominant Hispanics. Acculturated Hispanics, as can be expected, generally prefer to consume all of their NBA related media in English. However, bilingual Hispanics prefer to watch games in English but would rather read about the NBA in Spanish. This was suspected by the NBA as it was found that more bilingual Hispanics were watching English-language broadcasts instead of Spanish-language game broadcasts on Telemundo a couple seasons back. In the 2nd part of this NBA Marketing feature, we will discuss the impact of this realization to the éne•bé•a Facebook page.
Another product of their research was how Hispanics referred to their favorite NBA teams. From their study they found that Hispanic fans used the words “los” or “el” in front of the names when referring to NBA teams instead of translating the team name. For example the Phoenix Suns are not the “Soles”, they are referred to as “Los Suns”. This combination was used as it was a true representation of how Hispanics related to their teams.
Individual Teams’ Marketing Efforts:
The NBA also is highly involved in coordinating with individual teams’ Hispanic marketing efforts. This includes the 11 teams with Spanish-language websites such as the newest one, el Orlando Magic. For the 2006-2007 season, the NBA began the “Noche Latina” program with 4 teams. “Noche Latina” is a night to appreciate Hispanic fans and players. Teams wear their celebratory jersey decaled with “El Heat” or “Los Suns” for example. But the jerseys are not the only things that feature a Latin theme. The music, dancer routines, food, and overall ambience are heavily influenced by Hispanic culture during select games throughout the month of March.
Not all of the NBA’s Hispanic programs are centered on marketing. The NBA holds their grassroots programs to the utmost importance. “éne•bé•a Fit” and “Es tu Cancha” are programs designed to help Hispanic families. Current and former NBA stars such as Al Horford and Felipe Lopez have been instrumental in these efforts.
“éne•bé•a Fit is our health and wellness program, one of the pillars of our NBA cares platform and our Hispanic efforts,” states Ms. Sorrosa. “Hispanics have a high incidence of childhood obesity in the U.S., the highest in the country; and this program strives to educate kids and families about the importance of active lifestyles and proper nutrition.” As part of the program, NBA players work with children to encourage exercise and parents are educated on the importance of healthy eating habits, nutritional value in meals and grocery shopping on a budget. Another program, “Es tu Cancha” (It’s your court) builds and/or refurbishes basketball courts in Hispanic communities across the Nation in an effort to create a safe place for kids to play and be active. Mascots and current/former NBA players participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony of these basketball courts.
We at DK wholeheartedly agree that a good product (i.e. good basketball) is a key factor in achieving success as the NBA has. What could other U.S. sports leagues do to achieve similar appreciation from Hispanics?
Be sure to see Part 2 of this in-depth look into the NBA’s Hispanic Marketing operation, “Social Media a Key Component of our Strategy.”
17% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, and, by 2013, the purchasing power of this group will exceed $1.3 trillion. At the same time, Hispanics are very active online, including the use of social media to make purchasing decisions. Click above to download the presentation by Eric Diaz and Natasha Pongonis from Social Media Spanish on “Why Marketing to Hispanics Using Social Media Works” from their presentation at the Web AnalyticsWednesday on November 17, 2010.
This year 50 million Hispanics in the US hold nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power. As the US Hispanic population and purchasing power grows, it has become increasingly important for companies in certain industries to translate their websites into Spanish. At face value this seems like a pretty simple proposition. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there are several ways to go about translating content. Which is best? This is a difficult question to answer. There are two basic methods of translating a page, using software or by hiring someone and there are instances where either method is superior.
In this article we provide a description of each method of translating a website to Spanish for you to consider when you’re faced with the tough decision of how to communicate with your Spanish seeking audience. We listed the time it would take as well as an approximate cost for a typical 10 page website.
View the Whole Article?
Read it now on the Social Media Spanish Blog.