Monday, March 30, 2009

Hispanics and Sports - Futbol vs. Football

The second reason why Acculturated Latinos choose Hispanic targeted media in Spanish is really quite simple: soccer. Or actually, let's call it futbol since that is how we refer to it.

For non-Hispanic Americans, it's hard to comprehend how large an audience futbol commands. Futbol for them is a children's game that minivan moms shuttle their kids to practice after school. Maybe, they cite the World Cup, the tournament that grips the globe every four years. Of course, by globe we mean every country except the majority of people in the U.S.

But futbol is a religion to Hispanic Americans. It doesn't matter if you are U.S. born or foreign born, acculturating or unacculturated. The fact of the matter is, soccer is king.

Sure, the NFL commands a pretty large Hispanic audience - last year the league drew 70% of Hispanics. But, the recent World Cup qualifying match between the USA and Mexico reached about 85% of all Hispanics (male or female, young or old) through television, radio, online and mobile. Also, there's a reason why the Spanish word for futbol fans is "hinchas," which means "to pump" as in the act of pumping the very soccer balls they use to play the game. Hispanic fans are as integral to the game as the actual ball they kick along the pitch.

Going back to the original point of this two-part post, sure you can reach more acculturated Hispanics via general market media. But, let's be honest...reach isn't really the name of the proverbial game these days, it's "engagement" or "connection" or "breaking-through" to this audience. You can ignore the opportunity to address this attractive target at your peril, but make no mistake that your competition may not be so cautious.


  1. As you mention, within the population of futbol-loving Hispanics, there are men and women, young and old. I agree that the World Cup is a powerful place for marketers to go...but how do you then more accurately engage the different segments using this event? We see that Superbowl advertisers tend to skew toward the male audience--cars, fast food, beers. Is there a way to reach, let's say, just the Hispanic women who are mothers at such an event?

  2. I think you certainly could. However, are there more effective and cost-efficient environments to reach them? Absolutely. World Cup is a reach driver, no doubt. But the tournament still skews male so I would not recommend using it as a vehicle to reach young Hispanic mothers as in your example. The point really is that sports that is relevant to Hispanics are truly underserved in the general market. Therefore, regardless of whether advertisers are trying to reach Acculturated Hispanics or not, they shouldn't ignore the power of Hispanic relevant sports properties, the World Cup certainly being the biggest of those options.