News

NFL to Blitz Latinos at Super Bowl

1/23/2010 2:00 AM Eastern

Not content with its place as the biggest U.S. sporting event of the year, the National Football League wants to make the Super Bowl the most-watched sports event among Hispanics.

The NFL is gearing up to launch a series of Latino-targeted marketing efforts around Feb. 7’s Super Bowl XLIV with music and sports events featuring Latin celebrities, and educational and informative programs at the grass-roots level. CBS will televise this year’s game from Miami’s Dolphin Stadium.

At stake is a growing viewership and a potential gold mine derived from Hispanic-targeted events, sponsorships and advertising.

The NFL is gaining momentum among Hispanic fans: according to the league, 2009 regular-season game telecasts averaged 1.1 million Hispanic viewers, the largest audience since 2003. (That year, NFL games averaged 780,000 Hispanic viewers.) In addition, Hispanic viewers accounted for 6.7% of the NFL’s total viewing audience, with five games averaging more than 2 million Hispanic viewers, the most ever for one season.

“We are thrilled with the way this season has been going from a Hispanic fan perspective,” said NFL vice president of fan strategy and marketing Peter O’Reilly. “But the growth is not limited to TV. We are seen growing engagement across all platforms, including online, radio and print.”

Also according to the NFL, overall traffic to NFLatino.com, a site powered by Univision.com, has grown 80% this season over the 2008-09.

In anticipation of this year’s Super Bowl, the NFL has renewed its partnership with Telemundo Network (now in its fourth year) to launch Tazón Latino IV, a nationally televised game between former NFL players and Latino celebrities. Tazón Latino IV will take place Feb. 3 at the Tazón Latino Field in Miami’s Lummus Park and will air on Telemundo Network on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 3:30 p.m.

Former NFL players taking part will include Marcus Allen, Tim Brown, Rocket Ismail, Fuad Reveiz and Vinny Testaverde. Latino celebrities include Jencarlos Canela, Angeline Moncayo and Mónica Noguera. Also returning this year is the Pepsi Música Super Bowl Fan Jam, a Feb. 5 concert that will also air on Telemundo and will feature Latin sensations Nelly Furtado, Paulina Rubio and Miami rapper Pitbull.

At the grass-roots level, the NFL this year is launching NFL Youth Football Super Bowl Clinics, enrolling children from the community to learn football fundamentals and teamwork from current and former NFL players and coaches. These clinics will take place at the clinic fields, adjacent to Dolphin Stadium and will be open for pre-selected kids throughout Super Bowl Week, starting Feb. 4. The effort is similar to the one launched in October — also in South Florida — to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Lastly, on the advertising front, major NFL sponsors including Pepsi, Coors Light and Procter & Gamble have all expanded their relationship with the league to include Hispanic marketing messages in Spanish. It is not yet clear if marketers will venture into Spanish-language ads during the actual game on Feb. 7, as has happened in the past.

June