With Hispanics comprising almost one-third of all Major League Baseball players, the sport’s Latino fan base is increasing.
According to a Sports Fan and Engagement Study by Simmons Research published last fall, “Hispanic MLB fans are 1.3 times more likely to be more engaged this season, while non-Hispanic MLB fans are 4 percent less likely to be more engaged this year.”
Why? Here’s how Simmons breaks it down:
• Tickets to MLB games have become more affordable
“Hispanic MLB fans are 2.2 times more likely to state that they are more engaged this season due to game tickets being more affordable. That’s not to say they don’t have the wherewithal to cover it; 40 percent of Hispanic MLB fans’ annual income is $75K or more.”
• Hispanics saw more MLB coverage on social media
“Hispanic MLB fans are 1.8 times more likely to say they are more engaged this season because they saw more MLB coverage on social media. For Hispanic MLB fans, social media is not just a platform they're using to see what’s going on with the MLB; it’s a place that provides them with a way to connect with baseball on a more meaningful level.”
• Hispanics saw more advertising for MLB games
“Hispanic MLB fans are 1.4 times more likely to be more engaged this season because they saw more advertising for MLB Games. This finding seems to point out that advertisers have done much better … in reaching Hispanic MLB fans.”
And it’s not just at the Maors. Latinos’ interest in the sport is peaking at the right time, as Minor League Baseball recently launched “Copa de la Diversión” (“Fun Cup”) — a season-long initiative featuring 33 teams that seeks to engage Latino communities.
“Much like what has transpired in the NBA and Major League Baseball, teams will rebrand under new personas on the field that tie into the local communities,” according to Forbes.com. “The new initiative culminates more than two years of collaborative work and research with U.S. Hispanic/Latino civic organizations where each of the teams play.”
As an example of this engagement, the Everett (Washington) Aquasox are now known as the Everett Conquistadores. As Forbes.com notes, the rebranding ties into the local Latino culture, with the “Conquistadores” representing Everett’s historical beginnings and the exploration of the Pacific Northwest.
MiLB also partnered with Satisfi Labs, a leading artificial intelligence engagement platform, to create a bilingual customer service AI conversation platform for teams — marking the first time a sports league is communicating with its fans in both English and Spanish.
“For a large part of its history in the United States, baseball has been seen as the sport played between fathers and sons in the white picket-fenced lawns of suburbia. As the demographics of the country continue to transform, however, that image of baseball no longer holds true for the majority of its fans,” Hispanic digital marketing expert Parker Morse summed things up on MediaPost.com. “Thinking of baseball in an antiquated fashion ignores the contributions that Latinos and other minorities have made to America’s pastime.