Can Alex Cora Be a New Business Face for Baseball?

What: Puerto Rico's Alex Cora, the Boston Red Sox's first minority manager in their nearly 120-year history, has emerged as a brand to be recognized and embraced in The Hub.
Why it matters: The team's fourth World Series title since 2004 and nearly universal praise for his managing raises Cora's profile even higher, making him an even more attractive entity for brands.

Many times in the transient world of sports, the “face” of the franchise can become diluted. Players come and go, owners like to seize the stage, even logos and mascots can move in and out. However for the successful franchises, the head coach, or in the case of baseball, the manager, can be that rock that connects generations, fans, brands, and media. It’s not an easy choice and often that face prefers to stick to the business of sport, but for the right mix in the right market, that skipper can pay great dividends.

Such is the case in Boston, a city that has seen its share of bright and sometimes reluctant leaders on the field in recent years. Brad Stevens has become a quiet guiding and impactful force for the Boston Celtics (@celtics), while Bill Belichick is a successful albeit reticent frontman for the ultra-successful Patriots (@Patriots). Then you have the 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox (@RedSox) and Alex Cora.

His community awareness, media savvy, social activism…and baseball success can make Alex Cora a really interesting face of baseball reaching its core, Latino consumers both in English and Spanish.

Tab Bamford

As Boston closed out its record-setting year in MLB (108 regular season wins, victories over two 100-win teams in the playoffs and a five-game World Series win over the Dodgers), Cora, just the second Latino manager to bring home a World Series title, has steadily emerged as a brand to be noticed and embraced, especially for a baseball audience around the country that has a solid Latino base and is craving vibrant leaders. What makes Cora even more interesting is his relatively young age and his passion for cause marketing, especially when it comes to his native Puerto Rico, where he has been a driving and vocal force in the efforts still going on around Hurricane Maria’s cleanup. Cora is also the first minority manager in the storied history of the Red Sox, a team which has had its share of Latino stars and is poised to build on that legacy even more.

“Cora is one of the youngest managers in MLB (@MLB) (just turned 43 on Oct. 18 – the Red Sox won twice on his birthday thanks to an after-midnight ET finish). Any time a manager leads a team to the best record in MLB, much less a championship, there’s value in association. In a major market like Boston, Chicago, New York, etc. there’s even more regional/national value (see Joe Maddon in Chicago),” said Tab Bamford (@The1Tab), Managing Director at La Vida Baseball (). “What makes Cora a unique individual for brands is not only his age, but he’s a hybrid of the old school and new school. He’s incredibly eloquent in both languages, is socially active and – most importantly in my opinion – he’s sharp, frank and open with the media; he doesn’t simply provide the cliché sound bites that we all learned from Bull Durham.”

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

(YouTube/NESN)

That combination can make the Red Sox skipper prime for multicultural brands looking for an even bigger play not just in New England, but throughout the country. His community awareness, media savvy, social activism…and baseball success can make Alex Cora a really interesting face of baseball reaching its core, Latino consumers both in English and Spanish language, for years to come as his career plays out on the bench and in the marketplace.

What type of brands would make sense? Just look around The Hub to see the deep devotion to Red Sox nation. Financial services companies like John Hancock (@johnhancockusa), consumer brands like Dunkin (@dunkindonuts), even tech companies like Raytheon (@Raytheonand others love being around all things Boston sports, and Cora has a great message and a great storyline that can also be multigenerational because of his style, and his age. Also, don’t discount his community involvement as a unique intangible for helping baseball reach a younger demo; when you tie cause to something, millennials notice more, and given that his work has been tied to Puerto Rico, you also pull in a younger Latino audience that can make great sense.

Is it easy to do? No. Do players hitting homers or shooting threes make for a sexier sell? Sometimes. However as a young, engaged and multicultural face, Alex Cora is certainly an intriguing one to watch, not just this fall but for years to come.

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Joe Favorito @joefav

Joe Favorito has over 32 years of strategic communications/marketing, business development and public relations expertise in sports, entertainment, brand building, media training, television, athletic administration and business. The Brooklyn, New York native has managed the day-to- day activities in strategic communications for: Two of the world’s hallmark sports and entertainment brands (the New York Knickerbockers and Philadelphia 76ers), the world’s largest professional sport for women (the WTA Tour), the world’s largest sports National Governing Body (the United States Tennis Association) and the world’s largest annual sporting event (the US Open). He also oversaw the strategic planning, investor relations, communications and digital business development of the International Fight League during its two year run as a Mixed Martial Arts venture and a publicly traded company. Favorito serves on the boards of the Weinstein Carnegie Group, New York Sports Venture Capital, the National Sports Marketing Network, the Drexel University Sports Business program, and Columbia University’s Sports Management program (where he is an instructor in Strategic Communications and Director of Industry Relations). Joe also maintains a well trafficked blog on the sports marketing and publicity field, “Sports Marketing and PR Roundup,” on the website joefavorito.com, as well authoring the first- ever text on the sports publicity industry (“Sports Publicity” published in August 2007 by Reed Elsevier and updated in 2012 by Taylor Publishing with a third printing coming in 2018), which is used in over 60 sports management programs in the U.S. He has been a guest speaker on sports marketing, social media and communications at a host of institutions, including Princeton University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, the University of Florida Law School, New York University, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and many others. He is also a frequent spokesperson on the industry for publications ranging from Ad Age and The New York Times to NPR and CBS News. A graduate of Fordham University, Joe, his wife and two children reside in River Vale, New Jersey.

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