Major League Teams Need to Truly Connect with Hispanic Fans
What: Any Los Angeles market strategy should have the Hispanic fan at the forefront. For major league teams such as LAFC and the LA Rams, the challenge is to truly connect emotionally with Latinos through shared values.
Why it matters: Rather than attempting a mass market strategy, teams like the LA Rams, which were away for 25 years, need to go back to the communities roots.
By Ryan Orvis, Portada contributor.
Portada Los Angeles hosted a panel discussion titled 'Major League Teams Bet Big on the Hispanic Market', focusing on how major league sports teams approach the Hispanic market. Univision anchor Leon Krauze spoke with Rich Orosco, EVP of Brand and Community at LAFC, and Ronalee Zarate- Bayani, CMO for the L.A. Rams.
As major sports brands targeting Hispanic and Latino communities in Los Angeles, both LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) and the Los Angeles Rams are in unique positions. Founded in 2014, the LAFC is a relatively new attempt to connect with futbol-loving Angelenos, while the recently-returned Rams have a long history with L.A. Latino fans.
Key takeaways from the discussion included the necessity of having the Hispanic fan at the forefront of any Los Angeles market strategy, and the importance of authentically connecting through shared values.
Ronalee explained how the Rams faced the challenge of earning back the trust of Angelenos after 25 years away. They particularly needed to consider the Hispanic community, which had provided a loyal grounding for the Rams fanbase. “Our shared values are around family, community, and tradition. So how do we use those shared values to connect on a deeper level so that the fandom is real?”
Rather than attempt a mass market strategy, she tapped back into the team’s community roots. One example included the creation of a Dia de Diablo-themed Rams T-shirt that showed community support during a confluence of tragedies in L.A. and Mexico City.
For Rich, the goal was to focus on authenticity rather than chasing or attempting to buy the Latino market. “We knew that Latinos would come to football. You don’t have to teach a Latino about football.” Thus, the organization became the Los Angeles Football Club - no mention of soccer. They also hired Mexican superstar Carlos Vela, which didn’t hurt their street cred. From there, they rolled out a risky “street by street, block by block, one by one” strategy that paid off with local communities.
“This is what we mean when we say we want to do it authentically,” said Ronalee. “We don’t want to force it, we don’t want to commercialize it. We want to honor the traditions and bring it to life.”