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A summary of the most exciting news in multicultural sports marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Major League Baseball will now include content in the Discovery Education’s Science Techbooks, thanks to a new multiyear partnership with Discovery Education. Educators will help students connect the world of baseball to key science and STEM concepts through real-world data and gameday experiences that fuel deeper engagement.

 

  • PUMAPuma has become the official partner of League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) team and will have its logo on the chest of the team’s jersey. The partnership also designates Puma as the official gameday pants and shoes provider of Cloud9 and includes uniforms for team management. “This deal gives us ability to be a part of more things our kids love, and that’s how our brand moves the culture forward,” said Matt Shaw, head of digital marketing for Puma, to the Esports Observer. “Cloud9 is really uniquely posed to help us do that.”
    The deal will initially cover the 2019 spring LCS season, with the possibility to expand their collaboration.

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.

  • UFC has signed a new integrated marketing partnership with Motel 6, that makes the chain UFC’s first-ever “Official Economy Lodging Partner,” creating a new sponsorship category for the MMA promotion. Motel 6 will have a branded presence inside UFC’s Octagon for select UFC events. Also, the deal includes in-venue commercials, branded integrations in select UFC Pay-Per-Views and collaborations on digital and social media campaigns.

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  • PGATOURLAPGA TOUR Latinoamerica announced that Volvo Car Latin America, Hilton, and Go Vacaciones! will join as category-exclusive partners of the PGA TOUR’s international tour, beginning this month. The three brands will be integrated into the messaging of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and will also receive brand-official designations.

 

  • Multiplayer online battle arena Arena of Valor’s started the third season of the Valor Series with 18 top teams from Europe, Latin America, and North America competing for a $200,000 prize pool. The tournament will kick off on Feb. 2 from noon-7:30p on its Facebook page. Each region will sport its own open qualifier phase where six teams will qualify for that region’s eight-week regular season.

What: Global professional services firm Aon has tabbed Mexican-American LPGA pro Lizette Salas as its ambassador for the new, multitour Aon Risk Reward Challenge.
Why it matters: Aon is the latest in a series of partners such as Ping, Antigua Apparel, Pure Silk and others who have latched on to the personable pro who connects with the Latina audience in particular.

Lizette Salas (credit: Wojciech Migda)

Growing up in Azusa, California, the daughter of two Mexican immigrants, with Spanish as her first language and no other girls playing golf in any competitive sense anywhere nearby, the odds were long that young Lizette Salas (@LizetteSalas5would one day be an NCAA student-athlete, let alone an LPGA (@LPGAchampion. But she fell in love with the game, knew about Nancy Lopez‘s success and used Mexican Lorena Ochoa‘s (@LorenaOchoaRtop standing in the game as a beacon; a few years later the 29-year-old is an established LPGA performer and—after a win at the Kingsmill event in Williamsburg, Va., in 2014—a champion. And, increasingly, marketers are latching on to the personable pro.

“I didn’t grow up in a golf family or community,” Salas told Portada at an event in New York last week promoting her partnership with professional services firm Aon (@Aon_plc), which was attended by LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan (@LPGACommish). “I played basketball and other team sports and enjoyed them, but when I found golf, I found it so rewarding, to get better ever day, see the results, and since there were no girls I played on the boys team and got extra satisfaction from beating them.”

Her parents worked extra jobs to pay for Lizette’s golf lessons, and eventually, Salas earned a scholarship to play at nearby USC, where she was a four-time All-American and from which she graduated in 2011 and immediately turned pro, earning LPGA Tour status a year later.

The selection of Salas to front the Challenge for the LPGA is a strong indicator that her abilities—and marketability—are getting noticed on a larger scale.

Salas’s marketability and pride in her Hispanic background have caught the attention of companies like Ping (@PingTour), Antigua Apparel (@AntiguaWear), Pure Silk (@PureSilkShave), MLC & Associates and, now, Aon, which named her as ambassador for its new “Aon Risk Reward Challenge” series as part of its partnership with the LPGA and PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR). Salas thinks her connection with Aon is a perfect fit.

“When they approached me to be part of this program and to serve as ambassador, I studied what Aon was about and I found a lot to like,” she explained. “I see a company that stands for equality and inclusion and with my Latina background that’s important to me. I like their vision and I’m glad to be a part of the Aon Risk Reward Challenge and this company and I’m happy that I have the opportunity to share my story through them.”

The Aon program, which designates certain holes at specific events as the most strategically challenging and rewards players for their performance over the course of the year, carries a $1 million prize and fancy trophy, a high-profile partnership with both organizations. The selection of Salas to front the Challenge for the LPGA is a strong indicator that her abilities—and marketability—are getting noticed on a larger scale in her ninth year as a pro.

“Lizette and our group of Aon Ambassadors reflect the global nature of our business and the importance of diversity and inclusion to our firm,” said Andy Weitz, Chief Marketing Officer, Aon. “Much like our clients, each of these players has a unique background and particular set of skills that informs their strategic approach. We look forward to tracking their progress throughout the Aon Risk Reward Challenge and using their experiences to illustrate how we create value for our clients.”

Join us at PORTADA LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019 at the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica, where we will dive deep into sports and soccer marketing’s preeminent topics. Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Heineken will discuss “How to measure ROI and transfer best practices between sports marketing platforms”. Other speaking engagements include Tiago Pinto, Global Marketing Director, Gatorade who will provide answers to the question: “Will Corporate America jump on the soccer opportunity?”Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Salas’s desire to be a role model for young Latinas comes both from her parents’ example and that of World Golf Hall of Famer Ochoa, who she met at an event in Southern California around age 15. Ochoa was “so warm and engaging and gave so much of herself,” according to Salas, that she wants to project that same openness in connecting with fans, particularly those who may see themselves in her.

Once again ranked in the top 30 in the world coming into the 2019 season, Salas has three times represented the U.S. in the biennial international Solheim Cup. Proud of her heritage and her status as one of the top American golfers, with a few more high-profile results, she may find more companies looking to tap into her unique set of attributes to connect with Hispanic golf fans, particularly females.

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Cover Image Salas flanked by LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan (l) and AON CMO Andy Weitz: credit John Mooney

What: The PGA Tour is continuing its partnership with social media network mitú, which reaches a massive, cross-cultural audience.
Why it matters: Hispanics aren’t traditionally huge golf consumers, but some specific strategies by the PGA Tour can help it market its Latino stars and build that fan base.

Lee Trevino, known as the “Merry Mex,” and “Chi-Chi” Rodriguez made their respective marks on the PGA Tour in decades past. And while most true golf fans will instantly recognize the names of those two golfing greats, they may be hard-pressed to identify a current player of Hispanic descent (hint: Mexican-American Pat Perez is the highest ranked at No. 25, and Jhonattan Vegas (@JhonattanVegasand Camilo Villegas (@CamiloVillegasRwere all part of a social media effort last year).

The personalities that Trevino and Rodriguez brought to the sport elevated their fandom across many generations, and among Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike. Vegas’s unlikely route from Maturín, Venezuela—a city and country not known for producing golf talent—and Villegas’s outsized personality—the female contingent following the Medellín, Colombia, native compares favorably with just about anyone on Tour—give Hispanic fans an easy pair to root for among a growing crop.

Trevino, Rodriguez and the current pros aside, golf has quite a task attracting a fan base considerably more familiar with the soccer pitch than the fairway.

The PGA Tour made a splash last year when it teamed with mitú (@wearemitu), a top content creator for young Latinos, for the aforementioned program with Vegas and Villegas (Spain’s Jon Rahm was also featured). The next phase is a series of videos, which according to SportsBusiness Journal’s John Lombardo won’t involve the players but instead follows young Latino fans as they learn about the game and its appeal.

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Camilo Villegas (credit: Steven Newton)

With others like youngsters Sebastián Muñoz (also of Colombia) and Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, both just 25, on the rise, courting the Hispanic fan base is a smart move for the Tour, which operates a series of events known as PGA Tour Latinoamérica (@PGATOURLA), in Mexico, Argentina, South Florida USA, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic and other countries, helping to boost the game there and serving as a feeder tour to develop new talent.

“We’re focused on showing how much fun golf, its stars and events can be to an audience that is seeking new and authentic experiences,” said Nelson Silverio, Senior Director of Marketing for the TOUR in a statement. “Our mitú partnership gives us the opportunity to show the PGA TOUR and its stars in a voice that is relevant to this audience.”

Trevino, Rodriguez and the current pros aside, golf has quite a task attracting a fan base considerably more familiar with the soccer pitch than the fairway. The effectiveness of the efforts with Vegas and Villegas last year is unclear, but any dent the Tour can put in bringing the growing Latino audience into the sport would be welcomed.

cover image: Jhonattan Vegas (courtesy PGA Tour)