Market Intelligence: SI Latino Closes; Will Televisa’s ESPN Deportes License be Renewed?

What are the latest news in the Hispanic Sports Media category?

Yesterday Portada broke the news that Sports Illustrated Latino is closing as part of the restructuring taking place at Time Inc. In addition, industry sources tell Portada that it is not clear whether Disney  is going to renew Televisa Publishing and Digital's  license to publish  ESPN Deportes. The magazine was introduced in July 2005 with a rate base of 55,000 mostly newsstand distributed copies.

The main content and advertising driver for sports content is TV with heavy sports programming packaged around important sponsorship packages by the large networks (particularly Univision and Telemundo). Sports online media is increasingly being coveted by advertisers who are willing to pay substantial premiums compared to similar general market websites.

What place does sports content have in Hispanic media and advertising?

Sports content is one of the few differentiators when it comes to target a Hispanic audience. Most Hispanics, with some important exceptions, tend to favor soccer over football and many prefer basketball to baseball.

At the same time, Hispanic enthusisasm for U.S. football has skyrocketed in recent years, and many Hispanics, particularly those with Caribbean roots, are fanatical about baseball. In sum, there exist ample opportunities to connect with Latino audiences through sports content.

Why are some media properties struggling in this category?

Sports media's primary target is men. Automotive advertising accounts for a large chunk of the revenue reaped by sports media: While Detroit automakers' share amounts to 3.3% of total U.S. measured spending according to TNS, it has a ratio of 8% of spending in Sports Illustrated and 9.2% of total spending in Fox network TV. Note also that these ratios don’t include the other 50% of automotive advertising  that is spent by foreign automakers in the U.S.

Consequently, the automotive industry's woes are weighing heavily upon the balance sheets of Sports media properties. Other categories heavily represented in Hispanic sports media advertising are fashion, alcoholic beverages, men's packaged goods and spirits and health supplements. The current economic situation is not helping these categories either, albeit the overall slump in spending is not as big as that of the automotive category.

So the sector is going through important changes….

Yes, particularly in the magazine category.  Until not long ago, media buyers wanted more sports pubs targeting Hispanics. However, publishers have been struggling to  devise the right distribution models. It is very difficult and costly to build up paid copy sales (newsstand and distribution). 

Who are the main players in the Hispanic sports magazine market? 

They  are Cuatro Media’s Fox Sports en Espanol, which next month is launching a Mexican edition, and  Sencion Marketings’ Futbol Mundial and Beisbol Mundial. Both are carried in Hispanic newspapers as inserts and have a circulation of close to 1 million copies. These publishers pay Hispanic newspaper publishers a fee (sometimes close to $50 CPKM).

Other publishers are betting on this sector, despite difficult times. This is the case of Maya Magazines, which in September launched Récord , a  weekly magazine (circ. 50,000, Spanish) developed and designed for Hispanic soccer fans in the USA, with in-depth sports coverage and latest news on the Mexican and international leagues.