Javier Farfan Takes Stock of NFL Marketing as “Por La Cultura” Enters its Second Year

The NFL recently started the second year of its “Por la Cultura” campaign. Portada talked with Javier Farfan, Cultural Marketing Strategist at the NFL, about this campaign that celebrates Latino heritage throughout the year. Find out what insights it is based on, how the campaign is executed, its results, and what’s next.

Marissa Solis, SVP Global Brand & Consumer Marketing at the NFL,  has been almost one year working at the largest professional sports league in the world. Under the direction of CMO Tim Ellis, the mandate has been clear: to modernize the NFL’s marketing strategy by engaging one specific fanbase: the youth audience. That certainly includes, as Solis explained in an interview with Portada earlier this year, following the imperative that marketing in the United States means marketing under a multicultural lens. Another important component of the NFL’s marketing strategy is to engage the Hispanic football fan, who tends to skew younger.  Javier Farfan, Cultural Marketing Strategist at the NFL, tells Portada that while there is a Hispanic- specific “Por la Cultura” NFL marketing outreach, the Hispanic audience is included in the NFL’s overall marketing approach. An example reflecting the importance of Latino representation in the NFL is the Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin, who headlined the 2022 NFL Kickoff Concert as part of the NFL Kickoff Experience on September 8, 2022.

NFL Marketing: The Insights

NFL Marketing
Javier Farfan, Cultural Marketing Strategist, NFL

Two years back when Farfan started to work at the  NFL, he conducted research to better understand Latino Fandom in the U.S. and its impact globally. Particularly, how the younger generation of Latinos can be better engaged. Farfan maintains that he got four key insights. “First, one size does not fit all. Second, the way to fandom is through the NFL teams. Third, Hispanic NFL fans really care about the community. Fourth, there is cross-pollination between sports and music and fashion as well as with the idea of social gatherings around the sport.

“This particular consumer is a social amplifier of whatever they do,” Farfan adds.

This particular consumer is a social amplifier of whatever they do.

The Execution

CHITO Jersey
CHITO Jersey

Farfan adds that he set out to develop marketing strategies around the above-explained research insights. The initiative features a variety of cultural and community-driven activities at both the national and local level, Fashion, together with music, became an important passion point. “When people want to celebrate their fandom they use their clothing,” he maintains. Last March, the NFL launched its first initiative around merchandising with a limited edition of a varsity jacket.  Culture and Fashion Expert Milani Sanchez guided the initiative.  For the 2022/2023 season, the NFL is teaming up with fine Artist CHITO for an exclusive merchandise collaboration. The collection features two limited-edition jerseys inspired by the Mexican flag and launches as part of “Por La Cultura” ahead of the NFL Mexico City game on November 21. The collaboration with CHITO, “is also about cross-border pride with the Mexico NFL match as a big tentpole”, Farfan claims.  Available on NFLShop.com, the designer collaboration is the second release in the ongoing “Por La Cultura” (For the Culture) merchandise collection that shines a light on renowned Latino designers.

To meet Hispanic NFL fans’ desire to help their community, the NFL partners with and supports the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Through the partnership, 10 high school student-athletes who show success in sports and community are flown in from across the United States to each year’s Superbowl.

“Por La Cultura” is promoted through media partnerships, Farfan explains. Audiovisual content highlighting Latino culture and players of Latino descent is promoted through a combination of NFL-owned media and media buys in paid media properties. “We work with many broadcasters including the NBC, CBS, Fox Deportes, and Telemundo, and with those relationships comes advertising time.”  Linear TV, CTV, Social media and other digital media, and radio are the main vehicles for the NFL’s “Por la Cultura” outreach.  Farfan also notes that the final of the Superbowl LVII will be played on February 12, 2023 in Phoenix, AZ, a city with a very large Latino population.

An additional element of the “Por la Cultura” outreach is to create original music that will be heard within content and advertising at teams and clubs. The NFL also has two Youtube channels specifically targeted at the Latino audience, including  “MundoNFL“. On top of that, the NFL also publishes the game Fantasy en español. (Fantasy football is a game in which the participants serve as owners and general managers of virtual professional American football teams). A Spanish-language podcast has also been launched in partnership with iHeart Radio VER. In addition,

We work with many broadcasters including the NBC, CBS, Fox Deportes, Telemundo, and with those relationships comes advertising time.

NFL Marketing: The Results

According to Farfan the “Por la Cultura” marketing campaign, which is entering its second year, is having very positive measurable results. “Viewership has increased measured by the amount of minutes viewed by the  audience of Latino descent.” The NFL currently has 31 million Latino fans, 17% of the total fan base.”
Farfan also mentions a positive brand perception after the Hispanic audience sees NFL advertising. “The positive impact on brand perception allowed us to continue going down this path,” Farfan concludes.

The NFL currently has 31 million Latino fans, 17% of the total fan base.