What: Comcast this week announced a bilingual video experience integrating Fox and Telemundo World Cup coverage.
Why it matters: This will be a great test for soccer fans who may have had to turn down the volume and follow their favorite brands when the language, especially Spanish, did not fit the household.

We inch closer to the World Cup starting June 14, and the power of the Multicultural audience in the U.S. as a driver continues to come into focus even more. Both the Spanish language and English first Latino sports consumer is going to be a key driver in ROI for a global event that is heavy on Latin American nations and short on countries like the U.S. and Canada, and while FOX maintains that the “melting pot” mentality, where the Anglo consumer will build an affinity around the country from where he or she ultimately immigrated from, will be key, it is clear that Latino engagement is essential for success.

Latest case in point came Wednesday, when Comcast’s Xfinity X1 (@Xfinitycable platform announced a bilingual FIFA World Cup viewing experience, with video features that integrate both Fox’s and Telemundo’s coverage of the June 14-July 15 tournament in Russia.

Screens, menus and voice commands will be available in both English and Spanish, with full-game replays, highlights, web video, real-time analytics and on-screen stats rounding out the experience. Also, Xfinity for the first time is adding sports notifications for TV and mobile. It will be a great test for fans of the sport who may have had to turn down the volume and follow their favorite brands when the language, especially Spanish, did not fit the household.

No matter what the language, quality live sports remain king, and platforms like this can unite audience numbers, rather than divide them.

Now of course we have had SAP as an element in broadcast across the U.S. for most events for years, but this integration is a new next step for those who want to dial back and forth and immerse either in their adopted or their native language. If it works, and brands find scale, it can roll out to other sports, especially MLB and the NBA, and it can be a new and important engagement for brands who have struggled to find the common ground with Latino sports engagement in a multilingual environment.

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Comcast Cable Exec Dir of Product Management Jason Angelides told Sports Business Daily that international events like the World Cup highlight the “changing demographics of TV viewing audiences — particularly underscoring the increasingly important and growing base of bicultural households in the U.S.” — and X1 allows the company to “build viewing experiences customized” for that population.

“We are moving more and more into a world where niche audience engagement matter more and more, and the World Cup is going to be a great showcase for broadcasters and brands who realize that a fast growing audience, the Latino market, is less niche and more mainstream and growing and powerful than ever before,” said Chris Lencheski, veteran marketer and professor at Columbia University. “No matter what the language, quality live sports remain king, and platforms like this can unite audience numbers, rather than divide them.”

Will this World Cup be the one that opens larger doors for the Latino audience and brands who have been risk averse to engage? The opportunity appears to be growing.

Cover Image: Wikimedia Commons/Danilo Borges-Portal da Copa

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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