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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.”

 

Major League teams are betting big on the Hispanic market as the importance of the Hispanic consumer to the success of sports franchises in Los Angeles cannot be understated. Marketers will be able to learn this firsthand next Friday March 15 at Portada Los Angeles in a session featuring Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, CMO, LA Rams, Rich Orosco, EVP Brand & Community, LAFC and  Univision’s news anchor Leon Krauze. Make sure to get your tickets which include 3 (three)-8-(eight) minute meetings to select from a list of brand and media agency executives.

We are announcing two major additions to a star-studded roster of brand marketing stars at Portada Los Angeles next week:  Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, CMO of the LA Rams and Rich Orosco, EVP for Brand and Community at the LAFC will be providing crucial insights on the importance of the Hispanic consumer for Los Angeles sports franchises. The panel will be moderated by Univision’s news anchor Leon Krauze.

Ronalee Zarate Bayani, CMO, LA Rams
Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, CMO, LA Rams

Zarate-Bayani’s  career path includes stints at Taco Bell and Visa, before working her way up at Hershey, eventually becoming the head of global integrated marketing. In 2016, the St. Louis Rams moved backed to Los Angeles, and a year later the team hired Zarate-Bayani to be the  franchise’s CMO.

Rich Orosco, EVP Brand & Community, LAFC
Rich Orosco, EVP Brand & Community, LAFC

 

The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) is a relative newcomer to Major League Soccer.  The club was founded in 2014. One of LAFC’s first moves — before it had chosen a coach, signed a player or picked a site for its stadium — was to hire Rich Orosco as it’s executive vice president for brand and community. The decision reflects the emphasis the LAFC places on fan development as it is the supporter groups who create and define a soccer club’s culture.

Leon Krauze, News Anchor, Univision
Leon Krauze, News Anchor, Univision

 

León Rodrigo Krauze, who will moderate the panel, is an award-winning Mexican journalist, author, and news anchor. Krauze began his career as a sports journalist, focusing on soccer. That passion led him to become not only an expert and official chronicler of the Mexico national team but also a highly regarded historian: he has written four books and eighty documentaries on the history of “fútbol” in Mexico.

 

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

  • https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/975880330044325888/RuJuopul_400x400.jpgAdidas extended its partnership with UEFA and will continue representing the Champions League, Super Cup, Youth League and Futsal Champions League until 2021. “As the number one football brand in the world, we have built up a longstanding partnership with UEFA that has seen a great deal achieved in European football,” said Claus-Peter Mayer, VP of sports marketing football at Adidas.
  • Telemundo Deportes will live stream the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia games in Spanish-language on the NBC Sports app, and feature Telemundo Deportes content on desktop computers via a link on NBCSports.com. “Now anyone can enjoy soccer in Spanish-language no matter what app they use, whether they choose to watch through NBC Sports or Telemundo’s own En Vivo App or our local stations’ apps,” said Ray Warren, President of Telemundo Deportes.
  • The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football has confirmed the 15 venues, including 13 US cities, that will host the 2019 edition of the expanded Concacaf Gold Cup. 2019 Gold Cup matches will also be played in Central America and the Caribbean for the first time.

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  • AFAThe Argentine Football Association (AFA) has agreed on three new partnerships with Chinese firms. Hexindai will become a regional sponsor of Argentina’s national men’s soccer team and will enjoy brand exposure via the AFA website and the federation’s social media channels. Interior design company Der and home appliances manufacturer Vanward will also become AFA’s partners.
  • According to Nielsen, NBC Sports reports a record of 39.3 million Americans watching its presentation of the Premier League on its platforms in 2017-18. This represents a rise of 14%, in comparison with last season’s numbers.
  • The Canadian Premier League announced that Cavalry FC would be one of the founding clubs to play in the upcoming professional men’s soccer league, which will debut in Spring 2019.
  • ESPN signed a multimedia rights agreement with UEFA to continue carrying the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the UEFA Europa League in Spanish-speaking Latin America, effective 2018/19 to 2020/21. ESPN will carry a total of 71 UEFA Champions League matches each season.

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  • The Brasileiro, Brazil’s top league, will become the first domestic soccer league to stream games live on YouTube. The agreement was brokered by third-party Spanish producer Mediapro
  • LAFCSan Manuel Casino announced a new partnership with Los Angeles Football Club, for the 2018 MLS season. San Manuel Casino will take part in pre-match Fan Fest activation experiences at Banc of California Stadium, and sponsor the City View Club in addition to presenting post-game highlights via in-stadium “Thrill of the Match” broadcasts.
  • French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain is creating an overseas office in New York. This is the club’s third office outside of France, following the one in Doha and Singapore. The team hopes to increase brand visibility, cultivate new partnerships and nurture its growing fan base. Jerome de Chaunac, as Managing Director of the Americas, will manage the office.
  • Nashville MLS announced Ian Ayre as its new Chief Executive Officer. The 55-year-old will be tasked with building and leading the Nashville MLS club. “We are committed to bringing world-class soccer to Nashville, as evidence by the appointment of Ian as our CEO,” said Nashville MLS lead owner John Ingram, in a statement.

What: The newest MLS team, Los Angeles Football Club, and FIFA World Cup have announced their respective Spanish language U.S. broadcast partners.
Why it matters: Whether an established international tournament or a team competing in its first handful of games in its inaugural season, soccer broadcasts in Spanish are critical in reaching this huge audience.

The launch of MLS’s latest franchise, Los Angeles Football Club (@LAFC), is off to a rousing start, with the new squad quickly developing a supporters group—seven busloads strong for a battle with “crosstown” rivals LA Galaxy in Carson, Calif. Starting next week, Spanish speaking LAFC fans can tune in to the first of 18 matches on UniMás () KFTR Channel 46, as the team announced that Univision Los Angeles will be its Official Spanish-Language TV partner this year.

“We are committed to making our matches accessible to everyone throughout Los Angeles,” LAFC Owner and President Tom Penn said in a statement. “It is an honor to partner with Univision Los Angeles – a trusted and respected broadcast leader that ensures award-winning, comprehensive content and coverage of our Club.”

We’re excited to be part of the World Cup event and our ability to provide extensive coverage to our local communities through our radio stations.

This comes on the heels of news that Hispanic fans who want to follow this summer’s FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCupon radio will have a new option: Entravision (@EVCMedia), which will broadcast 53 of the 64 total matches (including al three for Mexico in Group F) on its stations in 16 markets, beginning with the opening ceremony and group play on June 14. With Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Colombia joining Spain and Portugal in the field, there will be plenty of interest among the Latin American fan base, particularly in markets like Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, El Paso, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, whose affiliates will air the games.

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“Latinos live and breathe soccer and it is by far the number one sport among our listeners,” said Jeffery A. Liberman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Entravision, in a statement. “We’re excited to be part of the World Cup event and our ability to provide extensive coverage to our local communities through our radio stations. This global soccer tournament is one of the most recognized sporting events in the world and provides advertisers with a premier opportunity to connect with our audience.”

No word yet on which advertising partners are on board for either entity, but with UniMás KFTR 46 ranking among the top stations in L.A., regardless of language, in key demographics, opportunities abound for marketers to catch on to the early success of LAFC and its newly formed fan base. And World Cup retains a huge appeal, even without the U.S. National Team, which failed to qualify.

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

Cover image courtesy LAFC

What: Veteran industry insider Mario Flores talks about some of the trends in the industry vis a vis Latinos.
Why it matters: Flores has worked with some of the biggest brands on the planet and offers some of his thoughts on the state of Latino sports marketing.

Mario Flores is partner and managing director of Sportivo and a 10-year veteran of Hispanic public relations. Flores (@LatinoSportsGuyhas developed campaigns for clients including Target Corporation, Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, Buchanan’s Scotch Whiskey, Tequila Cazadores and Merrill Lynch. Prior to joining Sportivo, Flores served as manager of U.S. communications for McDonald’s Corporation, where he oversaw the company’s national Hispanic-related public relations efforts. Previously he served as director of BSMG Latino, an affiliate of Weber Shandwick, one of the largest public relations firms in the world. Flores began his career with Durazo Communications in Los Angeles.

As a sports business insider, we wanted his thoughts on where sports marketing is with Latinos these days…

Portada: Who are some of the brands you are watching in the Latino sports marketing space this year?

Mario Flores: “Given the change in the demographic makeup and language preference of Latinos, this being a World Cup year and the inaugural MLS season of Los Angeles Football Club (a Sportivo client), there are some intriguing storylines I’m looking at:

Telemundo won the Spanish-language broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournament (previously held by Univision), and have implemented a number of interesting projects. One is a bilingual digital initiative in partnership with global media soccer outlet Copa90 (@COPA90USto search for the next generation of top soccer influencers. No doubt the network understands that they need to appeal to the young, mostly bilingual and English-dominant Latino, to keep the network thriving and relevant.

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For a great amount of time, the LA Galaxy, and for several years, Chivas USA, were the MLS brand in LA. Enter Los Angeles Football Club (@LAFC) with a swagger to match its emblematic black and gold team colors, LAFC’s grassroots approach to community team building and support has been second to none, with a multicultural fan base that was eager to have a team in the center of Los Angeles to call its own. Some soft marketing jabs have been thrown outside the pitch: LAFC referring to the Galaxy as the team from Carson, where their home stadium StubHub Center is located, while LA Galaxy billboards around the city proudly remind Angelenos that they have been “Uniendo (Uniting) Los Angeles” Since ’96.”

If in 2018 you need to find incremental dollars to spend against the Latino consumer, adios.

P: Did you see any important growth around the Winter Olympics in the Latino space in the U.S., and if so, why or why not?

M.F.: “Nada. Most Winter Olympic sports do not resonate with Latinos, so interest is very low. Also, there were not many Latino athletes who competed that the community could cheer for; those that did received very little attention.”

Also read: Why Isn’t NBC Showing Latino Talent in the Olympics?

P: Who are the two or three athletes who are impactful in the space that would surprise people?

M.F.: “Basketball stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry, and to a lesser degree now Kobe Bryant. When we were working with Nike and we went into the Latino community with Kobe, they fully embraced him— they treated him like the superstar that he was. It was also helpful that he spoke Spanish, which the media and fans appreciated.”

P: What’s the most frustrating thing about activation in the space in the U.S.?

M.F.: “Budgets. I’ve been helping brands connect with the Latino consumer for over 25 years, and still the budgets are not there. Brands often tell us that they need to find incremental dollars, and when they do, it’s very minimal and the long-term commitment is missing. If in 2018 you need to find incremental dollars to spend against the Latino consumer, adios.

I also think many brands are just simply missing the mark. I recently spoke with a handful of Los Angeles-based Latino social media influencers who have significant following and not one was invited to any NBA All Star game related activations. What a huge miss in a city with a significant Latino population.”

P: What’s the trend you think will grow effectively in the space that you are watching in 2018?

M.F.: “Brands and media delivering content that is relevant and culturally on point. It’s no longer only about language; its messaging and images that connect at a different level and delivered by what I call ‘cultural cultivators’— trusted influencers who are of the community and from the community.”

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, they’ll meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

cover image courtesy LAFC

What: Mexican soccer player Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has been offered US $10 million to join Los Angeles FC, starting 2018 season.
Why it matters: If Chicharito accepts the deal, he will be signing the biggest contract in Major League Soccer history.

At the beginning of this year, rumors had it that Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández could be leaving his current team, the FC Bayer Leverkusen in Germany, to join Major League Soccer (MLS). The rumor mill now has him interested in joining the Los Angeles FC.

Nominate your candidates! Call for Entries: 2018 Golazo International Soccer Award!

 Until now. It seems like the Mexican striker is actually sitting down with Los Angeles FC (LAFC) managers to talk about his new contract.

The offering details are quite impressive. According to MSG Network reporter, Kristian Dyer, the LAFC is said to be offering Chicharito a season salary of US $10 million, this is the highest ever in MLS history. In addition, the Los Angeles-based team will debut in 2018. This is quite a bet the team is going for.

According to MSG Network reporter,Kristian Dyer, the LAFC is said to be offering Chicharito a season salary of US $10 million.

Chicharito was awarded Bundesliga Player of the Month for February.  Having Chicharito join the MLS represents a huge marketing opportunity as Los Angeles has a very large population of Mexican-Americans.  Mexico’s Liga MX as well as the matches of Mexican national soccer team are among the most followed in the country.

Neither Chicharito nor the MLS Club has made public the hiring of the Mexican player. But brands and fans should definitely keep an eye on the game.

Other teams interested in Chicharito are Arsenal, Villareal in Spain and even Chivas de Guadalajara, which is where Chicharito’s career started.

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