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What: Minor League Baseball has named the ‘Mariachis de Nuevo México (a.k.a. the Albuquerque Isotopes) as its Copa de la Diversión champion for 2018.
Why it matters: With the number of participating clubs more than doubling to 72 this coming year, Albuquerque and the other finalists can serve as examples of how teams can engage the Hispanic communities in their respective markets.

When Minor League Baseball (@MiLBrolled out its Hispanic-driven initiative Copa de la Diversión this past year, 33 teams jumped on board. This past season, to varying degrees of commitment. And as 2019 will see participation double across the country, with 72 clubs engaged, including every one of the initial 33, the new teams will have numerous examples of success stories to draw from.

This week, MiLB selected the Albuquerque Isotopes (@ABQTopes(a.k.a. the Mariachis de Nuevo México (@MariachisNM)) as the winner of its first Copa de la Diversión™ (Fun Cup™) event series winner. MiLB’s new Latinx Advisory Committee selected the Isotopes for numerous initiatives that took the Copa experience to the next level, to outdistance the following clubs who were finalists: Monarcas de Eugene (Eugene Emeralds @EugeneEmeralds), Cucuys de San Bernardino (Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino @66ersBaseball), Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City (Oklahoma City Dodgers @okc_dodgers) and the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio (San Antonio Missions @missionsmilb).

The expansion of this program, even into some non-traditionally Hispanic regions … shows that teams have identified that Latinos in their markets may still be largely untapped

“All 33 participating teams fully embraced the Copa de la Diversión initiative, authentically engaging their local Latinx communities in a transformative, relevant and fun new way,” said Kurt Hunzeker, MiLB Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Research, in a statement. “Having to select a single winner from a list of worthy candidates was a difficult task for our Advisory Committee, but it was impossible to ignore how much the Albuquerque community embraced the Mariachis’ mission and ballpark experience all season long.”

Some of the elements of the Mariachis/Isotopes full-dive into the Copa series included an investment of significant marketing money into the program, which led to a single-game attendance record in Albuquerque in their May 5 Copa game and highest average attendance in themed games across the country. The team also worked closely with groups like the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce (@AHCNMto maximize the community connection and benefit, helping them net the largest revenue from licensed “Mariachis” merchandise and commercial partnership revenues dedicated to Copa events.

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!

The expansion of this program, even into some non-traditionally Hispanic regions like Tulsa, Winston-Salem, Salt Lake and Durham, shows that teams have identified that Latinos in their markets may still be largely untapped. It will be interesting to see how many of the 40 or so new teams follow the examples of the Albuquerque, San Antonio and others that were all-in on Copa and how it may one day be an MLB initiative as well.

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What: Minor League Baseball and ECHO Inc. have built a partnership via MiLB’s Copa de la Diversión program.
Why it matters: As the first corporate sponsor of Copa, ECHO can serve as a blueprint for how companies can best hit the large geographic area that this demographic encompasses throughout 160 MiLB cities.

Copa de la Diversión, the successful and growing Hispanic outreach program introduces last year by Minor League Baseball (@MiLB), has its first dedicated corporate sponsor in ECHO (@ECHO_USA). The agreement, announced last week, makes the Chicago company (via Japan) the “Official Outdoor Power Tool of MiLB” and of the Copa program.

ECHO will activate its sponsorship with programs in many of the MiLB cities participating in Copa in 2019. Pregame events targeting professionals will highlight ECHO products, and teams will have their use for field and park maintenance.

“We are proud to have ECHO Incorporated as the first official outdoor power tool of Minor League Baseball, and to integrate them into our rapidly-growing Copa de la Diversión platform,” said David Wright, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for Minor League Baseball.

For a company like ECHO, it’s a wide-ranging sponsorship, targeting professionals who use such equipment, distributors, dealers, and general consumers.

ECHO will also gain social and digital media presence on the consumer side through MiLB.com, the MiLB mobile app and team social outlets. Community initiatives, use of MiLB and team logos and partnerships in this month’s winter meetings and trade show are also part of the agreement, which ECHO notes is “specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities by bolstering their marketing and customer service efforts to create a culturally-relevant gameday experience.”

“We are excited about this new partnership because it provides us a good grassroots approach to reaching our customers,” added Wayne Thomsen, ECHO Vice President of Marketing and Product Management. “What better way to help people make a connection with our brand and products than joining efforts with Minor League Baseball. The fact that teams will use ECHO products for field and ballpark maintenance further reinforces the connection.”

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!

MiLB hopes this is the first in a series of similar partnerships, after having established Copa de la Diversión and more than doubled team participation for 2019. For a company like ECHO, it’s a wide-ranging sponsorship, targeting professionals who use such equipment, distributors, dealers, and general consumers, and can serve as a blueprint for how companies can best hit the large geographic area that this demographic encompasses throughout 160 MiLB cities.

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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.

  • Toronto will host the WWE SummerSlam Week in August 2019 with SummerSlam, Monday Night Raw, SmackDownLive and NXT taking place at Scotiabank Arena over four consecutive nights. “We are thrilled to bring WWE’s biggest event of the summer back to Toronto,” said John Saboor, WWE Executive Vice President, Special Events. “We look forward to working with our partners at Tourism Toronto and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to build a blueprint that welcomes our global fan base to the great city of Toronto.”

 

  • Pizza HutPizza Hut is returning for a fourth season as the Official Pizza Sponsor of ESPN College Game Day built by the Home Depot. Each week, Pizza Hut will be onsite with its “House of Pi”, featuring a lounge to enjoy the full Game Day experience.

 

  • Hyundai has become the new presenting sponsor of NBC’s Sunday Night Football Kickoff show and will have the marquee presence leading into the primetime game each week. For the fourth season in a row, Hyundai is the presenting sponsor of the NFL’s Kickoff celebration. According to  Forbes, between 2005 and 2015, the total number of NFL Hispanic fans doubled from 750,000 to 1.5 million.

 

  • Dos Equis, the Official Beer Sponsor of the College Football Playoff unveiled its new television spots featuring coaching staples Les Miles and Steve Spurrier as part of the brand’s “2 Keep It Interesante” campaign.

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  • Uncle Ray'sMinor League Baseball renewed a multiyear extension of its partnership with Uncle Ray’s as the “Official Potato Chip of Minor League Baseball.” Uncle Ray’s will continue its coast-to-coast expansion with exponential growth anticipated in the coming years. According to MiLB, some 18.3-million U.S. Hispanics designate themselves as fans of Minor League Baseball, behind only the NBA and MLS.

 

  • ESPN Deportes unveiled a new This is Sports Center campaign featuring Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez and undefeated WBC, WBA and IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady Golovkin ahead of their upcoming rematch on Sept. 15.

 

  • State FarmPhilips Arena in Atlanta has been renamed after State Farm locked in a deal to snag naming rights to the venue, now called State Farm Arena. The venue is expected to reopen in October as the Hawks celebrate their 50th year in Atlanta.

 

  • The NFL team owners will permit franchises to sell sponsorship deals to casinos that work alongside bookmakers and betting companies. Still, casinos will be prohibited from directly advertising its associated sportsbook in its partnership with an NFL team. According to CNN Money, the NFL’s Hispanic viewership grew by 28% from 2011-2016.

 

  • FanDuel Group and Minute Media are launching The Duel, a fan-generated digital platform focused on fantasy sports and sports betting news and information. The partnership will “blend together authentic, fan-fueled editorial content alongside expert-led video and audio programming for the growing segment of fantasy sports and betting fanatics” across NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAAF, NCAAB, and PGA. The platform will also feature expert audio and video content from popular FanDuel personalities including JJ Zachariason, Jim Sannes, and Brandon Gdula.

 

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

  • Sling TVSling TV, the only streaming TV service to provide Spanish-language content by region, is launching three Argentine channels in its “Sudamérica” regional pack, making Sling TV the leader in South American content among streaming TV providers in the United States. Telefe Internacional, El Trece Internacional, and Todo Noticias join 10 other South American.

 

  • NASCAR is bringing back Kids Drive NASCAR, beginning at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway and running through the Aug. 12 at Michigan International Speedway where children attending NASCAR national series races will take over certain responsibilities usually reserved for adults. NASCAR’s social media channels will share Kids Drive NASCAR content throughout the three weeks. According to 2011 data, 20% of NASCAR’s followers are multicultural fans, 9% were Hispanic and 8% African-American.

 

  • Puma locked in its first partnership with the WNBA. The deal was announced as part of the festivities during the All-Star Game at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

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  • AllegiantAllegiant locked a partnership with Minor League Baseball that makes it the “Official Airline of Minor League Baseball.” Allegiant will engage with fans through various touch points in the ballpark and at select games. Allegiant will also serve as the naming rights partner of a digital advertising network that spans multiple MiLB markets across the country. According to MiLB, some 18.3-million U.S. Hispanics designate themselves as fans of Minor League Baseball, behind only the NBA and MLS.

 

  • EA SPORTS revealed that now fans will be able to create female players in NBA LIVE 19, giving gamers “increased opportunities to express their unique individuality and create a reflection of themselves while competing in the game.” Furthermore, NBA LIVE 19 will introduce new Icon Abilities modeled after some of the greatest female ballers of all time including Candace Parker, Elena Delle Donne, and Brittney Griner. On average, Hispanics play video games more often than Non-Hispanics (12 hours per week vs. 9 hours for Non-Hispanics).

 

  • Esports Pittsburgh Knights signed a new partnership with Totino’s, makers of Party Pizzas and Pizza Rolls, marking the brand’s first time sponsoring an esports team. It’s great that a major brand identified us as doing the right thing in this space and also wanted to support and grow esports. It means a lot to everyone who’s been working so hard behind the scenes,” says James O’Connor, Pittsburgh Knights President.

What: The Reading Fightin Phils minor league baseball team’s retirement of Roberto Clemente’s #21 highlights a season full of Latino-themed promotions across MiLB.
Why it matters: Teams are connecting with fans through these Heritage nights, encouraging local companies and businesses to partner with them to reach the Hispanic communities.

It’s about a four-hour drive across most of the state of Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh, where Roberto Clemente roamed the Forbes Field, and, briefly, the Three Rivers Stadium, right field, to Reading, current home of the Phillies’ AA affiliate, the Fightin Phils (@ReadingFightins). From 1955 through his untimely death on New Year’s Eve, 1972, Clemente paved the way for future Latino players with a combination of skill between the lines and compassion and community-mindedness off it. Indeed, MLB’s highest annual honor is the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team,” as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media.

While there have been pushes to have his classic #21 retired across the game, as Jackie Robinson‘s #42 was, Reading is getting a jump on it and doing so themselves. It’s a bold step for the state’s fifth-largest city, an area with a strong Hispanic population. Celebrating this community and the city’s diversity, the team will host Latino Heritage Night on August 22 —its first home game after what would have been Clemente’s 84th birthday on August 18— during which it will retire the number and play as “Los Peleadores de Reading.” Fans will also receive a Clemente Los Peleadores bobblehead figure.

The Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Storm are designating a full weekend, June 1-3, as Hispanic Heritage Weekend, their Western Riverside County location ideal for an extended celebration.

The promotion is one of many Hispanic-themed events scheduled throughout the minor leagues this year. Across the country, 33 teams in 19 states are involved in “Copa de la Diversión,’ a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities. Each team will host multiple events through the season, with each creating culturally-relevant on-field personas that honor the local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities, to be announced next Tuesday, March 20.

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“Minor League Baseball is built on the fun, memory-making experiences created by our teams each and every day,” said Kurt Hunzeker, Minor League Baseball’s Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Research, in a statement last month. “When we introduced ‘It’s Fun to Be a Fan’ and ‘Es Divertido Ser Un Fan’ last season, the overwhelmingly positive response led us to create this season-long event series, further showcasing our teams’ commitment to their communities and MiLB’s unique brand of fun.”

Teams Tailoring Latino Heritage Events

Other teams are tailoring the events to their communities. The Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Storm (@Storm_Baseball), Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, are designating a full weekend, June 1-3, as Hispanic Heritage Weekend, their Western Riverside County location ideal for an extended celebration.

The Chattanooga Lookouts (@ChattLookouts), the Twins’ AA Southern League team, will wear jerseys representing various flags on Hispanic Heritage Night on April 29, with proceeds from a post-game auction benefiting La Paz, a local Hispanic community organization.

The Great Lakes Loons (@greatlakesloons), the Dodgers’ A affiliate in Midland, Mich., have a Latino Night scheduled on July 20, with a post-game salsa dance party.

In addition to forging goodwill, teams have been able to connect the heritage events with corporate partners. First Tennessee Bank, for example, is a presenting sponsor of the Lookouts’ night. The Loons partnered with a local bar & grill for their post-game celebration.

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!

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