What: Elisa Padilla, senior VP of marketing & community relations for the Miami Marlins, has more than two decades of experience in the marketing industry.
Why it matters: Padilla is one of the most prominent Latinas in sports marketing who has the rare mix of Hispanic expertise across sports.

Elisa Padilla

There are few Latina executives in sports who have had a more diverse career than Senior Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations of the Miami Marlins Elisa Padilla (@eprican).

Padilla joined the Marlins (@Marlinsas Senior Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations in June and is now responsible for leading the marketing efforts for the team which include brand marketing, community outreach, digital, creative, game presentation, events & promotions and foundation. She moved to the Marlins after a short time at Apple where she was the Head of Product Launch. Prior to Apple, she was Chief Marketing Officer for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment where she oversaw the marketing efforts for the Nets (@BrooklynNetsand Barclays Center @barclayscenterarena, including branding, advertising, merchandising, database research, creative, websites, and social media.

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offer to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

Padilla’s tasks in sports business read like a great “how to” for brand building. She seamlessly led the rebranding strategy of the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn, and is the creator of the award-winning branding campaign “Hello Brooklyn.” She also played a key role in establishing the brand identity for Barclays Center by branding its five programming franchises. Padilla also led the marketing efforts for the venue’s sixth programming franchise, the New York Islanders, who began playing in Brooklyn in the fall of 2015.

The biggest challenge has been to educate colleagues how important Latinos are in today’s marketplace.
(credit Keith Allison)

Before joining the Marlins, she had accumulated nearly 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, working with high profile sports and entertainment companies such as AT&T, HBO Sports, Nickelodeon, and NBA. During her time at AT&T, she developed marketing plans targeted at the Hispanic Segment that resulted in solid customer acquisition and retail distribution expansion in key highly Hispanic traffic areas. She also spearheaded marketing efforts for the opening of the first AT&T store in New York City’s Chinatown.

We wanted to catch up with Elisa as the Marlins season ended in Miami to get her thoughts on a few other topics.

Portada: You have had several amazing stops, from the Nets to now the Marlins and others; what’s the common trait that exists in the places you have been?

Elisa Padilla: There has been an incredible drive and passion for the brand and its success. Whether it’s relaunching a brand, ensuring its top position in its category or building it up, driving awareness and being number one has been the common trait among all of them.

Portada: How has the road been for you as a Latina in sports business?  What’s been the biggest challenge?

EP: The road in sports as a Latina has been challenging and rewarding. What I mean by that is I have been told over and over again that I can’t do something, however, my philosophy has always been to let the work speak for itself. I have proven that out over and over again.

The biggest challenge has been to educate colleagues how important Latinos are in today’s marketplace.

Portada: How about the biggest opportunity you have taken advantage of?

EP: Delivering a different point of view. As a woman, the majority of the purchasing decisions are made by women in the household, no male colleague can share that point of view because he doesn’t live. I can deliver that view in multiple consumer profiles.

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Portada: This is a business of relationships. Who have been some of those who have helped you along the way and how?

EP: I am so grateful, so very grateful for the relationships I have in this industry. I have many to thank and most recently the three that helped me get to Miami, in particular, are relationships that were formed years ago. A reminder to never burn any bridges.

PO: There are many brands who are still a little wary of engaging in the Latino community in sports. What are the opportunities brands are missing or taking advantage of?

EP: Brands are afraid of what they don’t know. It’s all in the education of understanding the Latino consumer. The Latino consumer is no different than the general market consumer, the approach should be the same. Understand the data, ensure the message is relevant and go to market. The biggest difference is that marketers who don’t speak Spanish are afraid of the landscape because the consumer doesn’t look or sound like them.

Portada: On to the Marlins. Seems like there is a big upside in the Latino community. What are the first things that are getting done to rebuild that bridge?

EP: Authentic outreach into the community. We are going in from the ground up. We are understanding who lives in our market, where they are from and how they behave. It’s very exciting because it’s an untapped segment for the team.

Portada: Baseball is tied to the Latino soul. Does that make it easier to engage, or are the challenges the same as say, in the NBA?

EP: The challenges are the same across all sports. Consumers have so many choices, it’s critical that we make a one to one connection with your potential consumer and evoke the right emotion. In Miami, we are one step ahead because we are so close to the Caribbean and Latin America, baseball is their sport. We will capitalize on that advantage to elevate our brand.

Portada: You were very active in relief efforts for Puerto Rico, how did that come about?

EP: My parents and younger brother live in Puerto Rico. Our lives were turned upset down in September 2017. I became involved because they are American citizens and like the 3.4m on the island, their voices needed to be heard.

PO: Lastly, you must get approached all the time from young people entering the business; what advice would you like to share?

EP: Network, network, network.

Great advice from someone who has the rare mix of Hispanic expertise across sports, which makes Elisa Padilla one to watch and admire in the fluid world of sports business.

What: One of the largest Paso Fino equestrian events, Spectrum International, took place last week in Miami.
Why it matters: Paso Fino’s long history in Latin America and South Florida make it the premier breed for equestrian events among Hispanic fans, and the annual event is one of the largest in the country.

Among the dozens of major equestrian events in the U.S. each year, perhaps the most celebrated by the Latino community are Paso Fino competitions, with many of the beautiful animals bred in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Aruba and the Dominican Republic, as well as the U.S.

Paso Fino horses can walk, trot and gallop. They are able to do the diagonal moves of most horses; what differentiates them is its unique lateral gait and cadence that diagonal horses cannot perform. This makes them ideal for equestrian events.

Last week, as the Florida Paso Fino Horse Association (@FloridaPasoFino) also celebrated its 50th Anniversary, the organization held Spectrum International at the Equestrian Center of Tropical Park in Miami. The five-day event (May 23-27) highlighted various equestrian disciplines including Pleasure, Performance, Classic Fino, Trocha & Galope, Trote & Galope, International Equitation. They all featured Paso Fino champion horses, a breed which began in Spain but flourished after being brought to the New World, including Santo Domingo, D.R.; Mexico and other South American countries, some as far back as Columbus’s voyages in the 15th and early 16th Centuries. Despite heavy rains, an estimated 3-4,000 Paso Fino horse lovers attended daily.

Oculto de la Serrania won its second consecutive Great Champion Fino Stallion title, while Silindia de B. A. claimed the Great Champion Fino Mare crown.

Their Hispanic roots, versatility, smooth gait, brio and stamina is what makes them a winner among Latinos.

“Paso Fino horses are bred and enjoyed in Canada, United States, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Santo Domingo, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and several other countries in South America,” said FPFHA Director Carolina Padilla prior to the 2018 event. “There is a growing interest in Europe as well. In the United States, and specially in Florida, many breeders are of Cuban, Colombian and Puerto Rican roots. Once you ride a Paso Fino and feel their brio and the power of their gait, it is quite difficult to overlook this breed.”

That long tradition is clear today, and Florida-bred horses were among those competing in Miami this week. Padilla sees nothing but growth in the event and the sport moving forward.

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Taking place a few months prior to the National Paso Fino Championship (Perry, Ga., Sept. 17-22), Spectrum International annually attracts the best riders to compete, giving each contender a good taste of what to expect. According to Padilla, Spectrum International hosted more than 650 horses last week.

With tickets starting at $5.00 for spectators, Padilla sees the event as one for all fans, and says that the FPFHA markets it as such.

“We promote every edition of Spectrum International in each of our horse fairs, through our PFHA Magazine on a national basis, on our webpage, on social media and via e-mail blasts to U.S. Paso Fino horse breeders, owners, riders and enthusiasts, in our Facebook page, as well as through different [local Spanish language] Radio Stations,” she noted. “We also worked different Public Relations initiatives through local media, and, in support of our community efforts a local TV outlet, America TeVé, is doing some press coverage mentions to promote our event among the Cuban Community.”

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration, FPFHA has also instituted a Spectrum International Hall of Fame, with the induction of two horses, recognized in a public ceremony during the event.

“The Paso Fino breed is very adaptable. Paso Fino horses performs well in a variety of regions, climates and purposes that go beyond the regular show-ring,” added Padilla. “Paso Finos are seen in competitive trail and endurance rides, even in rodeo, and as working cattle horses as well. Their Hispanic roots, versatility, smooth gait, brio and stamina is what makes them a winner among Latinos.”

Cover Image: FPFHA

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