Why The World Cup May Be An Entry Point To The U.S. Hispanic Market

Every four years, a large contingent of Americans develops an interest in soccer — and advertisers sit up and take notice. This year, although the U.S. didn’t qualify for the World Cup, there’s still a great opportunity for advertisers to reach out to another vital demographic — U.S. Hispanics.The World Cup — and the lead-up to it — is a major cultural milestone that doubles as a great opportunity for brands to develop a connection to their Hispanic audiences. Just imagine if the Super Bowl happened only once every four years: The outpouring of excitement, emotion, and passion would be overwhelming — and the ads would be even more of an event than they are currently.

One measure of how important the World Cup as an event is to Hispanic audiences is the fact that in 2011 Telemundo, the Spanish-language network, owned by NBCUniversal, paid $600 million for the Spanish-language rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. By contrast, Fox paid only $400 million for the English-language rights for the same events, which gives some indication of which audience those networks consider to be most valuable.

It goes without saying that soccer is a huge passion point for U.S. Hispanics. “For the Spanish-language audience, soccer is No. 1,” says Ray Warren, president of Telemundo’s sports division. “Everything else is No. 2. For us, it’s really not sports as much as it’s soccer.”

Hispanics aren’t only interested in the World Cup because it’s the premier soccer event; there’s also the added excitement of rooting for the countries that they have ties to. This year, teams from Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia, among others, will be competing for the chance to win the trophy, which means that Hispanics with connections to those countries will be playing closer attention to the matches — and, by extension, the ads.

Because the event is being held in Russia this year, many of the matches take place in the early morning and afternoon — so while many die-hard fans may take the time to watch the matches live, many more will be catching up on scores and highlights periodically throughout the day, which reinforces the importance of digital channels as the main means of reaching fans.

In addition, the fact that Hispanics are more likely to use the internet on their smartphones than other audiences means that advertisers can use this affinity to create engaging, immersive mobile experiences. Both of these together indicate the importance of both mobile and digital channels in this World Cup.

Given that 38 million people — or 76% of the U.S. Hispanic population — have roots that tie back to the Spanish-speaking countries being represented, it should be a no-brainer for brands to direct their advertising dollars towards reaching this demographic. Furthermore, soccer is responsible for about a third of all sports viewership amongst Hispanics; in other words, the majority of sports-loving bilingual Hispanics watch soccer, and will therefore be likely to tune in to watch the World Cup in some way, shape or form.

Just as the Super Bowl has morphed from a football game to a cultural event, the World Cup is not just about soccer. It’s a chance for Hispanics to show their pride, celebrate their roots, and get together with family and friends to cheer on their teams. Advertisers that are able to tap into that spirit will be able to forge a strong connection to the Hispanic audience, one that will last for many World Cups to come.

by Parker Morse
Courtesy of mediapost

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