Obviously when one thinks of how to reach Hispanics, the first sport that comes to mind is………………………………ICE HOCKEY. After all, like the beloved fútbol, it is low scoring, features a cast of players where English is not often their first language, and at least in the U.S. is not even close to being the top sport by viewership or sponsorship dollars.
The NFL plays and markets to Hispanics in the U.S. as well as to Mexico, Major League Baseball has special events featuring Los Gigantes de San Francisco versus Los Dodgers, and the NBA has an outreach campaign éne bé a promoting the playoffs in select cities, but what is the NHL doing?
Éne ache éle may not quite resonate yet with a massive Hispanic audience, but if you attend a game in San Jose, New York, or Los Angeles you will notice a significant following by a Latino audience. The 2012 Stanley Cup Finals are featuring the Los Angeles Kings, which play in a market with potentially 5.7 Million Hispanic fans…..oh and will be playing a team from the New York/New Jersey market with over 4 Million Hispanics. While the NHL.com website is in 8 languages, Spanish is not one of them and with almost 10 million potential fans living in the metropolitan areas of these teams, that may offer a starting point.
The NHL has made tremendous progress in the 2011-12 season with NHL Gamecenter which offers live games, video highlights and more through mobile devices as well as an agreement to have the NHL playoffs completely available on NBC Sports networks for the first time. As cited in a recent Digiday article, while other leagues have been trying to pull their content off video sharing sites, the NHL has been taking their product -what happens on the ice- and turning it into content, spreading it out to as many platforms as possible.
As we have cited in previous articles, the Hispanic market is a very digitally savvy audience, uses mobile, video and social media at a higher rate than the overall U.S. market. It seems to me that while there are challenges to promoting hockey to the Hispanic market (lots of ice, Swedish accents, different rules and action that at times even the cameramen cannot follow), the National Hockey League has an opportunity to begin reaching out to a massive potential fan base.