The latest Super Bowl game broke all records of audience, becoming the most watched TV show in history. However, it did not make the top 10 among the most watched shows by Hispanics.
The NFL has made important inroads into the Hispanic community. Many teams have Spanish content on their websites, and broadcast their games in Spanish. However, capturing the hearts of Hispanics will literally take generations.
Loving a sport is something that begins early in life: we love the games we play as kids. In many Latin American countries, young kids play versions of soccer or baseball with whatever ball-shaped object they find.
In fact, in my home country of Venezuela most kids know the precise way to “make” a baseball (start with a spherical object, a marble or a ball made out of aluminum foil, then start layering duct tape until you reach the desired size). We also have “chapita” – a very popular version of baseball played with bottle caps and a broom stick.
(Trust me, it’s way more fun than it sounds).
Will Hispanics ever embrace football? Not all of them. Only the ones that grow up here (and find their way to High School football teams), their parents, or those that as adults learn to enjoy the game. The key is finding someone kind enough to explain what is going on down at the field.
(Why are they stopping? Why is everybody leaving? Ah, ok. They’re coming back. Wait, those are not the same guys! What do you mean two teams?!?!).
For the rest of us, the sport passions will always be about soccer and baseball.