October 11, 2009

Yes, I was there at the beginning.


At a packed party at the Club 50 at the Viceroy in Miami hosted by ESPN Deportes and Moet Hennessy that included the Miami Dolphins, the National Football League and Miami’s high rollers, the celebration begins.

Why is this Hispanic Heritage Month celebration different and historic?

Well, Emilio & Gloria Estefan and Mark Anthony & Jennifer Lopez are the new partners and owners of the Miami Dolphins, a unique sports partnership with real estate mogul Stephen Ross that launches one of the largest Hispanic Celebration on the largest US sports platform, the National Football League (NFL).

The Estefans, along with Mark & Jennifer are dedicating their time to the business of making themselves available for community events and other promotional & marketing opportunities.

The Miami Dolphins have demonstrated a first class commitment to the US Hispanic football fan, a model that will be studied and possibly replicated by many more teams in the NFL and other sports in high-density Hispanic areas.

The Miami Dolphins Monday Night Football  game against the New York Jets on Monday October 12, 2009, will begin a new era in sports marketing to US Hispanics.

Sports Marketing at it finest.

Gene Bryan


I remember back in the late 90's, another Miami franchise had an amazing Hispanic reach withih Broward and Dade county. The Florida Marlins, after winning a few World Series, the Latino fan base began to dwindle to non-existent. Due to the desire to make money and not put the best product in the field. Emilio, Gloria, Jen, and Mark, can posture themselves all over Broward and Dade county all they want. If the Dolphins don't pay the salary to keep their draft picks and star, forgetaboutit, the Dolphins will stink up the field. Let's not get crazy about a few pamper Music stars mingling with Sports personalities. Sports, especially football is not decided on your last song recorded. But rather, paying the best talent to put on the field no matter what the owners may think is an outrageous price. Emilio and Gloria should follow the steps taken by Arte Moreno majority owner of the baseball franchise California Angels, who spends every year to keep the Angels in contention. As a Dolphin fan, I would love to see Emilio and quartet spend the money than stupid outrageous concerts that have no meaning to the game on the field. This is Football. Not an overdone musical presentation. LETS PLAY SOME FOOTBALL......

Gene, I saw the game an caught the Spanish speaking official's calls during the game. I thought it was very interesting and see some serious marketing implications and cash stream opportunities that will come if the NFL is truly ready. I will continue to watch and comment. Thanks for the insight. J.M. De Jesus President QUADRANT TWO PR Guttenberg, NJ

I covered the Jets-Dolphins game from the press box, and there was a collective gasp when, during the first quarter of the game, referee Alberto Riverón called a penalty in Spanish. The ESPNDeportes.com journalists giggled, while the rest of the non-Latino sports reporters were expressing a "what the hell?!" attitude. And that's exactly the problem. The "what the hell?!" attitude could have applied to just about everything the NFL did to tap into Latino culture and salute the fans, based on what I heard from the many Latinos in attendance. A play call in Spanish. Nelly Furtado's "Manos al Aire" during a timeout over the loudspeaker. Spanish-language graphics on ESPN. Is this really the way the NFL should be saluting Hispanic heritage - by alienating those that are not Latino? I argue that instead of saluting Hispanics and singling them out, we should be embracing Hispanic heritage by welcoming those who are not Latino to enjoy, understand and acknowledge the accomplishments of Latino players and fans alike. While the national audience tuned to ESPN and ESPN Deportes likely got a version of the night's Latino-themed events, I can tell you first-hand that 1/4 of the crowd at the most stayed in their seats for the special Hispanic halftime entertainment spectacular from an Emilio Estefan protege. Tepid applause was seen and heard. Why? Because Latino football fans aren't any different from the non-Latinos at Land Shark Stadium. They go use the bathroom, buy beer or food and up in Section 415 my Cuban friends were more interested in doing the Cha-Cha Slide with the ladies in the house than watching the salute to ... um ... the fact that they're Latino. Marc Anthony singing the National Anthem was nice. "Todos Somos Americanos" I'm sure raised eyebrows with those who believe undocumented Mexicans shouldn't be in the U.S. Spanish-language in-game signage and game-break salutes were fine as acknowledgements of a segment of the fan base the NFL is doing more to attract. But I believe there was simply no authenticity with any of these tributes, salutes and acknowledgments of Hispanic culture. Dare I suggest the NFL's designated national Hispanic Heritage Month game fell flat? Am I at risk of offending my friends at the NFL by saying that they are in danger of pandering? I attend many Dolphins games, usually with the Cuban friends who were partying at the halftime outside of Section 415. We tailgate in West 15, surrounded by other Latinos who blare salsa, merengue and reggaetón music. We toss around the football, eat churrasco and hot dogs, and drink Coronas and Bud Lites. We go to the games to enjoy the Dolphins - and want to see them win. The NFL, according the the TNS ESPN Deportes poll, is the No. 1 sport among acculturated Hispanics. For unacculturated Latinos, there is still room to grow, foster and develop a fanbase from within. Did «NFL en Noche de Lunes» get the league any closer to that goal? Maybe an inch. But a night or a month won't do it. A continued, long-lasting marketing commitment will. On a sweltering night were 70,000 fans - Latino and non-Hispanic - enjoyed a classic NFL contest, a reporter asked dapper New York Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez about playing in and the importance of Hispanic Heritage night during a post-game press conference conducted a little past Midnight on Tuesday. Sanchez's response - it's really for the fans, and recognizes their accomplishments and dreams and goals. It's not about him - he was there to win, and he didn't. Sanchez then went on to the next question, which focused on his team's efforts and what's ahead for the Jets after a tough loss to their division rivals. The former University of Southern California standout was indeed the biggest Latino star in the stadium, and perhaps had the best perspective when it came to what the NFL needs to with respect to attracting - and keeping - Latino fans. In the world of professional sports it's performance that matters. And the future performance of the NFL's Latino outreach efforts will be the true gauge of increased ticket sales, merchandise movement and additional dollars.

I have yet to experience hispanic heritage month during a historic event. But I do believe that this is a great opportunity for Hispanics to leave their mark in the sports industry. Yes, there are hispanic players but having hispanic owners makes it even better to get known faster. I believe that this is just the start for hispanics to break into the sports industry as business people.

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