Spanish-born marketing executive Vicente Navarro says U.S. companies need to tap into Hispanics’ passion for soccer in their bid to reach out to that important consumer segment ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and beyond.
Navarro is the director of Hispanic marketing for North Carolina-based Sports Endeavors, better known as SOCCER.COM/Eurosport, which was founded in 1984 and is the United States’ largest soccer retailer.
“Latinos have soccer in their blood,” Navarro said in an interview with Efe. “Just like their religion and culture, which is learned from parents and grandparents, and no matter where we live we follow our countries’ teams and identify with their players.”
The growth of soccer in the United States over the past decade has been due in large part to Hispanics, according to Navarro, who has worked diligently since the start of the year helping corporate partners of SOCCER.COM/Eurosport reach out to Latino soccer fans.
He said a second-generation Mexican born in Chicago follows the Mexican national team but could also be a fan of whatever Mexican club his parents supported, as well as of the MLS Chicago Fire.
Navarro said SOCCER.COM/Eurosport’s marketing strategies targeting Hispanic soccer consumers in Spanish - as well as the bilingual and bicultural population - have produced results.
“The Mexican national team is a gold mine,” he said. “When they play (in the United States), the stadiums fill up, and the TV ratings skyrocket. That’s good for the sport in general.”
Navarro said Fortune 500 companies have been using the World Cup as part of their strategy to reach the Hispanic consumer.
“Companies that don’t invest in the Hispanic market, in bilingual and bicultural personnel, will be set back 20 years and won’t progress. Everything that has to do with soccer and Hispanics is golden. We’ve known that for many years,” the executive said.