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Latino Daily News

Friday December 3, 2010

Are Latinos in the US Moving From Fútbol to Football?

Viewership of football among Latinos increased 31 percent in 2009 from the previous year, according to the NFL. This year, hispanic viewership of the NFL is up nearly 12 percent over last years figures, according to the Nielsen Company. Last year’s Super Bowl between the Cardinals and the Steelers averaged 7.84 million Latino viewers in the U.S., 2 million more viewers than the 2006 World Cup final drew.

In all, there are about 28.5 million Hispanic fans of the sport.

It seems that Spanish speakers are moving from fútbol, to football., can that really be possible?

“It’s just been a consistent message,” said Anthony Eros, director of Eros Consulting, a firm involved for 16 years with Hispanic Marketing and sports.

Eros, a former consultant in the area of Hispanic marketing for the San Diego Chargers, said he has seen the league branch out to Latin American countries since the 1990s, affirming that the NFL has promoted football in Latin America through player visits and events. “It has exposed them to the sport, so that if you’re coming as an immigrant, you’re not completely foreign to the sport.”

During 14 of the 17 regular-season weeks, NFL games were the highest-rated English-language program in U.S. Latino households, tying a record set last season.  The end of season game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 3 drew a Latino audience of 2.3 million, the largest ever for a regular-season game.

Fifteen NFL teams have Spanish-language content on their websites and 14 broadcast their games on Spanish-language radio, including the Cardinals and Cowboys, who also broadcast their games into Mexico; Mexican network Univision airs through radio 32 games nationally, including the playoffs, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl; they’re not the only Spanish network featuring football content: Telemundo, ESPN Deportes and Fox Sports en Español all broadcast NFL oriented shows.

Footballers with a Latin heritage are very popular with the fans and include Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza and Lions guard Manny Ramirez, (all Mexican American) and San Diego Chargers defensive lineman Luis Castillo, (whose parents are Dominican).  All these players were born in the U.S.