Soccer (fútbol) has long been a favorite sport among Hispanic fans. However, American Football continues to grow in popularity among Latinos – particularly in Mexico. We’ve pulled together some fun facts about Hispanic NFL fans and why the American pastime continues to gain admiration from Latinos.
Mexico has a large NFL fan base
28.3 million NFL followers, to be exact. According to Remezcla, 1/3 of NFL fans in Mexico consider themselves hardcore fans. Mexico has the largest NFL fan base outside of the U.S. and Mexico City has the 7th largest fan base of ANY CITY IN NORTH AMERICA.
Besides geographic proximity, television programming has a lot to do with Mexico’s love of the American sport. Remezcla reports that Mexican TV stations began broadcasting at least three games per week back in the 1960s. Pop culture references and Mexico-based NFL games followed suit – increasing awareness and understanding of the sport.
NFL awareness among Latinos
The Dallas Cowboys are a favorite team among Latinos in the U.S. for many reasons. Between a close proximity to the Mexican border and increased Hispanic fan engagement on behalf of the team, the Cowboys have made it easy for Latinos to become fans.
Other big names are well known among U.S. Hispanics as well – according to Forbes, 84% of the Latino community knows who Tom Brady is.
NFL viewership growth among Hispanics
Stateside, the NFL continues to see growth among their Hispanic viewership and fan base. The ratio of 2nd generation Latinos is on the rise, meaning that U.S.-born Hispanics are being introduced to the sport in elementary and high school. This increases awareness and understanding, helping to increase fandom.
While acculturation helps with fan adoption, Spanish-dominant Latinos still account for 25% of Hispanic NFL fans – an increase of 28% over the past 5 years (Nielsen).
Advertising & Hispanic NFL Fans
The NFL is also investing in attracting more Latino fans. From 2010 to 2015, Forbes reported that the league increased Hispanic TV ad spending by 65%. And the NFL isn’t the only one who loves advertising to Hispanics. According to Univision, Hispanic sports fans are 33% more likely than non-Hispanic viewers to buy products from ads in between sports programming – making them a valuable audience for advertisers.
Hispanic sports fans are “fanáticos”
Fanáticos, or fanatics, is a self-imposed title for die-hard sports fans in Hispanic culture. Hispanic sports fans are often known for their loyalty and dedication to their team. In fact, 30% of Hispanic fans would rather see their team win than receive $1M in cash.
Hispanic sports fans in the U.S. are also, on average, more engaged and dedicated than their non-Hispanic counterparts. To start, Latino fans consume 20 hours of sports programming weekly compared to 12 hours for NH (Fortune).
Latino fans also trump their non-Hispanic counterparts when it comes to digital savviness: they are more likely to engage with their favorite teams on social (CNN Money) and consume twice as many hours of programming on mobile devices (Fortune).
Hispanics sports fans love sporting events
Hispanic fans are also a valuable target for tickets sales. According to CNN Money, 31% of Hispanic Millennial parents attend sporting events. Not only that, 23% of Hispanic sports fans they attend games “all the time” or “often” vs. 17% of non-Hispanics.
The cultural importance of NFL fandom
For many Latinos, becoming an American Football fan is often a sign of acculturation:
“As an immigrant, it’s a way for us to feel like any other citizen of this county.” Álvaro Martín, ESPN Deportes
As for others, a Sunday afternoon game often means a reason for the family to come together – something that is highly valued in Hispanic cultures:
“It [the Super Bowl] means an opportunity for families to get together, enjoy traditional snacks, watch a show.” John Sutcliffe, ESPN Deportes
Acculturation event plays into how fans address team names. Remezcla notes that older, Spanish-dominant fans often use the Spanish version of a team’s name while younger, bicultural fans use the English version (ex. Los Bucaneros vs. The Buccaneers).
Reaching Hispanic football fans
Both the NFL and individual teams have successfully grown their fan bases by engaging Latinos through a number of methods:
- Creating a space online: both the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers (head coach Ron Rivera is Puerto Rican) have Spanish-language websites dedicated to Latino fans: SomosCowboys.com and Panthers.com/news/spanish
- TV/Radio programming: many teams now employee Spanish-language announcers to make game day more inclusive
- Education: according to Álvaro Martín of ESPN Deports, “Now we need a new Hispanic generation to be the one to create an American football culture. We need to create more resources and continue promoting and teaching the sport.” The NFL can be a hard game to navigate, especially if you are already an avid soccer fan.
- Community involvement: the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, and many other teams partner with Hispanic nonprofits to give back to the community (Sports Day)
- Game-day entertainment: invite local Hispanic talent to perform, have a Hispanic presence on your cheer squad, or draft a Latino player – representation helps!
For more information on how to increase engagement among Latino fans, contact the Entravision team.
Entravision Communications is the largest publicly traded multimedia company (NYSE:EVC) focused on reaching Hispanic consumers. Our media properties include Pulpo Media, the comScore #1 rated ad network for reaching Hispanic audiences throughout the U.S., as well as 56 TV stations and 49 radio stations.