A snapshot of the American Hispanic Sports Fan and their Digital Dependence


Hispanics in the United States representing one of the fastest-growing, and highly coveted (by marketers), demographics these days. And, not only are they some of the biggest sports fans in this sports-crazed country, they also over-index in their avidity, as well as their use of mobile and digital content consumption.

The research team at ESPN recently conducted a media call to discuss their findings after studying Hispanics in the US, and their fan habits, in 2014. Here are some key takeaways:

  • There are currently 37 million Hispanic Sports fans in the US

According to an ESPN Deportes poll on Hispanic sports fans in the US:

  • 34% are avid sports fans (8-10 on 1-10 scale) Over-index on fan avidity; the ones that drive viewership, game attendance, and merchandise purchases
  •  Bilingual Hispanics are the biggest sports fans, especially. 40% of bilingual Hispanics consider themselves avid sports fans
  • The average non-Hispanic is an avid fan of 3.1 sports or leagues while an Hispanic is an avid fan of 3.6 different sports, and a bilingual Hispanic is an avid fan of 4.4 sports or leagues
    • The reasoning is that bilingual Hispanics are fans of sports of their parents and fans of sports of their American friends

Per Nielsen Ratings

  • Among the total US population and a study of all TV networks in 2014, NFL is most viewed sport with 21% of all sports viewing minutes, College Football is second at 9%, Soccer at #3 (boosted by World Cup in 2014), NBA #4, Olympics #5, College Basketball, Golf, MLB, and NHL
  • For white fans, the rankings are the same except golf, MLB, and NASCAR move up, while NBA and soccer drop down
  • For non-Hispanic blacks, NBA moves up to #2, CBB moves up, tennis enters at 9, boxing enters at 10
  • For Hispanics, soccer is tops, getting ~ 33% of sports viewing minutes, followed by NFL, NBA, and MLB. Then CFB, CBB, boxing, and wrestling
    • Spanish-speaking only Hispanics watch less NFL and NBA, but soccer, [37%] wrestling, and boxing increases
      • Most popular soccer league among Latinos is Mexican league soccer, along with other international clubs that have Mexicans on them tend to be popular, too.
  • Hispanics tend to live in larger households, over-indexing with more people and fewer TV sets in the household (0.79 TV’s/person vs. 1.2 TV’s/person), so more shared TV viewing experiences – “co-viewing.”
  • 80% of all Hispanics live in a household speaking both English and Spanish
  • ESPN reaches 20 million Hispanics/week across all platforms in the US
  • Most of the Hispanics consuming ESPN content (41%) use both English and Spanish content from ESPN and they are the heaviest users, representing 52% of all usage (further reinforcing Bilinguals are biggest sports fans)
  • 64% of ESPN Hispanic users are using more than one platform, compared to 52% of total ESPN audience (going back to fewer TV’s per person in the household)
  • The average Hispanic spends 90 hours/month online vs. 86 hours for non-Hispanics; 75% of Hispanic online time is on a mobile device
    • Hispanics on mobile devices is up 33% year-over-year
    • 46% of online Hispanics are visiting a sports site at least once/month
    • 65% of mobile online Hispanics are visiting a sports site at least once/month
  • Hispanics spent 61 billion minutes/month on desktop computers and 160 billion minutes on mobile devices (+ 39% YOY)
  • Of all Hispanics on smart phones, 6x more time is spent on apps than browsers
  • Hispanics over-index for online video, +45 minutes/month viewing online video than average American (including +61% YOY on mobile)

On sponsorship

  • From a study of one digital sponsorship, those aware of the sponsorship had higher brand favorability (64% vs. 43%) and were more likely to say the sponsorship had an impact on their purchase decision
  • Multi-platform sponosrship is most effective; looking at a specific ESPN Deportes sponsorship, those exposed on one platform were 27% more brand-aware, two platforms -> 48% aware, 3+ platforms 53% aware
    • Also more platforms led to higher consideration for the brand
    • In a study looking at English-only ads, Spanish-only ads, and a mix of content performed the best

So there you have it. Hispanics tend to be more avid fans, fans of more sports/leagues, over-index with digital and mobile, and, in general, digital sponsorship delivers results in sports business.

What are your key takeaways and actionable reaction steps from this information?

Posted by Neil Horowitz Follow me on Twitter @njh287   Connect on LinkedIn

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