The Hispanic market and MMA
July 23, 2011
This past week’s issue of the Sports Business Journal focused on the increasing importance of the Hispanic market. The numbers reveal that MMA is one of the most watched sports by the demographic.
Research compiled by ESPN shows that households that speak Spanish, or mostly Spanish, are fans of MMA. MMA and wrestling (the study couples the two sports) is the second watched sport to soccer in households that speak Spanish. In households that speak mostly English, MMA and wrestling fall to third behind the NFL and NBA. Notably, MMA and wrestling fall off the survey in households that speak only English. The top sports in that segment are NFL, NBA and college football.
One of the takeaways from the feature is that for Hispanics, the median age is 27, there are 17 million Hispanics under the age of 18 and three out of four speak English and Spanish. Univision ratings are strong as a result of its soccer coverage.
Fox Deportes is attempting to cater to this burgeoning market with the help of Alex Rodriguez and Cain Velasquez. The NY Yankee and the UFC Champ are featured in branding spots for the channel. They are described as “slick and edgy spots” with the tag line: “Its our moment.” SBJ remarks the backgrounds of both Rodriguez and Velasquez as American born but embracing their heritage. As you recall, Velasquez has included Spanish in his appearances. Although it seems that he is not fluent, the attempts are well-received.
For its part, the UFC introduced UFCLatino.com to capitalize on this growing market. The UFC will be able to leverage its fighters to cater to the Hispanic market. Not only Velasquez, but Bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz should be ready for a push in the coming year. With his win over Urijah Faber, he is slated to defend his title against Demetrious Johnson on Versus this fall. This is a great chance for the UFC to promote Cruz and get many of the Hispanic demographic to have the chance to watch Cruz without the need to invest in a PPV. The hope would be that with a strong showing from Cruz, a fan base will grow.
The SBJ article is an interesting study on the Latino market. Already, Cain Velasquez is reaping the benefits of the growing interest in marketing toward the Hispanic population. In boxing, Victor Ortiz is on the cusp of something big if he were to upset Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Regardless, the September PPV between the two should be a huge PPV buy.
Certainly, the UFC is monitoring these types of trends and acting accordingly (e.g., UFCLatino.com). Cain Velasquez (and hopefully Dominick Cruz) should be able to garner more sponsors as a result of the popularity of the sport. With the numbers showing that many Latinos will be entering the UFC demographic in the near future, you could see more integration of Latino influence in the marketing of the UFC.