Friday, December 23, 2005

Neverending Part VI

The importance of marketing the sport also falls to the teams themselves. They can interact with fans more personally, and know their markets much better. Most teams have Latino marketing programs, and these programs have developed rather rapidly. Only ten years ago there were still many teams without Spanish-language radio broadcasts, let alone massive marketing campaigns targeted towards Latinos. One team which has made amazing strides in targeting Latinos has been the New York Mets. The Queens-based Mets, long overshadowed by the Bronx-based New York Yankees in the Latino fan base in the city due to geography, the Mets found themselves in a new Queens, and have taken advantage of this fact. Queens is full of Latino neighborhoods, all within reach of the home of the Mets, Shea Stadium. This proximity has resulted in the Mets using one advertising campaign called ‘Los Mets’. Spanish-language became a huge tool for the team, as they advertised in Spanish-language newspapers, television stations, and provided Spanish-speaking employees. All of this is designed to integrate the Spanish-speaking baseball fan into becoming a Mets fan. This method has worked, confirmed by the abundance of Mets talk on the airwaves and the increasing status of the organization compared to that of the Yankees.

The Mets also use their own players as a way to market the club to Latinos. Last year they signed multiple Latino ballplayers, the most famous among them being Dominican-born Pedro Martinez. Martinez, formerly apprehensive with the media, now embraced them. The Mets used their Latino players to appeal to their burgeoning Latino fan base, in a campaign designed to promote its multiculturalism. However, some ballplayers themselves disliked this line of marketing, namely all-star Carlos Delgado. Delgado refused to give the Mets what he thought they wanted, which was a discount because the general manager was Latino and he was Latino. Instead, he signed with the Florida Marlins, but ironically was traded to the New York Mets after the 2005 season ended. The Puerto Rican born Delgado refused to play up his Latino heritage for a marketing campaign, despite other players openly saying they preferred the Mets because of this campaigning.

The Mets also recently teamed up with Puerto Rican-based Banco Popular Bank to make them the official bank of the New York Mets. This signaled Banco Popular Bank saw the Mets as a viable route to advertise to its customers, about half of which are Latino. This also showed the Mets to be savvy enough to understand that many of its fans use this bank, and the inevitable tie-ins that come with cross-industry marketing could further improve connections to their fans.

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