ESPN Deportes goes into the annual Upfronts running at the speed of live and underscoring the importance of maximizing ESPN’s vast portfolio of live events and content shared between ESPN and ESPN Deportes to continue developing the U.S. Hispanic audience.
Vice President and General Manager of ESPN Deportes, Freddy Rolon, and Vice President of Multicultural Ad Sales John Fitzgerald chatted with Front Row about ESPN’s approach in serving Hispanics and what’s coming next year for fans and advertisers.
ESPN Deportes has held its own Upfront event in the past. Why is it different this year?
JF: ESPN Deportes was incorporated into ESPN’s Upfront instead of hosting its own event. In our multicultural approach, reaching the total Hispanic is a big priority, and Deportes is an essential part of these efforts. ESPN and ESPN Deportes are working closer than ever in better serving the young, more acculturated Hispanic audience that goes back and forth between Spanish and English.
What can fans and advertisers expect next year in terms of content and programming?
FR: Our focus next year will be the power of live events. We want to make sure we are maximizing ESPN’s vast portfolio of live events and content shared between ESPN and ESPN Deportes to continue developing U.S. Hispanic audiences. We have an unmatched lineup of diverse programming next year that will allow us to do this, including the return of the World Baseball Classic on ESPN Deportes and the Monday Night Football game from Mexico City.
But we have already started these efforts and successfully increased our reach to Hispanic sports fans by connecting bilingual coverage efforts while taking advantage of specific live events and content shared across platforms. A great example was ESPN Deportes’ exclusive Spanish-language telecast of Super Bowl on Feb. 7. The game was complemented by extensive bilingual studio coverage that integrated on-air talent crossover, bilingual promotion, features and storylines relevant to Hispanic NFL fans. The efforts resulted in Hispanic audience growth. On the day of Super Bowl, across all ESPN and ESPN Deportes, the Hispanic reach was +96% higher than the 1Q daily average (and +128% higher among bilingual Hispanics). Among bilingual Hispanics, ESPN reached +76% more than average
How does this new approach benefit advertisers?
JF: This strategy not only better serves diverse Hispanic sports fans but also showcases ESPN’s capabilities to present content that serves audiences advertisers want to reach. One thing we know when talking with advertisers is they see opportunities around different demographics such as Hispanics, and the ability to target them with premium content is something we can do. We want marketers to think about this holistically and demonstrate how that value fits within ESPN.
How is ESPN Deportes collaborating with ESPN to serve fans across the board?
FR: We have tremendous expertise within the ESPN Deportes team, and since taking on my new role, we have worked closely with ESPN’s programming, production, audio, digital and print media teams to maximize the relevance and appeal of ESPN’s English-language products to U.S. Hispanic fans. We want to make sure we are leveraging what we already have to further develop this audience.