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The NFL markets its brand as well as any enterprise in the world. I heard a comedian once say that the NFL is so popular, it has its own day. NFL football is huge. Each NFL franchise brings in approximately $400M a year in revenue; almost double the annual revenue of NBA teams and 2 ½ times as much as MLB clubs. Each year, the NFL plays a regular season game in Mexico City, and multiple games in Europe, usually London. Obviously, the NFL plays these international games to expand its audience base and increase its revenue. As big as the NFL is in the U.S., it has struggled to build much of a following outside of our borders.
As the demographics of the U.S. change some people expected that soccer would eventually overtake the big three sports and become number one in the U.S. like it is in other parts of the world, but that isn’t happening. If you know anything about Latinos, you know we love sports. We go crazy for our favorite teams. I was at the NBA headquarters in NYC last week working on a partnership for L’ATTITUDE. I mentioned to them that I happened to be in downtown LA during Kobe Bryant’s memorial service at Staples Arena. There were 20,000 people who attended inside Staples and probably another 100,000 who were downtown in the streets. I told them that 90% of the fans I saw downtown, many of whom were wearing Kobe Jerseys, were Latino. I have to admit that I didn’t realize until then how much Latinos love NBA basketball. The one thing that America does best is produce other Americans. Most Latino Americans love most of the things that other Americans do. Latino immigrants may come to this country passionate for soccer, but after a few years they also fall in love with football, basketball, and/or baseball – and once they have kids soccer usually falls to secondary status to one of the big three.
My point is the biggest opportunity for audience and revenue growth may not be in Latin America, Europe, or Asia, it’s probably here in the USA. Latinos in the U.S. are younger than any other ethnic demographic, and they are passionate about sports in a manner that is literally unmatched. Companies like Nike, Puma, and Adidas have made fortunes catering to African-American youths. Nike in particular has done a masterful job marketing to young, Black consumers. Their leadership in this regard has made them one of the most valuable brands in the world, but I have yet to see any sports brand do a great job marketing to Latinos. Perhaps this is changing. LeBron James seems to get it. His popular HBO show, The Shop, has included several Latino hip-hop stars to participate in conversations about sports and culture. Nike has been a sponsor of L’ATTITUDE for three years, and their CEO John Donahoe has participated all three years. MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred participated in L’ATTITUDE in 2020. The opportunity is there, but what sport and which brand will seize the opportunity that is clearly there? I guess we will see. Enjoy the Super Bowl!