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Data, Storytelling, and Hispanics: 3 Takeaways from MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

By Jed Meyer, EVP - Corporate Research

In its 11th year, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston tackled the theme “Elevate the Game.” Top industry thought leaders, sports enthusiasts, and media gurus congregated to discuss industry successes, challenges, and upcoming trends, encouraging innovative ideas and propelling analytics in the sports world.

Here are some of this year’s main takeaways from the MIT Sloan conference:

Engage the Hispanic Sports Fan to Get Share of Wallet

Appealing to the Hispanic sports fan is “critical” according to Sarah Hirshland, Senior Managing Director of the USGA. Hispanics do not simply watch a game, they want to live through the experience. For this reason, Elisa Padilla, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer of the Brooklyn Nets, emphasized “The messaging has to be relevant to evoke that emotion. It’s about evoking the right emotion to drive action to get share of wallet.” This market requires mastery, and effective Hispanic organizations not only understand the nuances of the Hispanic and Spanish-language markets but are proactive in mastering the social media, clarity of brand, and usage of data the market demands. Hispanics sports fan are an integral yet unique part of the sports ecosystem.

Satisfy Growing Sports Fan Appetites with Data-Driven Storytelling

The average sport fan and media consumer now crave faster, more in-depth, and accurate insight. Investing in collecting data and the proper tools to conduct rigorous analysis is vital to better understand and interact with your consumer. However, as former NFL player, Cris Collinsworth highlights, “No one just wants to hear about the data…you [have] to take the helmet off and make [it] human.”  We live in a faster, smarter society, where the marriage of empirical, anecdotal, and contextual evidence is paramount to satisfy the average sports fan’s data-driven appetite.

Know Your Local Market (And the Value of Mexico to U.S. Hispanic Sports)

Whether domestically or internationally, companies should understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to business ventures is not the best option – even in sports. Different markets have different tastes in consumption, so as an organization, it is imperative to solidify your footing in the market while pushing the flywheel as it builds momentum. For example, we at Univision put this lesson into practice after 2016 turned out to be the most-watched year ever for Liga MX on our networks.  After reviewing the trends, we decided to double-down on our investment, acquiring rights to now 17 of the league’s 18 teams. And we are not the only ones that understand that Mexico and Mexican sports are integral ingredients to Hispanic sports in America. Knowing his markets, Mark Tatum, Deputy Commissioner and COO of the NBA, expressed his interest in Mexico City as a preferred site for a team expansion outside the United States.

Here at Univision, we’re always eager to learn more about wider trends in the sports marketplace and we’re excited to say that later this year we will be presenting fresh new primary research on the power of the Hispanic sports fan. Look out for more announcements and a webinar later this Spring.

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