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Art Garcia

Q&A with Saskia Sorrosa, Sr. Director for Hispanic marketing


Posted Mar 6 2010 5:12PM

Why is Noche Latina important?
Hispanics make up 15 percent of the NBA's fan base -- a larger proportion than any other major U.S. professional sport. Noche Latina is an opportunity for the league to thank these Hispanic fans for their support while delivering the excitement of the NBA in a way that customizes their experience and celebrates the diversity of our sport.

This season, we are celebrating Noche Latina throughout the month of March with special telecasts and in-arena festivities, including distinctive NBA team uniforms. Noche Latina events will be supported with television and radio advertising on media across the country as well as on the league's Spanish-language Web site, NBA.com/enebea.

Noche Latina merchandise, including the special game jerseys produced by adidas, will be available for sale at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, Champs Sports retail stores, online at NBAStore.com, and at in-arena stores for participating teams.

What are some of the inroads the league has made in Latin American countries and in trying to reach Hispanics here?
As we continue to grow the game globally, we see the Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market as some of the major emerging markets of the world.

The Hispanic market in the U.S. alone has a combined spending power of more than $860 billion and a growth rate three times faster than the general population, and with 46.9 million Hispanics living in the U.S., their population is currently larger than the entire country of Argentina or Spain.

Over the last several years, the NBA has been catering to these markets through a variety of grassroots events, basketball development programs, increased content distribution, and the implementation of key programs like éne•bé•a's Noche Latina.

In addition to the 26 games the NBA has staged in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1992, the league also reaches fans and consumers worldwide through the licensing and marketing of consumer products bearing the league's trademarks and player attributes. Fourteen licensees manufacture, sell and market NBA-branded products that are promoted and sold in more than 3,500 retail locations throughout Latin America.

The NBA currently maintains fully integrated regional and global marketing partnerships with some of the most recognizable brands in the region. To complement its partnership alliances, the league hosts a wide range of promotional activities and grassroots programs with NBA players in-country, such as the currently ongoing NBA Gatorade 5vs5 interschool league in Mexico and Basketball without Borders Americas.

Under the NBA Cares' umbrella, the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world, the NBA has also created more than 15 places in four Latin American countries where children and families can live, learn or play.

Today, NBA games and programming are distributed in 46 Central and South American and Caribbean countries and territories, including overseas owned territories, via 36 broadcast partners. Domestically, 18 regular season games are telecasted on ESPN Deportes and combined Hispanic viewership for NBA games across all three network partners is up over last season. The league's digital media assets have also shown positive trends, including Facebook's éne•bé•a page, which currently has more than 210,000 fans.

What positives have Hispanic players brought to the league?
As a result of the league's global growth, we are seeing more young people playing the game, which has led to our incredibly diverse fan base and the best talent from around the world competing in the NBA, including 18 Latino players from six Latin American countries and Spain as well as five U.S.-born Hispanic players.

Hispanic and Latino players provide us with a unique connection to their native countries and local fans, and enable us to grow the game at unprecedented rates. They are also some of most recognizable and successful endorsers in sports, with dozens of players appearing in local promotions each season. In fact, they have helped us increase interest in Latin America as we see incremental growth in regions where a player is from, such as Manu Ginobili's Argentina, Al Horford's Dominican Republic and Leandro Barbosa's Brazil.

What are some of the outreach programs/events on tap in the future? I understand preseason games are coming to Mexico and South America.
With two dedicated Latin America offices, one in Miami and one in Mexico, the NBA is committed to continuing to grow and celebrate the game of basketball by presenting outreach programs to connect with local fans in Latin America.

In fact, a record 16,000 participants are expected to compete in the ninth annual NBA Gatorade 5vs5 interschool league tournament in Mexico. The program, which in years past had been a 3vs3 program, has expanded to 5vs5 to increase participation and to give youngsters the opportunity to play full court with official NBA rules. The NBA Gatorade 5x5 interschool league, which tipped off on February 27 and will run through May 23, will have more than 160 participating schools in five cities: Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Chihuahua, and Hermosillo.

We also have great interest in building on the success of the NBA Mexico 2009 Game held in Monterrey, where we had more than 8,000 fans in attendance and 146 media members covering the event.

Noche Latina 2010 Schedule
Wednesday, March 3 Detroit Pistons @ New York Knicks (Nueva York)
Saturday, March 6 New Jersey Nets @ New York Knicks (Nueva York)
Wednesday, March 10 New York Knicks @ San Antonio Spurs (Los Spurs)
Thursday, March 11 Chicago Bulls @ Orlando Magic (El Magic)
Friday, March 12 Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls (Los Bulls)
Saturday, March 13 New York Knicks @ Dallas Mavericks (Los Mavs)
Tuesday, March 16 San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat (El Heat)
Thursday, March 18 Orlando Magic @ Miami Heat (El Heat)
Saturday, March 20 Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks (Los Mavs)
Sunday, March 21 Washington Wizards @ Los Angeles Lakers (Los Lakers)
Sunday, March 21 Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns (Los Suns)
Wednesday, March 24 Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs (Los Spurs)
Thursday, March 25 Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls (Los Bulls)
Friday, March 26 New York Knicks @ Phoenix Suns (Los Suns)
Tuesday, March 30 Washington Wizards @ Houston Rockets (Los Rockets)

Art Garcia has covered the NBA since 1999. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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