Play Ball!

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Who knew that the movie “The Sandlot” – celebrating 22 years this month – was way ahead of its time? You see how the main character and the team’s best baseball player, Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, is Latino. I love that movie. But I had never thought about it in that cultural context.

While the 2015 demographic MLB Opening Day breakdown has yet to be released, 2014 provides an illustration of how diverse MLB is:

“The Dominican Republic again leads the Major Leagues with 83 players born outside the United States. Venezuela ranks second with 59 players, marking its fourth-highest total of all time. Cuba places third with 19 players, setting a new all-time high and surpassing last year’s record high of 15.

Rounding out the totals are Puerto Rico (11); Canada (10); Japan (9), Mexico (9); Curaçao (5, surpassing its previous high of four set in 2009 and 2012); Colombia (4, matching its previous high set last year); Panama (4); Nicaragua (3, matching its previous high set in 2012)

And with Cuban relations easing, we’re bound to see a greater Cuban presence on MLB rosters similar to what we have seen in the Dominican Republic: a greater emphasis on training camps in Cuba.

MLB is ahead of its time, as it already (to an extent), exemplifies the estimated U.S. population in 2050. The U.S. Census projects that by 2050, Hispanics will make up about 29% of the total population. Today, 26.9% of MLB players are Hispanic. The biggest difference, however, is that the overwhelming majority of Hispanic MLB players (84%) are foreign born, in stark contrast to the just over 50% of U.S. born Hispanics. With U.S. born Hispanics steadily increasing, MLB will eventually be on par with total population.

Azteca America Scores with Sports

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Azteca America’s broadcast of the Tijuana vs. Chivas and Monarcas vs. Cruz Azul Futbol Liga Mexicana (FLM) matches on Friday, April 17 outranked all programming on competitors UniMas, Estrella and MundoFOX among adults 18-49, with Tijuana vs. Chivas averaging 575,000 total viewers and 347,000 adults 18-49 and Monarcas vs. Cruz Azul averaging 370,000 total viewers and 205,000 adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

Tijuana vs. Chivas delivered more than three times the adults 18-49 audience for UniMas’ MLS game (New York Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes), while Monarcas vs. Cruz Azul delivered almost double the adults 18-49 audience for UniMas’ MLS game.

Tijuana vs. Chivas outperformed all MLS games broadcast on UniMas this season, among adults 18-49.

Tijuana vs. Chivas was the third highest rated game on Azteca this season among adults 18-49, and the game’s average audience was 19% larger than Telemundo’s season-to-date delivery in the demo for Futbol Estelar Pachuca/Leon.

Overall, the game ranked as the fourth highest rated program for the night on Spanish-language primetime among men 18-34 and men 21-34, outperforming key primetime on Univision (“Que Te Perdone Dios” and “Sombra del Pasado”) and Telemundo (“Casa Cerrado,” “Tierra de Reyes” and “Avenida Brasil”).

Both games also performed very well on the local level. In Los Angeles, Tijuana vs. Chivas ranked #1 regardless of language among men 25-54, while Monarcas vs. Cruz Azul was #1 in the demo among Spanish-language networks. In Chicago, both games ranked #1 among Spanish-language networks among men 18-34. Additionally, Tijuana vs. Chivas ranked #1 among Spanish-language networks with adults 18-49, adults 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54. In Dallas, Tijuana vs. Chivas ranked #1 among Spanish-language networks with men 25-54.

MLS to Kick Off New Season Exclusively via UDN

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Univision Deportes has announced plans to kick off the 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) season via the Univision Deportes Network with a simulcast on UniMás, marking the first time in U.S. television history that a major American sports league debuts exclusively on a Hispanic network.

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In addition, the extended partnership between Univision Deportes and MLS include programming like the launch of  “Somos MLS” weekly segments and existing Univision Deportes’ shows “República Deportiva,” “Fútbol Club,” “Contacto Deportivo” and “Locura Deportiva,” along with digital extensions and cross promotional efforts across UCI properties.

ESPN Launches Bilingual Digital Sports Hub

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20150209Pg8ESPN announced the launch of its new bilingual online page, One Nacion. The site integrates ESPN  and ESPN Deportes content relevant to U.S. Hispanic sports fans, along with original content.

ESPN has unveiled One Nación, a new bilingual website targeting U.S. Hispanic sports fans with English and Spanish-language content. The new hub will target a bilingual and bicultural audience with stories collected from ESPN and ESPN Deportes, along with original video content presented in a mix of both languages. The goal is to give bilingual Hispanics easy access to ESPN content, regardless of language.

“One Nación aims to provide a voice that’s inclusive and reflective of the entire U.S. Hispanic experience; their achievements and challenges,” ESPN senior director of multicultural content Hugo Balta said in a statement. “It further highlights the work produced across networks, platforms and sites, while better serving the Hispanic audience that navigates across both cultures.”

The new site, which takes its name from a one-hour ESPN studio show that aired in 2013, will also present original content presented in a mix of both languages. ESPN Digital media’s Antonietta Collins and ESPN Deportes’ Alfredo Lomeli will serve as hosts, presenting bi-weekly video segments that highlight the latest hot button topics. In addition, “No Hablo español,” a video series produced from Los Angeles that focuses on the perspectives of second- and third-generation Latinos, will feature guests from the sports and entertainment industry.

As part of its debut, One Nación will feature a special report about Puerto Rico’s 1995 baseball “Dream Team” which boasted a roster that included Roberto Alomar, Bernie Williams and Carmelo Martinez. The island nation will once again host this year’s Caribbean Series, which begins today.

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