When it comes to speaking Spanish, my conversational skills are minimal. I can sort of understand when others speak it, but speaking it…no. If a Mexico team is on tv, if there is an English option, I try to tune into that channel. I want to know about the players on El Tri – insight into players that tend to play in Liga MX.
For years, I had the luxury of watching ESPN. Say what you will about ESPN on the whole, but they understood the Hispanic sports fan demographic was growing quickly in this country. They recognized it and immersed themselves in the culture. They made an investment to cater to these fans through a Spanish-channel, website and numerous broadcast and writing talents.
Even within that, they have evolved. Spanglish (Spanish-English) is part of their marketing efforts. Journalists who were once thought to be solely ESPN Deportes talent, today find themselves on the ESPN mothership.
All because ESPN invested in connecting with the Hispanic sports fan.
Mexico played Senegal in a friendly at Marlins Park in Miami tonight. As this version of El Tri was filled with many younger players – again, I want insight on the Mexican players – I tuned into FS1. And, after several minutes, I changed the channel.
It doesn’t matter that I can’t always understand the announcers, there is something reassuring about a Univision or Telemundo. I can pick up enough insight in what little I understand in Spanish than what Fox offered tonight.
That isn’t the fault of the announcers, John Strong and Stu Holden. Fox put them in the unenviable position of trying to do a Mexico game. But, it’s not enough to simply put someone in the booth. Liga MX is nothing like MLS. Players, seasons, coaches, fan bases, formations of teams – it’s so very different.
Because it’s about culture.
With Fox set to broadcast more Mexico games, as well as future World Cups and other regional tournaments, they need to make an investment beyond just securing broadcast rights. Make an investment in the culture with those who know the culture.
Culture matters, Fox.