Minor League Baseball grows con sabor

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A Minor League Baseball campaign targeting US Latinos has garnered widespread community acclaim and overall engagement. Baseball fan participation decreases.

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big picture: Copa de la Diversion, an initiative that empowers 76 teams with Latino-themed logos and some nights names, is ending its fifth season, even after 43 minor league teams lost MLB affiliation in 2020 following a reorganization.

why it matters: Baseball has gained widespread popularity in Latin America and the Caribbean, currently with Latinos. make over 30% of Major League Baseball’s talent – a number that has grown in recent years.

  • Prior to the Copa de la Diversion initiative, MiLB struggled to motivate Latino fans to attend games. The league began exploring ways to celebrate the influence of Latinos in the sport and within their respective communities, which eventually resulted in the creation of the Copa.

description: MILB unveiled alternate identities for the four teams in 2017, temporarily changing the names of the teams – such as from the Albuquerque Isotopes to Mariachis de Nuevo México – to better reflect the Latinos of the region.

  • The league said that since its inception, the program has increased its fan-to-attendee ratio by about 2%, which amounted to more than a million tickets sold to US Latinos alone.
  • In the years before the pandemic, Copa-designated games attracted 20% more crowds than non-Copa games.

how it works: Participating Major League Baseball clubs begin to work with the area’s local Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other civic leaders to create a name, logo, and program unique to that market.

  • Teams then select certain sports when they change their names for special promotions.
  • The Charleston Riverdogs of South Carolina turn up at Peros Santos de Charleston for a few games.
  • Down East Wood Ducks in North Carolina Avocados become Luchadores de Down East.
  • In California the Fresno Grizzlies turn into Lowriders de Fresno and the San Antonio Missions change into Flying Chancelles de San Antonio.
Albuquerque, NM Photo: Two girls stand in front of the Mariachis de Nuevo Mexico logo at Russell Contreras
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What are they saying: “We realized that the night of Hispanic heritage, sort of singular, was clearly not resonating. It was just checking a box and not what it should have been intended for,” said Kurt Hunzecker, of Major League Baseball. Vice President of Minor League Business Operations told Nerdshala. .

  • Hunzecker, who was involved in producing the program, said the league wanted a season-long celebration.
  • “The best way to celebrate these truly passionate fans who love baseball is by adopting a culturally relevant moniker that is representative of the local community.”

Intrigue: In addition to temporarily changing the names of the participating teams, the initiative also reinvests a portion of the money earned into surrounding communities, such as the Latino Student Scholarship.

  • Initiative has contributed According to Hunzecker, more than $4 million in donations over the past five years.
The Chupacabras de Round Rock (Round Rock Express) jersey is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Photo: Russell Contreras/Nerdshala.

Future: The Copa de la Diversion has been renewed in 2022, with an increase in the number of participating clubs.

  • MILB is set to make an announcement about the schedule later this week, though Hunzecker says he hopes the program stays on. “Continuity.”

go in:

  • Smithsonian exhibits capture the history of Latinos and baseball.
  • Where it’s Hard to Watch a Minor League Baseball Game in 2021


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