Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

NFL aims to increase the Latino fanbase

Email this story
Print this story

Latinos call soccer football but that hasn’t stopped them from embracing the NFL.

“Football,’’ said October Gonzalez, wife of former NFLer Tony Gonzalez, is not just America’s sport anymore. It’s becoming an international event.’’

The NFL has taken note. The league has its sights set on engaging and reaching out to Latino fans. With an estimated 2 million Latinos living in Arizona, the Super Bowl provides a big opportunity for the league to tap into the market.

“We really want to focus on Phoenix as a multicultural city,” said Jennifer Sanchez, vice president of Urias Communications based in Phoenix. “This is the first time the Super Bowl Host Committee has dedicated so many resources to reach out to fans and we’ve had a great response so far.”

That response is apparent through the use of social media. The Arizona Super Bowl website ( is bilingual in English and Spanish and there are separate Twitter and Facebook accounts in Spanish. The Twitter account has nearly 13,000 followers, more than double the original goal of 5,000, according to Sanchez.

The NFL held other events surrounding the game to reach out to Latino fans.

Univision hosted its ninth Tazon Latino flag football game inside the NFL Experience. Gonzalez and Deion Sanders participated in the game that airs Sunday before the Super Bowl.

There was also a wide variety of Latino celebrities playing against the NFL legends, including JR Martinez and retired soccer player Hristo Stochkocv.

“I love American football,’’ said William Valdes of Despierta American on Univision. “It’s getting bigger every year. You have more people getting together to watch the game and it’s awesome to see.”

People from all walks of life also took part in Universo Football, a day dedicated by the NFL to bring in local, Latino musical acts. Performers ranging from folklorico dancers to cumbia band Chicha Dust received warm receptions.

“It’s a big honor to be playing here as part of the Super Bowl celebration and to represent our culture and represent a big part of the Latino community in Arizona,” said Olivia Calderon, a mariachi soloist who performed at Universo Football with Mariachi Juarez, based out of Phoenix.