Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Sports Fan Base of South Florida, Part 5

Fifth in a series

In the past some have said that south Florida simply can’t support a Major League franchise. Some have debated whether a new ballpark for the Marlins should be in Miami-Dade or Broward. Some have said that Hispanics don’t support the team the way MLB had hoped they would. This series of posts is an exploration into these issues.

All of the data that I will be using in this analysis comes from the 2006 Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Scarborough Release 2 Study. These is a demographic study of consumers, which I have access to in my role as an advertising executive.

Importance of Hispanic fans to the Florida Marlins.

Most people know that there are a lot Hispanics in Miami. You may not know however that the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Market is the 3rd largest Hispanic market (behind only Los Angeles and New York). Still there are some preconceived notions about how important Hispanics are when marketing professional sports in South Florida. When the idea for a new ballpark for the Marlins surfaced several years ago one of the arguments for a Miami-Dade location was the number of Hispanics in the county and their natural affinity (especially among Cubans) for baseball. There is also a substantial Nicaraguan contingent and now, of course, a large Venezuelan community. Still some doubted the real impact that Hispanics have on the Marlins. To their credit the Marlins have a robust Hispanic marketing program in place that includes Spanish language radio and SAP TV broadcasts, the retail store near little Havana, and weekly radio remotes with the Mermaids, players and announcers.

So I thought it would be interesting to look at some numbers and see where the truth lies. The numbers presented in this chapter of the overall analysis only take Miami-Dade and Broward counties into account. This is because my data source does not field a Hispanic study for West Palm Beach and so Hispanic projections for that county would be too unstable to use.

Here's the baseline population distibution among Hispanic and non-Hispanic adults in Dade/Broward.

Let's look at the distribution among Hispanics and non-Hispanics for Marlins TV viewership in Dade/Broward.

As you can see, even though Hispanics comprise less than half of the adult population they comprise more than half of the Marlins TV viewers.

Now let's look at unique game attendees.

Hispanics make up an even greater share of unique game attendees.

So how do the Marlins fare when it comes to luring Hispanic fans in comparison to the other sports. Here's a look at TV viewership.

The chart shows that Marlins have the greatest proportion of Hispanic TV viewers followed by the Heat, Hurricanes, Dolphins and Panthers.

And here's the same chart showing unique game attendees.

The chart shows the same pattern as for TV viewership. It's fair to say that either Hispanics do have more of a natural affinity with baseball or that the Marlins Hispanic marketing efforts are paying off or both.

Since the Hispanic population of the market is concentrated in Miami-Dade county, we can expect to see Hispanics play an even more important role in the future if and when the new ballpark is built at either the Orange Bowl or Government Center site.

This concludes this look at the demographics of South Florida Sports fans.

Read part 1
Read part 2
Read part 3
Read Part 4


Anonymous said...

For a disucssion what the Marlins can do with marketing to avoid having a game with 22 fans in the stands, visit

Jorge Costales, CPA said...

Nice work Henry - I'd never seen this kind of data to back up the perception re Marlin fans.