1 Dos a Cero An Exploratory of the Millennial Effect on the Future of Soccer in the U.S.
2 CONTENTS Introduction The New 3 Passion Drivers The Perfect Storm Insights for the New 3 Conclusions & Marketing Implications The Team Octagon Access Page 2
3 INTRODUCTION For Hispanic-Americans, the path to creating one s identity can be complex and constricting. Historically, sports have served as powerful avenues for minorities to transcend stereotypes and create new narratives of success. For Hispanic-Americans, soccer has become a platform for integration and success in a culture they didn t always recognize as their own. Dos a Cero tells the story of how today s Hispanic Millennials see soccer as an enabler for new expressions of cultural identity, as well as a source of inspiration for new models of success. Understanding how soccer intersects Hispanic Millennials new identityformations and their expressions of passion for the sport can help marketers better understand how brands can create deep, authentic and long-lasting emotional connections with this demographic.
4 MEANING BEHIND DOS A CERO September 10, At Columbus Crew Stadium, the chants of Dos a Cero grew louder as the U.S. Men s National Team was headed for another 2-0 home victory over Mexico. The U.S. didn t always enjoy such success over Mexico. In fact it wasn t so long ago that both teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum. But, as is always the case in sports, it was a turn of fortunes (and a prevalent 2-0 score line) that intensified this dormant rivalry. Today, regardless of ethnicity, when fans utter the words Dos a Cero, only two countries come to mind: USA and Mexico. For Hispanic-Americans, the USA-Mexico rivalry challenges their status as adopters of two cultures. And, for 90 minutes, they are forced to pick a side and call out the country (and culture) they identify with most. For Hispanic Millennials specifically, many of whom are also biculturalbilingual, the USA-Mexico rivalry reveals some of the choices that continue to impact their ability to define their own identity. Ultimately, Dos a Cero is not just limited to an American fan chant created to taunt the Mexican fans and players. The phrase speaks to the growth of a sport long considered un-american by pundits; and the prominence of a young, bi-cultural Hispanic-American segment that is a big driver for this growth.
5 HISPANIC MILLENNIALS BY THE NUMBERS ONE-IN-FIVE MILLENNIALS IN THE U.S. ARE HISPANIC 20.6% 2-out-of-3 HISPANIC MILLENNIALS ARE BORN IN THE U.S. (1- IN- 4 THINK OF THEMSELVES AS AMERICAN ) HISPANIC MILLENNIALS WHO WATCH SOCCER ON TELEVISION (84% HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE POPULATION) 29.2% 31% OF HISPANIC MILLENNIALS ARE SOCCER FANS (over index of 207) 75% HISPANIC MILLENNIALS ACTIVELY USING SOCIAL MEDIA HISPANIC MILLENNIALS WHO HAVE PLAYED SOCCER IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (232% HIGHER THAN AVERAGE POPULATION) 19.9% HISPANIC MILLENNIALS WHO FOLLOW MLS (92 % HIGHER THAN AVERAGE POPULATION) 40% H I S P A N I C M I L L E N N I A L S T H A T A R E B I L I N G U A L ( B U T E N G L I S H I S T H E I R P R I M A R Y L A N G U A G E ) Octagon Access Page 5
6 THE NEW 3 Hispanic Millennials are culturally Latino at the core but they are re-evaluating their traditions and values. This shifting in attitudes, identities and values are having a profound impact on their relationship with the game of soccer. Hispanic Millennials see themselves living in a New Era, with New Expressions, and New Expectations. We are calling this phenomenon The New 3
7 New Era Hispanic Millennials are living in times that are unique; an era where everything - from values, economy, race relations gender relations and even notions of sport - are being questioned. Their world is in a state of flux. Within this new era, success is defined by one s individual and collective gumption (spirited resourcefulness) New Expressions Through DSM (digital/social/mobile) platforms, they have more multi-faceted and dynamic expressions of self as well as a larger palette from which to select when constructing their identity - e.g. more brands to choose from; a multiplicity of looks and styles to pick from and make their own. They are also looking for brands that align with their new expressions of self identity. New Expectations There is a boldness, brashness and forwardness about them that is inspiring; they are also expecting to be inspired. Their expectations of brands have increased exponentially - i.e. reciprocity, corporate responsibility, acknowledgement of those who support / make the brands what they are. There is an overarching sentiment of we know we are valuable, here s what we do for you what are you doing for us? Octagon Access Page 7
8 KEY VALUES Within The New 3, there are five key values redefining Hispanic Millennials views of success and cultural identity that underpin their worldview, personal growth and cultural evolution. In the minds of Hispanic Millennials, staying true to these values will ultimately lead to success, in their own terms. Soccer is one of the more visible backdrops where these changes are being displayed.
9 KEY VALUES Discovery Oneupmanship drives discovery amongst this consumer. They seek to uncover new things in every facet of life (i.e. social, political, cultural, technological etc.). There s a social capital that is tied to their sense of discovery. Those who are first or who are in-the-know attain higher levels of social capital. Soccer provides them an area of expertise where they can help others discover the sport. It gives them the cultural cache that Hispanic Millennials seek. Connectivity Hispanic Millennials have an insatiable desire to stay connected, entertained and informed. They move seamlessly through the DSM ecosystem to stay in-the-know as well to make things happen (read: barter for needs and wants). They place a high value on the number of people they are connected with (both virtually & in the real world) and derive a sense of value from their ability to provide their networks with fresh and interesting content. For young Latinos, soccer enables them not only to connect but also gives them a platform to showcase their knowledge with their network. Versatility- Being able to adopt, adapt and assimilate to different cultures and contexts is a skill that is held in high regard. The notion of versatility is also seen as a survival skill. Staying up to date, adapting with the times are entities that keep this consumers social capital high amongst his peers. The DSM space enables a sense of fluidity that enables this target to adapt to a variety of people and areas of interest. Socially, they look to showcase their versatility through diverse circles of friends and environments to hang out. Soccer allows them to share their versatile tastes and knowledge of the sport, teams, players and other cultures. Openness- Millennials value exploration and embracing other cultures, beliefs and attitudes. This consumer realizes that embracing other cultures is a tool of survival and a means of achieving success. DSM allows them to participate in a global cultural exchange of sports, music, fashion, arts, design, and content. The result is global exposure which is leading to adoption and integration of various influences into their local lifestyle and culture, i.e. a Glocal mash-up. Soccer exposes fans to different cultural experiences through DSM platforms making this consumer knowledgeable open to change. Expression- Hispanic Millennials highly value making statements through pastimes, fashion and communities of like-minded individuals. The ability to say (symbolically or overtly) this is who we are-as well as this is what we want - is critical. They understand the value of their opinions, creativity and social capital. They expect to be heard; they expect dialogue. Narratives (e.g. pictorial, text etc.) are the currency which they use to communicate and expect to be communicated with. Soccer does this innately because fans are so passionate and involved. Octagon Access Page 9
10 PASSION DRIVERS Octagon s Passion Drivers study reveals the impact of The New 3 on Hispanic Millennials relationship with soccer. It also helps quantify why Hispanic Millennials are passionate about the sport for different reasons as compared to their older generations and general market counterparts
11 OUR UNIQUE UNDERSTANDING OF FAN PASSION A great deal is known about fans who they are, what they do, and when and where they come into contact with sport, music and entertainment. However, what has traditionally been missing is the why Our proprietary multi-phase process focuses on identifying and quantifying the factors that define why fans are passionate about the sports that they follow: Factor Analysis WHY Pearson Regresion The Emotional Connections Change How You Communicate Cluster Analysis Passion Drivers Factors Octagon Access Page 11
12 A CULTURAL AND GENERATIONAL INTERSECTION Given their levels of acculturation, Hispanic Millennials consume soccer much like their General Market counterparts do. Simultaneously, their passion for soccer also mirrors how older Hispanics connect with the sport. Passion Drivers Factors such as All-Consuming, Active Appreciation and Team Devotion carry the same weight among all Millennials, regardless of ethnic background. However, in areas such as Gloating, Personal Indulgence and Sense of Belonging, Hispanic Millennials significantly over-index, aligning with the passion levels of older Hispanics. In other words, the world of soccer represents an intersection where the old and new generations, as well as the General Market population and Hispanic Millennials, meet. Octagon Access Page 12
13 WHAT IT MEANS TO MARKETERS When it comes to soccer, the Hispanic Millennial is Hispanic at its core. Even though they are U.S. born, when it comes their sport they take great pride in their Latino heritage and their parents country of origin. To ignore this means losing a significant opportunity to connect with them culturally and emotionally. However, brands should be wary of marketing to this group the same way they have to their parents. Given this segment s bicultural status, and generational separation to their homeland, they are less emotionally invested in their parents teams and more likely to be connected to the sport from a participatory standpoint. Soccer offers an opportunity to connect with this audience in an authentic manner. It is a sport that Hispanic Millennials embrace as part of their DNA, yet, they are redefining their relationship with the game and creating the next chapter in American Soccer history. Octagon Access Page 13
14 THE PERFECT STORM For Hispanic Millennials, there is no better time than now to leverage their favorite sport towards finding an identity and success. It is clear that the convergence of Hispanic-American assimilation and cultural influence positions Hispanic Millennials as the segment that will define the growth of the sport in the United States.
15 NEW ERA Hispanic Millennials are growing up in an era where their ethnicity is a less limiting factor. In this new era, Latinos are proud of their backgrounds and see their diversity as an asset rather than a hurdle. In this New Era, soccer becomes a terrain where they can challenge stereotypes and one-dimensional perceptions of who they are.
16 DISPLAYING THEIR NUEVA PASION Soccer is helping re-define the identities of Hispanic Millennials, providing young, bi-cultural Latinos a context to claim their heritage with pride while still supporting American teams. When it comes to soccer, they are no longer just Hispanic. This segment is leading the transference of passion for country of origin to American soccer club of choice. The results are displayed at MLS stadiums across the nation, in the make-up and display of passion of the team supporter groups. To Hispanic Millennials, the expression of passion for soccer in this New Era is multifaceted you can be a fan of the Mexican National Team and the Seattle Sounders, or you can be a fan of the U.S. National Team and Chivas de Guadalajara. Octagon Access Page 16
17 DEFINING THEIR IDENTIDAD A recent video by Major League Soccer called This is Home: Finding Identity on the Playing Fields of US and Mexico touches upon the reality of today s elite Hispanic Millennial soccer players, and their journey in defining their identity. In the case of players like FC Dallas Richard Sanchez (TOP RIGHT) and LA Galaxy s Jose Villareal (BOTTOM RIGHT), both enjoy dual citizenship that allows them to play for either the U.S. or the Mexican National Team (the highest honor for any soccer player). However, despite similar backgrounds and similar levels of acculturation, these players chose to play for different and rival National Teams. Their allegiance are driven by how they feel inside and where they feel most at home. This state of flux is very common in the New Era for Hispanic Millennials. Octagon Access Page 17
18 SUCCESS AND NEW METAS For the Hispanic Millennial, soccer holds a dual significance that reflects the reality of their bi-cultural existence. On one hand, Hispanic soccer speaks to their sense of festive celebration, the platform by which families and friends get together to spend entire weekends at the park. On the other hand, American soccer represents a sense of discipline and professionalism which appeals to their desire to improve their lives. With Hispanic Millennials placing a greater value on education, and seeing it more as a launching pad to fulfill their goals, the idea of obtaining an education while getting a soccer scholarship is more realistic than ever before. Today, with role models such as Omar Gonzalez (TOP RIGHT) and Monica Gonzalez (BOTTOM RIGHT),the goal is perfectly attainable in the eyes of generations to follow, and a way to continue improving their lives. In this New Era, soccer is becoming a catalyst for Hispanic Millennials to succeed in ways may not have seen realistic/attainable before. Octagon Access Page 18
19 GOING BACK TO LA PATRIA In this New Era of soccer, Hispanic American players are finding their way back to the homeland as a viable option for pursuing their dreams to play professional soccer. For many generations, Hispanic-American players opportunities were limited to whatever the American soccer system was able to offer. However, thanks to recent developments in the American game (and perhaps the Dos a Cero effect), Mexican clubs and teams today consider the Hispanic-American player pool a valuable and untapped resource. In recent years, and through organizations like Alianza de Futbol Hispano*, Mexican teams have been actively scouting and recruiting youth Hispanic-American players. Part of the rationale behind it is Hispanic-Americans healthier upbringing, which suggests they are more likely to be fitter and stronger than local youth Mexican players. Players like Hercules Gomez (TOP RIGHT) and Edgar Castillo (BOTTOM RIGHT), embody the concept of finding success by going back to La Patria. Both of them players who opted to go back to Mexico to fulfill their dreams of becoming professional soccer players, challenging stereotypes along the way and serving as role models for the New Era Hispanic-American player. Alianza de Futbol Hispano is the nation's leading organization dedicated to the development and support of amateur Hispanic soccer Octagon Access Page 19
20 NEW EXPRESSIONS Thanks to DSM technology, Hispanic Millennials are able to stay connected to a glocal soccer landscape. Unlike any other sport, DSM platforms play a central role in keeping them connected to other fans, their home countries, their favorite leagues, teams and players (some of which are not in the U.S.) This access is providing inputs and influences that are helping define individuals in a richer way.
21 SOCCER & LOS NUEVOS MEDIOS Not too long ago, American Soccer fans lacked proper access to their favorite game (outside of soon-to-be-defunct soccer leagues, or whatever international soccer game their local Pub was able to get through satellite television). For those with no such luck, it was like sitting in an isolated island waiting for a sign of human life, usually satisfied with the arrival of the month s Soccer Digest Magazine. Since the arrival of new media and the aggressive increase in television coverage in the U.S., so came the prominence of platforms where American Soccer fans found each other, as well as gaining access to the best soccer around the world. It can be argued that the arrival of these media channels helped promulgate a sport that was long-considered un-american by sports fans. By the same token, it is these channels that have forged a path for Hispanic Millennials to showcase their new expressions in soccer by providing more choices to help define who they are. These avenues have facilitated their education and increased knowledge of their heritage, including soccer from the old country. Hispanic Millennials now live in a world where Global is Cool and soccer is part of the average sports conversation. Octagon Access Page 21
22 DIGITALLY CONECTADOS Hispanic Millennials are embracing social and digital media more than any other segment of the population. They were always a part of a highly mobile and digitally-connected segment. However, where they have outstripped their non-hispanic millennial counterparts is in mobile connection to the Internet; they are also nearly twice as likely to own a tablet and use social media and to use YouTube. Specific to Hispanic Millennials soccer fans, they are utilizing this connectivity as a way to express who they are and make significant connections with other fans and brands that are aligned with the sport. More specifically, these fans are more likely (than the average soccer fan) to: Use Twitter 14% (178 over index) Follow brands with social sharing websites 22% (161) Recommend companies they like 20% (135) Connect with others on social sharing websites 19% (138) Purchase products they see used or recommended by friends via social media 15% (125) Octagon Access Page 22
23 MAJOR LEAGUE FUTBOL Major League Soccer is a good example of a brand that has successfully tapped into Hispanic Millennials DSM habits by providing connection points that allow them to identify themselves with the league and its players. Within efforts that speak to the Millennial soccer fan, MLS provides a robust array of video content that is organized to address fan s needs (i.e. game highlights, daily soccer shows, behind the scenes). Relevant to Hispanics, some of the most recent videos cover the careers of players like Diego Fagundez and Omar Gonzalez, both of them individuals that Hispanic Millennials can relate to, given their bi-cultural status. MLS is overtly showcasing its diversity and progressive thinking to make significant connections to an emerging fan base that is looking to identify with the sport in a new way. Octagon Access Page 23
24 NEW EXPECTATIONS For many years, soccer has been marketed to Latinos with content targeting mostly in Spanish and to first generation Hispanics. However, Hispanic Millennials are passionate about soccer too and expect to be noticed. Hispanic Millennials have an eagerness to be inspired and a willingness to work with brands if it s a win-win. It s is this search for a sense of empowerment that can be the foundation for a meaningful relationship with a brand.
25 CHANGING THEIR EXPECTATIVAS Hispanic Millennials today expect brands to speak to them in an authentic and culturally relevant manner. They recognize how Hispanic communication has worked in the past and they are not willing to accept that as their reality. They want to engage with brands that recognize the nuances that makes them so different from their parents and from other Millennials. Simply translating English-to-Spanish or Spanish-to-English is no longer enough. Compared to other segments, Hispanic Millennials are a highly brand-loyal segment but gaining their loyalty is a marathon, not a sprint. Showcasing knowledge of their values and what drives them (inspiration, reciprocity, corporate responsibility) is a key first step. Octagon Access Page 25
26 SPEAK ENGLISH, ACT LATINO The USA-Mexico rivalry challenges Hispanic-Americans to define which side they identify the most with. The topic becomes a heated source of conversation for many younger Latinos, mostly due to their bi-cultural identity. One contributing variable to this cross-over identity is the shifting levels of acculturation and assimilation among the different generations of Hispanic-Americans. Today, language is a key variable (40% of Hispanic Millennials consider themselves bilingual, but English is their primary language). For example, ESPN recognized these New Expectations when they became the first network to provide games of the Mexican National Team in English. Despite content in English, the analysts and commentators assigned to these games (i.e. Jorge Ramos, Fernando Palomo, Alejandro Moreno), are all individuals of Hispanic descent ESPN s way to ensure they are speaking English while acting Latino. Octagon Access Page 26
27 MAXIMIZING THEIR OPORTUNIDADES For a very long time, organized soccer was something that mostly benefitted suburban families in the middle to upper class segment of the country. With Colleges recruiting mostly from organized soccer teams, and Major League Soccer putting a high value on its Super Draft (which caters mostly to college players), becoming a pro in the U.S. was a tall order for the average Hispanic player living in traditional urban hubs. Given the importance of soccer in the lives of Hispanic Millennials, there is an opportunity to marry their New Expectations of success with new opportunities to advance a career through their passion point. For starters, the U.S. Soccer Federation has recognized the value of providing a platform for Latino players and has taken steps to re-focus their scouting to target more Hispanic players for their U.S. National Youth Teams. Major League Soccer teams have also taken similar steps with their Academy teams (some of which today offer scholarship opportunities for gifted players of lowincome families) and their Sueño MLS program. Players like Juan Agudelo (TOP RIGHT) and Jorge Villafana (BOTTOM RIGHT) are just some examples of players who have maximized the opportunities that have been offered to them. Octagon Access Page 27
28 NEW MODELS OF SUCCESS, ON THEIR OWN TERMS Hispanic Millennials, much like their mainstream counterparts, believe they can achieve almost anything. However, given their history of collective struggles (i.e. language barriers, stereotypes, etc.), this segment has learned to be patient and work hard for their goals. They have high aspirations for their careers and believe in the rewards of hard work. This is not a commonly shared trait with general market millennial audience. More than ever before, the success stories of Hispanic American players are inspiring younger generations. From playing their way through college, to making it to the Pros by going back to the homeland, their careers are inspiring narratives that reflect the trajectories of their fans.
29 IN CONCLUSION Hispanic Millennials are a complex and dynamic group that are seeking to hold onto the cultural values of their homeland, while simultaneously assimilating, adapting and reshaping their expectations of success. This is a segment that will grow into a major piece of the demographic composition of the United States. Soccer is a platform that aligns strongly with Hispanic Millennials in an authentic, inspiring & nonintrusive manner. As such, the sport is an efficient platform for marketers to reach this segment.
30 MARKETING IMPLICATIONS Bet big on soccer as a viable marketing platform The rise in importance of the Hispanic Millennial segment and proliferation of soccer as a mainstream sport are converging to yield a powerful sports marketing platform that cannot be ignored. Create platforms that allow for interactivity & share of voice In the New Era, Hispanic Millennials are exploring new identities, passions and goals give them a platform to share what makes them unique and allows for meaningful two-way dialogue with your brand advocates. Develop programs that allow them to accomplish their career goals A large part of the New Expectations for Hispanic Millennials is placing a greater value on education and career advancement(than previous generations), brands have an opportunity to increase their visibility by creating programs that improve the local youth s chances of success, in the classroom and in sports. Strike the perfect balance between heritage and their new identity The need for retro-acculturation from the Hispanic Millennial segment should not be forgotten soccer provides that seamless platform between a sport they claim as their own and also one that can lead them to new beginnings in the U.S. For brands, there is value in finding the right balance between communicating a tip of the cap to their heritage while also pushing a fresh perspective they can identify with. Octagon Access Page 30
31 THE TEAM ABOUT OCTAGON ACCESS Octagon Access helps leading global brands leverage sports, entertainment and lifestyle marketing to effectively reach multicultural and millennial consumers. We create insightful, innovative and memorable experiences that drive measurable results on behalf of our clients. Our awardwinning and groundbreaking work has helped clients across multiple industries including retail, fashion, spirits, automotive and consumer electronics, among many others. Bobby Jones Vice President Aldo Kafie Group Director \What we invite readers to do is, together with us, strategically apply these insights to identify new, unexpected avenues to connect your brand story with the passions of this generation to increase relevance, advocacy and ultimately sales for your brand. To learn more, please contact: Bobby Jones, Vice President, Octagon Access / Oscar Allain Account Director Shadyra Santiana Senior Planner Octagon Access Page 31