Ems, OSU reaching out to Hispanics.Byline: Ron Bellamy/The Register-Guard
A decade from now, perhaps 2006 will be remembered as the year that some local sports teams began to recognize the significance of the growing Hispanic community in the Eugene-Springfield area.
The steps now are baby steps, and there's still more talking than walking, but clearly some movement is being made toward closer relations between some sports entities and a potential constituency of fans that has been overlooked and, in fact, ignored.
In the long term, that could lead to new advertising markets for sponsors, to new fans in the stands, and to a greater degree of inclusion of the Hispanic community in local spectator sports and, thus, in the community at large.
"These are pivotal moments, doing this kind of small work," said Jorge Navarro, executive director of Centro LatinoAmericano. "Sports increasingly is a bonding with the community in ways that social service agencies like ours, or activist groups, don't get close to.
"Sports can overcome a lot of those social barriers that a concerted political effort or concerted activist push doesn't address."
The Eugene Emeralds The Eugene Emeralds (nicknamed the Ems) are a minor league baseball team in Eugene, Oregon, United States. They are a Class A team in the Northwest League, and have been a farm team of the San Diego Padres since 2001. , with the strong encouragement of the San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. Padres
Not to be confused with San Diego Padres. , their major league affiliate, are seeking ways to link Hispanic players - as many as eight on the roster this season - with the local Hispanic community, both to provide a greater comfort level and educational services for the players during their short-season stay in Eugene, and to offer "heroes" to an untapped source of fans.
Earlier this summer, Tim Katzman, San Diego Padres director of corporate communications Corporate communications is the process of facilitating information and knowledge exchanges with internal and key external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. , visited Eugene and, with Ems assistant general manager Bryan Beban, had several meetings seeking to nurture a connection between the baseball team and the Hispanic community. It's a priority throughout the Padres farm system, at the directive of chief executive officer Sandy Alderson Richard Lynn Alderson (born November 22, 1947 in Seattle, Washington) is the CEO of the Major League Baseball San Diego Padres.
Prior to the Padres, Alderson worked for MLB's commissioner’s office, where he was executive vice president for baseball operations between .
"If nothing else," Katzman said, "the World Baseball Classic
An Emeralds' home game against Tri-City earlier this month was broadcast in Spanish on Eugene radio station KXOR-AM, part of Eugene-based Churchill Media. Paul Danitz, Churchill Media general manager, said he hopes to carry all Emeralds home games in Spanish next season, and some road games.
"I'm betting on interest in the long-term," Danitz said. "I want to take the Hispanics to the community and say, `Here we are, don't miss this marketing segment.' I want people to see that there's interest, and that the Hispanic community does want to get involved with sports and it's time It's Time was a successful political campaign run by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) under Gough Whitlam at the 1972 election in Australia. Campaigning on the perceived need for change after 23 years of conservative (Liberal Party of Australia) government, Labor put forward a that we try to take care of them."
Earlier this month Churchill Media announced a three-year agreement to carry Spanish-language broadcasts of Oregon State football games, home and away, starting this season on KXOR and on stations it operates in Portland and Yakima.
The contract with Oregon State came after Churchill Media, which is owned by Suzanne Arlie, had tried for some time to reach an agreement to carry University of Oregon The University of Oregon is a public university located in Eugene, Oregon. The university was founded in 1876, graduating its first class two years later. The University of Oregon is one of 60 members of the Association of American Universities. games. Now Oregon will be forced to play catch-up after the Beavers have struck first in the Ducks' hometown.
"It's not going to be an immediate money-maker for this company," Danitz said. "There will be a day, we hope, when it will be." Ultimately, he believes, the deal "will be very good for the school, and good for us, too."
Thursday, Churchill Media revealed another venture into sports coverage, announcing that it will close KLZS-AM (1450), a Eugene-based music station, at the end of this month and, on Sept. 1, shift programming on that signal to ESPN Deportes ESPN Deportes is a cable television network dedicated to broadcasting sports-related programming 24 hours a day in the Spanish language. Deportes means "sports" in Spanish. , ESPN's Spanish-language network.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Churchill Media's numbers, the Hispanic market in the Eugene-Springfield area numbers almost 27,000 people; by the year 2050, according to one estimate, Hispanic people will account for 25 percent of the local population.
Long before then, you'd think, local sports franchises - the Ems, OSU (Open Source UNIX) Refers to the Unix variants that are maintained as open source, which were primarily BSD Unix and Linux until Sun made its Solaris operating system open source in 2005. , the University of Oregon - will not simply be judged on whether they provide Spanish-language broadcasts of sporting events, or provide promotional events aimed at the Hispanic market, but in their hiring practices and bilingualism.
"I think it's really an untapped source, at least locally," Navarro said.
"Obviously, it's a demographic piece that is continuing to grow, and the stronger the community roots are, the better it is for all of us. ... It's a significant number of people. Recognizing them, I think, is a really big piece."
In the short term, the Spanish-language broadcasts that KXOR will offer for Oregon State football this season, and potentially for the Ems next season, are symbolic of recognizing that community. In the long term, those broadcasts represent potential markets for advertisers, a new base of fans and, for Oregon State, a recruiting vehicle for new students.
The Beavers also will be carried on KLZS, along with ESPN Deportes, which will carry sports news shows, extensive soccer coverage - including games for the highly popular Mexican team, Las Chivas Rayados de Guadalajara - and will carry major league baseball "MLB" and "Major Leagues" redirect here. For other uses, see MLB (disambiguation) and Major Leagues (disambiguation).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball. games, including the playoffs and World Series.
Danitz, who came to Eugene from Texas, where he was involved with radio stations that carried Spanish-language broadcasts of Dallas Cowboys
Received from the original source: firsthand information.
first how the Cowboys became immensely popular in the Hispanic community in Texas and in Mexico.
He has plans to get some OSU games on the air in Mexico City Mexico City
Spanish Ciudad de México
City (pop., 2000: city, 8,605,239; 2003 metro. area est., 18,660,000), capital of Mexico. Located at an elevation of 7,350 ft (2,240 m), it is officially coterminous with the Federal District, which occupies 571 sq mi .
"It's my intention to brand this team as the college team for Hispanics," Danitz said.
It's an opportunity that might have been Oregon's, because Churchill Media had been negotiating with ESPN Plus ESPN Plus is the popular name of ESPN Regional Television, which is an American television program syndicator. ERT is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Until its purchase by ESPN, this sports package's syndicator was known as Creative Sports. , which handles the Ducks' radio and television matters, and did a Spanish-language broadcast of the Civil War on KXOR last year.
However, from Churchill Media's viewpoint, talks "weren't moving at a pace that was going to get anything productive done," according to Scott Diehl, chief operating officer Chief Operating Officer (COO)
The officer of a firm responsible for day-to-day management, usually the president or an executive vice-president. of Arlie & Company, and negotiations were terminated earlier this year.
As slowly as talks had gone with Oregon, they went that rapidly with Oregon State, the Beavers pouncing pounce 1
v. pounced, pounc·ing, pounc·es
1. To spring or swoop with intent to seize someone or something: on a loose football, so to speak, and running with it, right in the Ducks' hometown.
"It was the kind of partnership we were looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. ," Diehl said of Oregon State, "where they understand the importance of the Hispanic community to their college and they were looking for ways to involve the Hispanic community."
Tim Roberts, ESPN Plus regional manager, said that while the Ducks won't have Spanish-language broadcasts of football games this season, "we have something in the works" for the 2007 season. "That's an important component to us and we want to reach that market," he said.
As do the Emeralds, who traditionally have drawn relatively few fans from the Hispanic community, even though it's a natural market, given the popularity of baseball in Hispanic countries, and the fact that each year the Ems' roster includes Spanish-speaking players from the Dominican Republic Dominican Republic (dəmĭn`ĭkən), republic (2005 est. pop. 8,950,000), 18,700 sq mi (48,442 sq km), West Indies, on the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola. The capital and largest city is Santo Domingo. , South America South America, fourth largest continent (1991 est. pop. 299,150,000), c.6,880,000 sq mi (17,819,000 sq km), the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. or Mexico.
"Where we are located in Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, , the Latino culture is a large part of what we embrace and work with and market to every day," the Padres' Katzman said, noting that the growth of the Hispanic community here "led to more discussions and an instinct to reach out to that community."
Providing links between the Emeralds' Hispanic players and the Hispanic community will not only create new fans, Katzman said, but provide a better experience for the players, who often come to Eugene with little English.
"We realize that not every one of these players will make it to the major leagues, but certainly the road to the major leagues starts here in Eugene," Katzman said.
"Our purpose is not to strip these Latino players of their culture and heritage, but to provide them with a greater degree of confidence in dealing with a new environment."
And so last month, Katzman and Beban met with Duane Funk, director of Downtown Languages, to discuss involving future Ems in English lessons there; pitchers Ernesto Frieri, from Colombia, and Rolando Valdez, from Mexico, made an appearance, joined a class in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in English, and gave away Ems tickets to the students.
Katzman and Beban also met with Lt. Carolyn McDermed and station manager Lupe Thompson of the Eugene police department's substation in the Whiteaker neighborhood, to discuss involvement by Spanish-speaking Ems in that community, and perhaps an appearance before the grand opening of the new substation at West Sixth and Monroe next month.
McDermed noted that such a connection could be beneficial to the police department, which ultimately hopes to recruit more young Hispanics into its ranks.
"Sports is just a natural connection," she said, expressing hope that appearances by baseball players at police department functions would help police "build a relationship" with neighborhood residents "so that they come to us when they're in trouble and they need things, and not fear us."
Which, in the long term, makes for a stronger community, and which, in turn, is why this is about a lot more than baseball and football.