Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Twins join Spanish radio: A look at Spanish.

The Minnesota Twins started broadcasting some
of their home games in Spanish language radio
with ex Cuban great Major League
player Tony Oliva at the microphone.

By Amaury Pi-GonzalezThe Los Angeles Dodgers have been doing Spanish broadcast of their games for over 40 years.
Only one city in the world has more Mexican born residents than Los Angeles,California. Mexico City
which with 20 million people is the most populated
city in the world.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim also broadcast all their games in Spanish language radio for the
Los Angeles market which is predominantely Mexican. There was a school of thought that people from Mexico only listened to Soccer on the radio,but
in the Los Angeles market Mexicans also listen to
baseball in Spanish which large blocks of listeners
following their two local teams.

Down south the Florida Marlins on a Univision Radio station broadcast all their games in Spanish for Miami where the audience is much more Caribbean and Central American.

The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers carry all their games in Spanish and other teams like
the Yankees and Mets do all their games but they
do not travel their announcers for away games.
They call the away games via television.

The San Francisco Giants are doing 62 home games
in Spanish language. Back in the mid 90s the Giants
broadcasted all their games home and away in Spanish, with the announcers traveling with the
team.Their station was sold changed format and it was hard to get another station to carry the games.

The Philadelphia Phillies broadcast all their games in Spanish. The Boston Red Sox broadcast all their home games in Spanish and their road games
are done from studios in Boston in Spanish.

The Seattle Mariners under KXLY Radio Group with headquarters in Spokane, Washington have been
broadcasting all their home games in Spanish since 2003. Washington State has a very fast growing Hispanic population. Washington State is today what California was (in the Hispanic market)20 years ago, but growing.

Other teams like the White Sox, Brewers,Tampa
and Atlanta also broadcast in Spanish. Some teams do not have Spanish radio but can do all their games in Spanish via SAP on Television. The cost is just talent when you do the games in Spanish from a studio, you have the announcer, (for instance)they can be in L.A. and be calling the game from the L.A studios when they team is in
Baltimore. You don’t have to travel the announcers or pay perdiem, hotel and other expenses.

The Oakland A’S broadcast home Saturdays and
Sundays in Spanish.

Now the Minnesota Twins are broadcasting some home games in Spanish language. Minnesota is
not a Hispanic city but there are Hispanics any place you visit in this country, maybe with the
exception on North and South Dakota, Montana,
and Vermont, but those places also do not have
Major League baseball anyway.

Back in the 90s when I was broadcasting Golden
State Warriors(NBA)basketball in one of my trips with the club to Salt Lake City I listened to two
24-hour Spanish format radio stations in Salt Lake City,Utah. Yes, Utah ! In most parts of this country, when you travel you can listen to people speaking
Spanish. This is not a secret. Spanish is the second language in the United States of America.

While some operations are not profit centers,
their Spanish broadcasts are a “Home run”for
their Public Relations and Community Relations
Departments. Considering what some teams spend in player salaries(and get little results)broadcasting in Spanish even if it doesn’t generate a profit is still a winner.
As a matter of fact some teams like to talk about how good they are in Community Relations.
Well, Spanish radio is part of that Community Relation for any team that does games in Spanish.

For any endeavor in life. you need qualified people
to do the job. If you run a restaurant you will have to have a good cook as a priority, the “other”help is not as important since if you are in the restaurant business your priority is your food, people can live with bad service but your restaurant will go broke if you do not serve good food.

In baseball is the same. If you want to handle the
Hispanic market you need people that preferably
speak Spanish. If a team doesn’t want to handle it internally there are Hispanic marketing companies that could handle it for the team. Of course it will cost money but you have to spend money to make money.

Some teams pride themselves as having great
Community Relations and when you broadcast
baseball in Spanish language you are bringing your team closer to the Hispanic community in many places a huge untapped market. Major League Baseball encourages all 30 teams to hire bilingual people in their front office, people that can speak read and write English and Spanish.

But doing the games in Spanish is not enough. The broadcast have to be enhanced and integrated into the promotions departments(just like is done with the English broadcasts). Latino players making appearances in caravans,Spring Training, shows.
If the radio broadcasts in Spanish have the support they deserve they stand a better chance than if they are just left alone. Just because a team is
doing Spanish and they are on a station(s)that is not a sure thing to be a success. You can have the best broadcast in the world but it must be promoted,advertised,contest,community involvement and such. Think of the English radio station and do the same thing but for the Spanish radio station(s).

For many years I have told people that have interviewed me about this business. A play by play man in baseball in Spanish is just the same as their
compadres doing the English, although for us is a tougher job since we get all the pertinent media notes in English and must translate(prior to the game)or “on the fly”as we call the game. There is no difference from English to Spanish radio, it is
baseball on the radio, you have different personalities on the air, it is an art not a profession that you go to school to learn. Some people have it(the passion)some people do not. In 2007 I will have been doing baseball in Spanish in the Major Leagues for 30 years. I have seen this business
grow. If you would have told me in 1977 that the
Twins were going to do Spanish radio ?

Not everything has to make money to be a success
and most teams generate enough revenue to sponsor Spanish radio as they look at it as a
positive win win situation. Teams have other revenue streams and can afford and compesate
producing broadcast in Spanish, specially in the mid to smaller Spanish markets.

The Hispanic market is not going to “go away”
or vanish, it is here to stay and it is getting bigger and bigger. It is great that teams like the
Minnesota Twins (who do not play in a heavily Hispanic area)are recognizing the Hispanic market.

Some of the Spanish baseball broadcasts do not generate profits right away, but most businesses
are the same. Some of the most successful
people in the communications business were called crazy,insane for some of their ideas. Ted Turner
founder of CNN was called those names. I remember reading stuff like: “Turner is crazy a
24-hour news network”? that is not going to work.
It must have been the same guy who once told
Elvis after listening to one of his early recordings:
“Son, keep driving the truck, you have no future
in the music business:.
Or how about ESPN ? Sportscenter didn’t make any money the first few years they were on the air.
Today Sportscenter is one of the highest rated shows in cable television and a money maker.

This country was created by people with a vision
with ideas with a plan to develop. Money will never ‘rain from the sky’ in any business if you do not have the qualified people to do the job.

Congratulations to the Minnesota Twins, a small market team that obviously knows how to win
on the field and can see that broadcasting in
Spanish is a plus for their organization.


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