Six Latino Stars On the Christmas Marketing Wish List and Why
As we hit the coldest point of baseball’s Hot Stove; the time between the Winter Meetings and the start of spring training, we’ll look ahead at the business side of some of the most marketable young, or younger, faces on the game. These are the men brands should engage as 2020 comes more into focus.
Now what’s still not clear for at least two of the five on the watch list is where they may be next year. Trade speculation around the Astros’ Carlos Correa and the Indians’ Francisco Lindor continue to be fanned. However, one thing is for sure, no matter where they play in 2020, their interest and viability beyond the diamond should continue to rise.
The short watch list is also significant in that it really doesn’t involve some of the bigger names who have been established in bigger markets.
While Pete Alonso is of Spanish descent, we didn’t include him on the list. The success of the Dodgers hasn’t really led to breakout Latino stars who have yet transcended the game into the business side.
The Yankees, like the Mets, also have a host of Latino players, but the short list for now only really includes one poised to break out off the field – Gleyber Torres.
While there are veterans on both teams in New York who draw media focus – Giancarlo Stanton to Gary Sanchez to Arnoldis Chapman to Edwin Diaz to Yoenis Cespedes – the area that companies are looking for will still tend to be young and engaged vs. numbers between the lines.
So as we look to the holidays, here are some faces who could be great gifts for brands.
Cleveland has done well by Lindor and vice versa. His style and marketability have really shone through. That has resulted in deals with T-Mobile, Franklin, New Era, New Balance and SmileDirectClub, among others.
There was a lot of talk about Lindor being not just the face of the Indians but of Cleveland sports.
Even all the buzz around Odell Beckham and Baker Mayfield hasn’t lessened that talk. If you are a brand and are looking for long-term, consistent sustainability, Lindor is a great bet for the next decade no matter where he plays, and the entry point for key categories is still there.
The player with the big swing and numbers to back it up with the every-man physical size is still rocking hard in Houston as the Astros go through a bit of a transition this offseason. Altuve has had deals with companies like CITGO and Chevrolet.
Even in a smaller market, the Astros’ mainstream success has raised his profile. There is still a business upside to go with the maturing Altuve, especially for brands hot on hitting a regional marketplace that is heavily Latino.
Ronald Acuña Jr.
The young Braves star has all the tools on the field and many off; a solid social media presence, highlights tailor made for Snapchat and Instagram, a flair for the dramatic, and a rising leadership position on a fast-rising team.
He also has not yet cracked major non endemic endorsements and can fit well into rising categories like audio and fitness, which can sell both in the American South and in Latin America. He is on the fast track in a smaller market and could be a great play if his star keeps rising for young, disruptive brands.
His large pre-injury deals with companies like adidas and Topps, as well as being a leader for a surprising Astros team throughout his young career made Correa a mover with brands looking to cross over into the traditional sports media space as well as with the Latino community.
His best years for brands both as a player and established ambassador are still ahead of him. Should he end up in a new market that is even more focused with a Latino base, Correa’s long-term national deals will be an added benefit.
Youth combined with maturity beyond his very young years, combined with a championship ring, make the telegenic Soto a breakout star in the most multicultural of all markets in Major League Baseball.
While the Nats have had a number of stars that push the Americana model, Soto is one who can play the Pan American role. With a persona like that of Acuña Jr., he is tailor made for a sport looking to engage a bilingual younger audience.
If the Yankees are taking a next step toward a title on the field, and are looking to bring in even more multicultural brands off it, Torres will be the ticket. He has started to establish himself on the community side and should be even more of a leader on the field this year as well.
For a team laden with veteran Latino stars, Torres can be a breakthrough star who will also marry those in and around Yankee Stadium closer to the team than before.
He also is still pretty untapped with partnerships, and can now use his success of previous years to grow brands as well, both Spanish and English speaking.
More to consider
A list like this will always raise lots of other questions. Can Anthony Rendon maximize his value now with the Angels? Where can Amed Rosario make his star shine brighter in Gotham?
Is there value in brands that are emerging in sports that have yet to tap into baseball’s young Latino stars? We will be examining them over the winter as well.
However if you wanted to make a Christmas list of players to tap into for brands, we start here. The beauty of the offseason is the fun of debate over the who and where, so we’ll set the bar and let it go from here.
Our list is high on nice, short in naughty!
Featured image: MLB