Long before Las Vegas got an NHL team, I suggested that it made sure to reach out to the city’s large Latino community and have a Spanish radio broadcast of the games.
Fortunately, Kerry Bubolz listened. And last year, selected home games were on ESPN Deportes (1460 AM).
This year, all the home games are being broadcast. Hopefully in the future, all games, home and away, will be broadcast, assuming it’s financially feasible.
But the announcement Monday by the team that it was expanding its social media reach to Spanish was an excellent move. Obviously, the hope is to grow the fan base and attract younger followers. Social media has proven to be the right medium to accomplish both.
I admit, my Spanish is extremely limited. I took French in high school and I would need help if I tried to conduct an interview with Marc-Andre Fleury or Pierre-Edouard Bellemare or Jonathan Marchessault in French.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the importance of what the Knights are doing by reaching out to the Latino community of Las Vegas. My question is: “What took them so long?”
Here’s a quick Q&A I conducted via email with Brian Killingsworth, the team’s chief marketing officer:
Q: Why do this now? Why not wait until next year? Better yet, why not have done it before this season?
A: “Our efforts to reach the Hispanic communities are always on-going. This was a concept that we wanted to do right in an authentic and intentional way. In order to do it right, we had to have the resources and strategy in place so we felt that now was the appropriate time.
“We are really pleased to have it launched and we are excited to continue to build on this and other initiatives the rest of this regular season, hopefully into the playoffs should we qualify, offseason and into next year. This is going to be a sustainable outreach.”
Q: How many Twitter followers are there for your English account? What is the projection for Spanish Twitter?
A: “Currently, we have just over 430,000 followers on Twitter. For @LosVGK, to corner ourselves on an actual projection is not prudent. “There is not a lot of baselines to measure this on as we are the first team in the NHL to have active accounts of this nature. We will reevaluate this as the content is produced and as we progress.”
Q: Are there plans to travel the radio guys next year or through this year’s playoffs? Or will the broadcast on ESPN Deportes remain strictly a home-only situation?
A: “This is something we will continue to evaluate. We would like to have as many games broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes as possible. ESPN Deportes is an important part of our broadcasting assets.”
Q: Will the Instagram account generate more younger Latino followers than the Twitter account?
A: “Instagram is a platform that trends more towards a younger demographic. We expect the same there as well. We had over 1,600 followers on @losgoldenknights in less than 24 hours and the engagement has been really good in a relatively short period.
Q: Having lived in Tampa where there is a large Spanish-speaking population, is there a comparison you can make with the two markets in terms of marketing to the Latino community?
A: “Both markets are similar in that the Hispanic population continues to be the fastest growing demographic in both Tampa and Las Vegas. “In Tampa, I had the opportunity to really learn the Hispanic culture and understand the nuances of connecting in an authentic way. Las Vegas is an incredibly diverse community and we are striving to genuinely grow our fan base in every way.”
Q: You’ve been tweaking the English social media side of things as well as the in-game presentation. Where is it working well and where does it need some improvement?
A: “We are continually looking for innovative ways to engage our fans. On the social side, our engagement rates remain strong and the feedback continues to be very positive in terms of the approach we are taking in how we handle coverage of events, announcements and initiatives.
“We are always focused on the fan experience, in the social sphere and in-person at our games. We strive to be best in class regarding in-arena/in-game presentation as well as one of the most innovative and entertaining follows social.”
Killingsworth is very good at what he does. in have no doubt this will be a huge success.
With Las Vegas’ growing Asian population, I can envision some sort of Knights social media component to accommodate those fans. And why not? Hockey is an inclusive sport and with the NHL looking to grow the game in China, making it easier for those fans to follow the game makes sense.
In the meantime, Viva Los Knights!
Just a quick reminder that I will be at Red Rock Resort this Monday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to sign copies of my book, “Vegas Born.” If you’re planning to attend the watch party at Red Rock for the game against San Jose or you just want to come by, you can pick up your copy and I’ll be glad to sign it.
The cost is $28.95 and it’s cash only for this event. I’ll be right outside the Red Rock’s Race and Sports Book, so please come by, say hi and buy a book. Looking forward to a big turnout for Monday’s big game with the Sharks.
If you’ve already purchased the book, my sincere thanks. I hope you enjoyed it.
**Steve Carp is the author of “Vegas Born — The remarkable story of the Golden Knights.” Follow him on Twitter @stevecarp56. All of Steve Carp’s work here on SinBin.vegas is presented to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm. For over twenty-five years, the Jimmerson Law Firm has been widely recognized as one of Las Vegas’s preeminent full-service law firms. Specializing in high stakes business, civil and family litigation, the Jimmerson Law Firm has an unparalleled track record of winning when it matters most. To reach the Jimmerson Law Firm, call (702) 388-7171 and tell them SinBin.vegas sent you.**