Minor League Baseball announces inaugural "Copa de la Diversión," a season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams' local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities.
Based on the successful launch of its national "It's Fun to Be a Fan" (and corresponding Spanish-language "Es Divertido Ser Un Fan®") marketing campaign in 2017, participating teams will bolster their marketing and customer service efforts this season to create a culturally-relevant gameday experience. Each team will be required to have bilingual staff, multicultural representation in its sales and marketing offices and provide a better representation of its Latino fan base and the local community in the music, food and merchandise at the park.
The Copa moves beyond the once-a-season approach of an exhibition game; rather, it seeks to engage the local Latino communities in 33 minor league towns with outreach efforts and collaboration with local Latino social organizations on community improvement.
“Sports teams symbolize their respective community’s uniqueness, often adopting nicknames and logos depicting these special traits,” said Kurt Hunzeker, MiLB’s Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Research. “MiLB and the participating teams embraced this creative approach when developing the ‘Copa de la Diversión’ brand identities, and the final designs reflect the unique characteristics of each team’s fan base while staying true to MiLB’s one-of-a-kind brand of fan-centric fun.”
For more than two years, MiLB’s collaborative research with local U.S. Hispanic/Latino civic organizations helped establish potential on-field personas that represented the past, present and future of each market’s diverse population. This analysis also highlighted opportunities for the participating teams to enhance their gameday experiences with new food-and-beverage offerings, culturally-relevant music, customer service platforms and other fun activities.
MiLB’s in-house brand development team created 23 of the 33 “Copa”-specific identities, as well as the official logos for “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan” and the “Copa de la Diversión” event series. "We're really, really good at brand elasticity at the club level," Hunzeker said. "There are teams that have alternate brands of alternate brands at this point, and people love them. Our fans love these identities."
As the name would suggest, "Copa" refers to a real trophy that will tour the homes of the 33 teams based on a schedule of days they'll be their alternate identities. At the end of the season, it will be awarded to one team based on a formula built from a series of different factors such as converting fans into new attendees, how new foods are received, merchandise sales and more. At the end of the year, each team will auction its jerseys and hats to benefit a designated local charitable organization.
The 165-game “Copa de la Diversión” event series begins on April 8, in Round Rock, Texas, and concludes on Sept. 2, in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Participating in the 2018 event: Albuquerque Isotopes, Bowie Baysox, Brooklyn Cyclones, Charlotte Knights, Corpus Christi Hooks, Daytona Tortugas, Durham Bulls, El Paso Chihuahuas, Eugene Emeralds, Everett AquaSox, Greenville Drive, Hartford Yard Goats, Hillsboro Hops, Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, Kane County Cougars, Kannapolis Intimidators, Lake Elsinore Storm, Las Vegas 51s, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Memphis Redbirds, Oklahoma City Dodgers, Omaha Storm Chasers, Pawtucket Red Sox, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Round Rock Express, Sacramento River Cats, Salt Lake Bees, San Antonio Missions, San Jose Giants, Stockton Ports, Tulsa Drillers, Visalia Rawhide and Winston-Salem Dash.