D-Backs set to televise 50 games in Spanish Deal part of strategy to woo Hispanic fans
Arizona Republic
Feb. 28, 2007

 Ken Alltucker The Arizona Republic Feb. 28, 2007 12:00 AM

The Diamondbacks and a local television station will unveil a plan today to air 50 home games in Spanish this season as the anchor of the team's strategy to reach out to Hispanic fans.

Lotus Communications-owned KPHE (Ch. 44) will broadcast the games with a Spanish play-by-play announcer calling the action and Spanish graphics, a departure from other teams that air English broadcasts spliced with Spanish audio.

The TV broadcasts will supplement other Hispanic-friendly Diamondbacks
initiatives: installing Spanish signs at Chase Field, hiring bilingual seat ushers and selling ticket packages at Phoenix Ranch Market. The Diamondbacks will pay $500,000 to $750,000 to broadcast the games, but the team will sell advertising to recoup some of those costs.

"It's a big commitment and it's expensive, but it makes sense to us,"
Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. "Baseball is a popular sport in the Latino community. We want fans to know we care about them."

The move is also smart business. More than 1 million Hispanics live in the Valley, and the region's Hispanic community is the nation's fastest growing among major metro areas. Many are big baseball fans, too.

The Diamondbacks cited Scarborough Research data showing 34 percent of the Valley's Spanish-speaking adults attended a professional sporting event last year. About two-thirds of those adults went to a Diamondbacks game. And those Spanish-speaking fans spent more ($21.97) at the park than non-Spanish-speaking fans ($21.94).

Hall views the Spanish broadcast as a "three-hour commercial" that will expose Hispanic households to the Diamondbacks.

The Arizona team's approach differs from other big-league teams that broadcast games in Spanish. Other teams such as the Padres broadcast games over cable networks using SAP (secondary audio programming) or similar technology. The Padres redirect the signal from their games, televised on Cox Cable, to a station in Tijuana, Mexico, and that video is matched with a Spanish radio broadcast.

The Diamondbacks want to air a Spanish broadcast from the ground up. Oscar Soria, a Diamondbacks radio announcer, will be the play-by-play TV announcer. The team plans to hire a Spanish-speaking color analyst who will offer insight into on-the-field action.

"The Diamondbacks are committed to doing quality broadcasts," said Ken Kwilosz Jr., vice president and general manager of KPHE. "This is the biggest commitment in Major League Baseball for a broadcast schedule in Spanish."

Reach the reporter at ken.alltucker@arizonarepublic.com or (602) 444-8285.