LOS ANGELES–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–August 18, 2003–RL Public Relations + Marketing today announced the launch of Sportivo, a Latino sports group dedicated to harnessing the muscle of sports to drive brand acceleration among the nation’s fastest growing population.
Sportivo (derivative: sports and deportivo) is aiming to feed Latinos’ appetite and passion for sports and provide strategic branding opportunities for companies, consumer products, entertainment properties and athletes. It is one of only a few sports agencies to emerge in the explosive U.S. Latino marketing field.
The brainchild of communication executives Mario Flores and Roxana Lissa, Sportivo will provide clients with guided access to Latino sports consumers in the U.S. and Latin America through its base in Los Angeles and offices in Mexico City and Buenos Aires.
The group’s key capabilities will include media and community relations, brand marketing and sponsorships, sports and special events and professional athlete publicity. According to recent statistics, Hispanic purchasing power is estimated at $600 billion and represents the ninth largest economy in the world.
Sportivo reflects in both name and focus a growing crossover among Latinos from traditional ‘Latino’ sports such as soccer and boxing to basketball, football, golf and auto racing. In the past 5 years alone, the number of Latino professional athletes in the NBA has climbed from 2 to 11 players. Mexican track star Ana Guevara and professional hockey player Scott Gomez of the New Jersey Devils show strong promise for upside growth and interest of Latinos in these sports.
“The division between ‘Latino’ sports and ‘Anglo’ sports is blurring, but the opportunities for marketers on both sides are becoming crystal clear,” said Mario Flores, Sportivo partner and managing director. “Sportivo will be the first agency of its kind to provide clients with an experienced team focused on sports in a boutique firm with national and international reach.”
As more Latino athletes enter non-traditional sports and both Latino and general-market sports brands seek greater exposure in the exploding Latino marketplace, there are new and untapped opportunities on both sides of the culture divide to build stronger brand presence and market share, according to Flores.
A 10-year agency and corporate marketing executive who led successful Latino sports campaigns for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Coca-Cola and the Brazilian National Soccer Team, Flores will leverage his sports marketing and Hispanic public relations expertise to deliver creative and results-driven campaigns. Lissa, an expert in bicultural marketing and founder and CEO of RL Public Relations + Marketing, will build Sportivo’s presence in the U.S. and across Latin America, tapping her experience in soccer, motor sports, boxing and other sports through campaigns for Nike, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Lite and Marlboro Team Penske Racing.
“The sports landscape is evolving and the marketers who invest will take the big returns,” said Lissa, who gained national exposure for her agency’s work on behalf of the groundbreaking GOT MILK? campaign. “The agency value today is insight, agility and track record, not size. Marketers targeting the Latino consumer must recognize that issues of culture and acculturation cannot be devalued.”
Lissa’s experience also includes developing campaigns to reach Latino bicultural teens, the most elusive segment of the Hispanic population and heavy sports consumers. “Bicultural teens exist in two cultural worlds,” Lissa said. “Whether it’s ESPN or GAP jeans, the challenge is to make the brand speak to their unique experience.”
Sportivo is a Latino sports group dedicated to harnessing the muscle of sports to drive brand acceleration. Through strategic marketing and communications, Sportivo connects sports-driven consumer brands, entertainment properties and personalities with strategic branding opportunities aimed at Latino sports consumers. Sportivo is based in L.A.
Mario Flores is partner and managing director of Sportivo and a 10-year veteran of Hispanic public relations. His campaigns have been recognized for their outstanding results and creativity by Inside PR and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Flores’ past clients have included Target Corporation, Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola, Buchanan’s Scotch Whiskey, Tequila Cazadores and Merrill Lynch. Prior to forming Sportivo, Flores served as manager of U.S. communications for McDonald’s Corporation, where he led the company’s national Hispanic-related public relations efforts. Previously he served as director of BSMG Latino, an affiliate of Weber Shandwick, one of the largest public relations firms in the world. Flores began his career with Durazo Communications in Los Angeles.
Roxana Lissa is partner and co-founder of Sportivo. Lissa is widely known in national PR circles as an expert in Hispanic communications and is the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based RL Public Relations + Marketing, a full-service Hispanic agency with clients that include Nike, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Cover Girl, Tenet California and the California Milk Processor Board (GOT MILK?), among others. A native of Argentina, Lissa held senior management positions with global public relations firms Hill & Knowlton and Manning, Selvage & Lee before launching her own agency in 1996 to capitalize on underserved opportunities in the growing Hispanic market. Lissa is active in multiple Hispanic community organizations and is a board member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).