When reviewing ESPN’s viewership breakdowns, the number that blew me away was the 77% increase in Hispanic viewership. It’s pretty cool to see this demographic demonstrating a growing interest in a league where Hispanic representation (Tatis, Jr., Acuña, Jr., Soto, Lindor, the list goes on) is everywhere. I immediately thought of a partnership with Univision/UniMás as the best way to tap into this growing market.
Simply look at the impact such a partnership had on MLS viewership to see what Univision/UniMás could do for MLB. Even with a -7% and -8% viewership 2021 year-over-year changes for Univision and UniMás, respectively, Univision provided a higher average viewership(258,000 avg. viewers) than FS1/Fox Deportes (238,000 avg. viewers).
In fact, Univision and UniMás combined for higher average viewership than all other channels (456,000 avg. viewers) except games showed on ABS/ESPN Deportes (594,000 avg. viewers). It’s worth noting that games shown on ABC are likely incredibly popular games that would naturally drive higher viewership. It’s safe to say this partnership would be huge for MLB and Hispanic viewers everywhere.
While the immediate impact this partnership would offer the MLB is clear and obvious, I don’t think that it’s a standalone expansion option but should be considered as part of a larger expansion movement. The two areas that Barstool Sports addresses (a younger demographic looking for an in-game betting experience) do not get addressed, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a partnership worth exploring for Rob Manfred.
Hispanic representation in the game of baseball today is something that should be celebrated by the league, and this type of partnership would do exactly that.