PHOENIX – “Nuestra ciudad. Nuestro estado. Nuestro equipo. Our city. Our condition. Our team.”
Felipe Garcia’s voice rings out loud, announcing the new Diamondbacks Nike City Connect jerseys. With “Serpientes” on the chest, a snake wrapped around a red sun and the Arizona flag, Sonoran sand-colored jerseys pay homage to Arizona’s Hispanic community.
For loyal fans like Brenden Cabral, who branded one of the City Connect jerseys before the initial stock ran out, the Diamondbacks celebrating their Hispanic fans through the new jerseys are half of an important symbiotic relationship: the community. Hispanic presents some of the most avid Diamondbacks fans, and the Diamondbacks deliberately include them in promotions and other activities.
“It means a lot because when you look around you can notice that most of the fans who go to the game all the time are Hispanic fans,” Cabral said. “It’s been like this for a long time and it’s just nice to pay tribute.”
Garcia, Executive Vice President of Visit Tucson, is a member of the Los D-backs Ambassadors Council. He pointed out that these jerseys are not a unique “tick” that the Diamondbacks gave to the Hispanic community. They are part of a commitment that spans several years.
“It’s really true and honest to this vision on including diversity, it’s not a poster child,” Garcia said. “There are very few organizations that I have seen in the United States that have a real commitment to the Hispanic community as Diamondbacks. “
Jerry Romo led the Diamondbacks’ efforts to connect with the Hispanic community for five years as a senior manager of the Diamondbacks Hispanic marketing team until he left to form his own business, Escala Media, in 2020.
During Romo’s tenure, the Diamondbacks stepped up their efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community, launching La Terraza, a Latin-themed area at Chase Field in 2016 and adding accents to their jerseys in 2015, a year before. let MLB’s Ponle Acento initiative take. disabled.
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Romo also oversaw a partnership with the Mexican Pacific League, inviting each team to send representatives to a Diamondbacks game on August 31, 2019, and adding a live band in the stands, playing on the Mexican tradition of, in the words of Romo, make every game, “a great Fiesta.”
The event was successful enough to break the all-time attendance record at Chase Field, showing the strong support the Diamondbacks enjoy within the Hispanic community.
Romo said the Los D-backs Council of Ambassadors helps ensure the authenticity of events and promotions. Although he left the organization, he is proud of what he did and happy that the committee still exists because he doesn’t want the Diamondbacks to exclude such a large group of fans.
“You would be putting yourself at a huge disadvantage if you didn’t look that way,” Romo said. “If you’re going to do something, you’ve got to have the right people in place to make sure you’re doing it right. We weren’t going to do something just for Hispanic Heritage Day to say, “OK, we’ve celebrated the day, tick off, turn the page.” No, it’s a year round thing.
The jersey could also have economic importance. The purchasing power of Latinos is expected to reach $ 57.2 billion in Arizona by 2022, according to the 24th annual DATOS report, “The Hispanic Market in Arizona State,” released in October by the House of Arizona Hispanic Commerce.
Arizona is 31.7% Hispanic, according to the US Census Bureau. This is almost double the national percentage of Hispanics, which is 18.5%. Emilio Gaynor, president of the Los D-backs Ambassadors Council, said the Diamondbacks have a responsibility to serve this community through gestures such as donating to nonprofits that cater to Hispanics in Arizona and by providing tickets to Hispanic youth who cannot see a game otherwise.
He hopes the City Connect jerseys will draw attention to these efforts, which he says have no comparison with other sports franchises.
“Sometimes by serving the community on an ongoing and consistent basis, you don’t get the recognition you deserve,” Gaynor said. “What these jerseys did was just open the eyes of people who might not have seen this before.”
The Diamondbacks are on their way to 46 wins this season, five less than their current worst full-season record: 51 wins in 2004. Gaynor said the City Connect jerseys give fans a reason to celebrate the Diamondbacks despite their lack of success in the field. .
“It’s really refreshing, even in the bad times, to have something that resonates with the fans because the fans are the people who are most important right now during the bad times,” he said. .
Cabral, who is also a longtime Suns fan, said the Suns playoffs give him hope the Diamondbacks can make a difference as well.
“The Suns went from the worst team in the NBA to the final in two years, so why can’t the D-backs do that,” he said.
Details on the jersey, including the Valley of the Sun logo and the old-fashioned snakehead, make the jerseys “clean,” Cabral said.
The Diamondbacks made their debut with the jerseys as one of the first six teams to have a Nike City Connect jersey. They plan to wear them a few times throughout the season, including Hispanic Heritage Weekend, September 24-26.
Graham Rossini, senior associate athletic director at Arizona State, who was vice president of special projects and fan experience for the Diamondbacks until March, said Major League Baseball and Nike had approached the Diamondbacks to be the ‘one of these six flagship teams in the fall of 2019.
The team immediately said yes.
From there, the Diamondbacks team started to think. Rossini said they briefly considered The Valley brand, but when they heard the Suns Nike City Connect jerseys would be Valley-themed, they wanted something new.
The idea for Las Serpientes emerged as Rossini, former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall and Josh Rawitch, former senior vice president of content and communications at the ‘team, flew to Mexico City, where the club was supposed to go. play before the COVID-19 pandemic shortens the 2020 MLB season. Hall and Gonzalez texted Rossini and Rawitch over the idea for Las Serpientes and the quartet ran with the idea.
“We really wanted something that would resonate and excite the Hispanic community,” Rossini said. “They really got involved in the organization and provided support.
The team made sure to include all Hispanic and Latino players on their roster at that point in the decision-making process. Rossini stressed that the team didn’t want players to wear a uniform they didn’t believe in, especially when it came to connecting with the Hispanic community.
The Diamondbacks weren’t aware of what the other five initial teams were planning, but Rossini said Nike told them they were on to something big, giving the Diamondbacks confidence that they would stand out from the crowd. City Connect jerseys.
From Cabral’s point of view, they have succeeded.
“I really like that ours is a little more personal and that it doesn’t just look like a video game or something,” he said.
Rossini was delighted that the launch went well as it is rare to have such overwhelmingly positive feedback, especially on social media.
“I am very proud of it,” said Rossini. “It was a labor of love.”
The jersey advantage could be substantial, Hall said in a statement.
“This concept aims to bring our community together, with respect for the past and a look to the future. “
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