NHL will look at Mexico as next phase of expanding Latino fan base


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Over the last three decades, the NHL’s expansion into the American Sun Belt has served to diversify the league’s geography and fan profile. Markets with high Latino populations such as Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami have reaped the benefits.

Now, the league is poised to make its next ambitious leap: Mexico.

“I was saying a couple years ago, ‘How cool would it be to just play an exhibition game in Mexico City?'” Toronto Maple Leafs star center Auston Matthews, who is of Mexican heritage, recently told ESPN. “It’d be awesome to literally play a hockey game in Mexico and just see what happens.”

The idea of full-fledged expansion beyond the United States and Canada remains far-fetched, but the NHL is seeking to follow in the footsteps of other North American leagues by expanding outside of its traditional fan base. Additionally, the idea of playing either a preseason or regular-season game in Mexico is picking up steam in the highest reaches of the league office.

“We had started hearing from our clubs that they’d love to play a game in Mexico,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. “The more we can appeal to more demographics, countries and culturally diverse areas, the better it is for us.”

There are nearly 130 million people living in Mexico, making it the 10th-most populated nation in the world and second largest in Latin America behind Brazil’s 212 million. In 2019 alone, Mexico City hosted events such as the PGA Tour, the NBA, the NFL, UFC and Formula 1. In the northern city of Monterrey, Major League Baseball set up shop with six games that same year. Only the onset of COVID-19 has curbed the country’s momentum in attracting these leagues.

To better engage fans, the leagues conducted most of these events featuring athletes who either were Mexican…



Source : espn


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