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The Latin Explosion: Where Do You Fit In?

Moderator: Jorge Vazquez | Don Haskins Center / Sun Bowl Stadium
Rosa Guzmán | Magnus Talent Agency
Eric Osuna | LatinLife
Steve Tadlock | Save Mart Center

One could question the premise: Is there really a Latino market that is “exploding” in population or popularity? The markets have been there for decades. The stats from the last census in 2010 confirm that, yes, the United States has a significant Latino market.

But the market is growing. The major cities continue to be strong-holds but there are signs that many smaller markets are being under-served.

“I’m seeing higher grosses in the secondary and tertiary markets,” Eric Osuna of LatinLife said. “It’s interesting to see some of these markets that I would never tra-ditionally expect (to have higher grosses) like Wichita, Kan., or Greeley, Colo. They’re not the Los Angeleses or the Miamis of the world, but they’re doing a good job with analytics and marketing.”

The only problem, of course, is that traditional media is hard to find in the smaller markets or, more importantly, a complete lack of media for Latinos. There may not be any television or radio to market a show in Wichita. But what has changed in the last 10 years is social media.

“Latinos are over-indexing in social and mobile consumption,” Osuna said. “Also higher in purchasing analytics for Latinos.

But for the ticket itself it’s an evolution.“

One of the unique issues with promoting Latino shows is the lack of presales. In the past, they could be 100 percent walk-up, day of show, but the technological evolution is changing that, even if it is slowly.

As for how to make money, that’s where Steve Tadlock came prepared. His title is GM of an arena in Fresno, Calif. – itself a significantly Latino market – but on the panel he represented all arena managers because he is also the talent buyer for the Western region for SMG. In other words, he went to Google, printed off some census material and shared it. It is stuff anyone can find but probably didn’t know: you’re in a major Latino market if you looked. Sure, you may have known that you have Latinos in your market, but you’re in a major Latino market.

“I was shocked by all the cities with more than 10,000 Hispanics,” Tadlock said. “There are more markets with significant Latino populations than you would automatically think of. We all think of Texas, California, New York, Chicago, then stop thinking after that but most states in the country have significant populations.

“As I looked up the population of Seattle, Tacoma and Kent, Wash., where our SMG facilities are located, there was a combined 70,000 Latinos. We just did a great date at the ShoWare Center with Banda MS. It’s time to realize there is more population that you’re not serving.”

Later on, he added that there are surprising benefits to the initial trepidation. When Julion Alvarez (the former member of Banda MS who has become a star in his own right) came to Fresno, the arena was approached to promote El Jefe tequila.

“We went to the nth degree and promoted El Jefe tequila,” he said. “They were very appreciative and that brand now wants to be a building sponsor. Before that night I never heard of El Jefe tequila and now it’s going to be a building partner.”

From the audience, Michael Scafuto of M&M Group reassured the crowd that it’s OK to not know all of the genres – that there are as many as 40 of them. The important thing, though, is the obvious one: know your market. More specifically, get that street team together and have a bilingually fluent staff from the parking lot attendants on up.

“The preteen marketing team is key,” Tadlock said. “Identify the person in that market who can reach those people. Hire them as a street team marketing consultant. Do yourself a favor: find the most inexpensive way to reach the right people.”

Packages like Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull are building the market while well-known names like Gloria Trevi are drawing 11,000.

Finally, as Pollstar continues to build its database and box office figures, where can one find other information for getting the right show into your building? Moderator Jorge Vazquez offered a few suggestions: Become friends with the people who run Tickton and get to know Michael Megret of Texas company Latino Events, who offered plenty of advice from the back row.

Just don’t all call at once.

– Joe Reinartz