PRESS RELEASE – Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today unveiled the finalists of its inaugural Copa de la Diversión™ (Fun Cup™) event series that took place during the 2018 season. The winner will be announced on Monday, Dec. 10, at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas during the Opening Session.
The cornerstone of MiLB’s Es Divertido Ser Un Fan® (It’s Fun to be A Fan®) Hispanic/Latinx fan engagement initiative, Copa de la Diversión (“Copa”) established an innovative new platform authentically connecting MiLB teams with their diverse communities, embracing the culture and values that resonate most with Hispanics/Latinx nationwide. Thirty-three teams adopted culturally-relevant on-field personas and integrated more local flavor into their gameday experiences for designated games.
The five Copa finalists are: Mariachis de Nuevo México (Albuquerque Isotopes), Monarcas de Eugene (Eugene Emeralds), Cucuys de San Bernardino (Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino), Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City (Oklahoma City Dodgers) and the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio (San Antonio Missions).
“Copa generated the positive buzz and subsequent following because of the passion, creativity and hard work all of the participating teams and their community partners poured into the campaign,” said Kurt Hunzeker, Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Research for Minor League Baseball. “The five finalists and their respective communities should celebrate this honor and achievement as their vision, inclusion and leadership have established the perfect playbook for other sports properties wanting to authentically connect with their local Latinx communities.”
The five finalists represent every classification of Minor League Baseball, reinforcing the success and relevancy of the event series throughout MiLB and its communities. The contending teams were selected by Minor League Baseball’s newly-formed Latinx Advisory Committee comprised of leaders in multicultural academia, media and marketing. The committee ranked the teams on how well they achieved the primary objectives of the Copa event series including increasing awareness, authentic engagements and attendance with U.S. Hispanics/Latinx in their local community; embracing this community and culture that is passionate about baseball, family and fun by updating their ballpark experience to match the values this specific fan segment cherishes most; creating and embracing culturally-relevant on-field personas that authentically connect them with their local U.S. Hispanic/Latinx community; and amplifying MiLB’s continuous effort to diversify the game and business of baseball nationwide.
Notable accomplishments of the finalists included:
• The Albuquerque Isotopes (Mariachis de Nuevo México) setting a single-game attendance record (16,975) for their first-ever Mariachis’ game on May 5 and leading all Copa-participating teams in most attendees gained per game, averaging 5,000 more fans each Copa game compared to similar dates in 2017.
• The Eugene Emeralds (Monarcas de Eugene) leading all Copa-participating teams in community impact metrics by engaging 16 local civic groups, community organizations and corporate offices, investing significant time and resources to authentically connect with Eugene and surrounding areas’ Hispanic/Latinx communities.
• The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino (Cucuys de San Bernardino) achieving their season-long attendance increase goal during their first Cucuys’ game, as 6,887 fans packed San Manuel Stadium on Thursday, May 3, an increase of 272 percent compared to similar game date in 2017.
• The Oklahoma City Dodgers (Cielo Azul de Oklahoma City) establishing deep connections with local area businesses searching for programming to reach OKC’s Hispanic/Latinx community, resulting in the second-largest commercial partnership revenue among all Copa-participating teams.
• The San Antonio Missions (Flying Chanclas de San Antonio) generating the most team-controlled retail sales for its Flying Chanclas’ licensed products with more than $700,000 in retail sales (in-ballpark and via the team’s online store).
In September, Minor League Baseball announced it is expanding Copa de la Diversión for the 2019 season, more than doubling the number of participating teams to 72. The new Copa identities will be unveiled in March 2019.