The Houston Texans will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Day during Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over 40 percent of Houston's population is Hispanic, and the Texans have always placed a high priority on including this growing fan base in all their festivities, marketing, and game-day experiences.
From the grand opera singer Cecilia Duarte performing the national anthem to DeAndre Hopkins-inspired "Somos Texans" shirts being sold in the team store, the Texans are finding new and innovative ways to appeal to their Hispanic fans. The Texans star wide receiver wanted Spanish-speaking fans to have clothing that they identified with through his designs. As a soccer fan, he wanted to build a connection with those fans.
Last month, HBO's "Hard Knocks" released Spanish-dubbed trailers each week that were viewed over 60,000 times. The Texans were the first team to ever request Spanish video content from HBO.
From their Twitter handle @LosTexans to the 185K followers on Facebook that identify Spanish as their primary language, the Texans have recognized the needs of their fanbase. While many of the Hispanic population is English-speaking, the Texans organization wants everyone who identifies with the team to feel included in the experience.
"If language is a barrier, it's our job to work around it," Texans president Jamey Rootes said. "Whether it's through 'Hard Knocks' or our radio and television broadcasting or print properties, we want to make sure that anybody who wants to connect with our football team and be a part of the Texans family, that there's nothing that will stand in their way."
Hispanic Heritage Day isn't just Sunday though. The Texans are cultivating their relationship across the border year-round from providing extensive Spanish radio and television broadcasting to hosting the Mexican national soccer team each summer at NRG Stadium.
"It's been an integral component of our approach to being Houston's team, Texas's team, from the very beginning," Rootes said. "We have such a large and vibrant Hispanic population here in Houston and the overwhelming majority are from Mexico so it's always been a very logical connection for us to build a relationship there."
Rootes will travel to Mexico next week, along with mayor Annise Parker, in his role as vice-chairman of The Greater Houston Partnership. The trip is centered on two key areas: energy and tourism. Mexico is opening up its natural resources and leaders from there as well as Houston, the energy capital of the world, will meet in a trade mission. As the leader of a sports team, Rootes is honored to be able to help lead economic development and participate as an advocate for the voice of business in Houston.
Rootes points to the three imperatives of the Texans organization: winning championships, creating memorable experiences, and doing great things for Houston.
"That third part of doing great things for Houston can be so broad, whether its's the community in Houston that we're supporting financially and with our other resources, or hosting events here at the stadium or the past decade-plus, bringing soccer in a major way to the city of Houston, and now going out and promoting our community on an international scale," Rootes said. "I mean, if it's good for Houston, it's good for the Houston Texans, and if we can play a role, we are going to do that."