Viva La Mexico!

The NHL is looking to attract new audiences to its game and the next potential hotspot could be Mexico.

Unchartered Territory

What’s Happening: The NHL has tried vigorously over the past decade to grow the game by attempting to attract new audiences. While the game and the league are huge in North America and Europe, hockey isn’t as well known elsewhere in the world. Before the pandemic, the NHL held preseason games in China in an attempt to generate interest in the game and league. While time will only tell whether this venture into completely foreign territory will amount to anything, the fact is the NHL is willing to try.

Apparently, the next big market target for the NHL is Mexico. Despite being in North America, the NHL, for whatever reason, just has not been able to get its foot in the door and become a sport Mexicans will watch. However, with NHL teams in the sunbelt states that already have a large Latino population, this venture into Mexico makes perfect sense geographically.

Why It Matters: This is incredibly important for the NHL to try and grow the game in Mexico. Geographically, Mexico is within the same time zones as all of the teams in the league and the travel is not far at all. On top of that, Mexico has a sprawling population of 130 million people, highlighted by Mexico City’s nearly 9 million population.

Gaining a foothold in Mexico could be the key to not only unlocking a new fanbase, but it could create the opportunity for franchise expansion. While that possibility is definitely a longshot at this point, if the NHL plays its cards right and markets its stars and the game properly in Mexico, this could be a huge windfall for the league.

The Bigger Picture: If the NHL is able to successfully gain some traction on attracting new fans in Mexico, it would be huge for the league. One of the NHL’s most liked and marketable stars, Auston Matthews, is half-Mexican and would be a terrific ambassador for growing the game in Mexico. Matthews has spoken about his desire to play an exhibition game in Mexico and the league should do its best to entertain this idea from someone who has roots in Mexico.

The NHL should be commended for taking notice of the large Mexican population in the sunbelt states and the changing times. In fact, the Arizona Coyotes are the first team to have a CEO who was born in Mexico and understands both the business side of the NHL and what it takes to make the game succeed among the Mexican people. The NHL would be wise to leverage these examples as well as the fact that a small number of teams also have a Spanish broadcast for games. All of these signs point to the fact that the game of hockey is growing among the Latino community and population and the NHL should absolutely strike while the iron is hot.

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