Halos committed to Spanish broadcasts
Club sees potential for tremendous growth opportunities
ANAHEIM -- As the story goes, Angels owner Arte Moreno once walked into a business meeting several years ago and described himself to everyone with three words.
He said he is about "service." He then repeated the word two more times.
From the time he bought the American League club in 2003, Moreno's commitment to the Angels and the team's marketing efforts have prompted a few other words from his critics, but he remains steadfast in his vow to keep Angels fans happy and maintain a profitable business.
Not surprisingly, the Angels' Spanish radio broadcast of all 162 games is an area of concentration -- for now and for the future.
"We are not doing this and viewing it as ice cream or whip cream on top of the cake," Moreno said. "What we are trying to do is offer a service. If we are losing money on it, we would not be doing it. We believe we are stretching the market out, and I think we can do a better job. I don't believe we are as good as we can be in anything we are doing."
The Angels are partnered with Univision Radio and are one of a few teams that claims to have turned a profit on Spanish radio broadcasts. In the Angels' case, 25 percent of the profit generated from the club's radio broadcasts come from the Spanish broadcast.
That could increase. At the moment, the club's partnership with Univision Radio calls for the club to receive approximately 60 percent of the money generated by the Spanish radio broadcasts. Univision's cut is based among many factors, including the distribution of the broadcasts within its radio network and use of its sales and marketing resources.
Eventually, the Angels would like a partnership that would allow them to manage 100 percent of the inventory -- a standard broadcast has 64 spots a game -- offered during each broadcast in order to package itself to English and Spanish sponsors with the club's message. Such a move would provide the flexibility to promote premium items and the current messages from sponsors. But it could also create problems because the club would have fewer sales people, at least initially, than a radio station partner.
Working in the Angels' favor is an owner who is committed to the Spanish broadcast and has a history of dealing with an abundance of media inventory. Moreno became a billionaire in the billboard business, and he and John Carpino, the Angels' senior vice president of sales and marketing who has worked for Moreno for 20 years, are hoping for similar success in baseball.
"You have to be committed to the market, and with the market being 47 percent Hispanic, there is no choice," Carpino said. "What we want to do in the long run is be fan-friendly, give to the fan. It's all about the fans."
The Hispanic population of Southern California and Moreno's desire to tap into markets from Los Angeles to Mexico are also factors. The changing of the team's name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is the most widely recognized example of Moreno's attempt to utilize all of the resources he believes are available to serve potential Angels fan, and make a profit.
"As long you allow people to put you in a box, you will be in a box," Moreno said. "We want to break that box down. Here is the marketplace, and we are committed to it. Spanish radio is a piece of the pie and will always be a piece of the media package. It's a very comfortable thing for us."
Additionally, Moreno has not ruled out purchasing a television station that would allow the club to broadcast games in Spanish. Spanish audio for television broadcasts of Angels games is currently available via SAP (secondary audio programming).
"We are making money, not a lot of money, but it is a profitable vehicle," Moreno said. "We would like it to be more profitable."
The Angels' commitment to the Spanish radio broadcast is evident by its treatment of broadcasters Ivan Lara and Jose Mota. The pair are one of two broadcast teams in the American League -- and five in Major League Baseball -- who travel with the club. An engineer assigned to the Spanish broadcast is also available for all home and away games. They fly on the team charter plane, and they stay in the team's hotel on a regular basis.
Only the Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres can boast a similar claim. One Spanish broadcaster travels with the Texas Rangers to all away games.
"We are treated the same as the English broadcasters. It's the same setup," Lara said. "In order to offer the best possible product, the best possible way is to be there at the stadium talking to players, managers and media people at home and on the road. The best way to call a game is not sitting in a radio station watching a monitor and calling what the television is showing. It's not fair to the announcers or to the listeners."
Fair is the operative word. The Angels' ability to offer a fair service is a product of its commitment, market and leadership.
"It's strictly business," Moreno said. "We offer another venue to get our message out and sell our product. It is about service."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.