KANSAS CITY CHIEFS IN MEXICO
The NFL has shown plenty of ambition in expanding its audience in the United States recently, inking new broadcast deals and putting forth a changing, fan-focused experience. As we mentioned in our analysis of the league’s next steps recently, the next move for the league is abroad. Games in Europe have been a big success, but closer to home, Mexico has also been a focus, with the league consistently holding regular season games south of the border.
With this in mind, the Kansas City Chiefs, who played in Mexico City at the legendary Azetca in 2019, engaged with Samba Digital on a short-term contract for the second half of the 2022 season and the NFL Playoffs. Samba have already made huge strides in bringing teams to a broader audience in Latin America. Teams from the US are led by our work with the Orlando Magic, but clients including PSG, Tottenham Hotspur, and Roland-Garros have come to rely on Samba Digital to give them a unique voice to connect with fans in growing markets on social media.
In addition to top-notch community management, Samba has also produced a series of illustrations for the team with their recently-launched Força Studios. But the work for the Chiefs extends far beyond just the usual work — with a series of innovative actions in Mexico City, Samba has engaged with fans on the ground in an authentic and eye-catching way. This process is one that showcases not only the games themselves, but also honours the traditions and passion of Mexican culture, giving the 2020 NFL Champions every advantage in growing their fan base south of the border.
— Chiefs Mexico (@ChiefsMexico) January 29, 2023
For many Mexicans, music has a strong role to play in their cultural identity. While many non-Mexicans in the United States might be familiar with bandas or mariachi music, for most natives of the country, corridos hold a special place in their heart. A style of epic ballad that is more than two hundred years old, these songs have created legends for generations, and in connecting with Tapy Quintero, Samba Digital helped the Chiefs write their own.
Telling the story of the season, it’s gathered more than 150,000 views across all platforms. And more than just the raw numbers on social, it’s also been covered by media outlets across the United States and Mexico, giving the account a level of visibility that is simply unequaled.
The corrido has been the most eye-catching engagement, but it wouldn’t be Mexico City without a nod to the city’s favourite street food. One of the most famous dishes from DF is elote, grilled corn on the cob covered with chili and cotija cheese. These colors — red and yellow — are of course the same as the Chiefs. The connection was a clever one, and it added a level of energy to the team’s watch party for the divisional championship.
But a popular song and branded authentic food weren’t the only things that stood out as we took over Jupiter, one of Coyoacán’s hippest spaces. In addition to the elote, and a focus on the fans getting ready for the match (where we used the accounts to focus on how they prepare for the games by wearing Chiefs gear), we also added to the party with haircuts. Featuring everything from a Chiefs logo being shaved into someone’s head to the team’s logo being dyed into someone’s hair, here we have a nod to fashion and culture that further engages the fans.
In just three months since taking over the accounts, the accounts’ followers have grown by 48% on Twitter and 39% on Instagram. These numbers are impressive indeed, as there has been plenty of competition from the World Cup and from the return of Liga MX in recent months. The follower growth has been steady, but the analytics also show a high engagement rate, meaning that the connection being made with the team’s newest fans is an authentic one.
Follower growth, November-January:
More importantly than the raw numbers of the account, which has been ably supported by both the team’s main channels and NFL Mexico, is the buzz that these activations have generated in DF. On a nearly weekly basis, we have connected with fans on the ground with activations that speak to them in their language, growing not only the numbers of the account, but also making it one of the most-talked about, showing the potential for genuine engagement through creativity and authenticity.