Interest in the NBA among Spanish-speaking Chicago residents may not be as traditionally high as baseball or soccer, but the NBA, and the Bulls specifically, aren't waiting for the future. They're making it happen now.
That's presumably the idea behind the Bulls' decision to broadcast 21 of its upcoming season's games on Spanish-language Univision radio. The Bulls have reeled in some pretty big names in the Spanish radio biz: Omar Ramos and Ozzie Guillen, Jr., son of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, will call the Bulls games on La Tremenda with Ramos serving as the play-by-play announcer and Guillen, Jr. as the analyst. Guillen, Jr. is actually the host of his own English and Spanish language radio show on Sunday nights.
The Bulls' first overt push for the Latino market came in 2008-09, awhen, as part of an NBA-organized Latino tribute night, the Bulls joined several other NBA teams in donning Spanish-language jerseys. (The Bulls were "Los Bulls, and so on.) The Bulls are re-upping the Los Bulls jerseys again this year, this time sporting them on two separate occasions. In the meantime, the Bulls have also made their web site Spanish-language compatible.
None of this is very complicated or difficult to explain: Chicago's local Hispanic demographic, as in most other major cities and many rural areas, is growing by leaps and bounds. Ignoring these fans, or pretending they do not exist, would be tantamount to Bud Light using English billboards in Spanish-speaking areas. It's bad business sense.
The Bulls might not have a huge Latino fan base yet, but if this keeps up, it's probably only a matter of time.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.