Pro sports’ game plan to win over ethnic fans / Foreign-language Web sites, apparel building audience

Pro sports’ game plan to win over ethnic fans

Zhang came to America from mainland China in 2000. Despite having watched only about a dozen National Football League games on television at that point, he arrived in the Bay Area a ‘die-hard’ Raiders fan with an appetite to learn more about American football.
He is now a Raiders employee. Zhang writes a weekly article in the Mandarin language for the team’s Web site, exposing the Silver and Black to a whole new audience.
Sports franchises, including those in the Bay Area, are targeting previously untapped ethnic groups to expand their fan bases. The Internet, the recent influx of foreign players into leagues dominated by Americans and the global appeal of athletes allow teams to pursue new fans locally and internationally. Bay Area teams have the added luxury of playing for a diverse population that includes 1.3 million Hispanics and 1.2 million Asians, including about 520,000 Chinese Americans, according to the 2000 census.


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