ESPN Deportes has lined up a roster of sponsors for its competition series Dream Job: El Reportero, signing cross-platform deals with Ford, AT&T, Burger King and Infinity Auto Insurance.
Per terms of the individual agreements, each client will serve as the exclusive marketing partner in its respective category. Along with traditional 30-second spots, the sponsor brands will be integrated into the narrative of the three one-hour episodes, which will air at the tail end of the first quarter of 2010.
Production on the series begins Saturday, Oct. 3, in New York, as ESPN Deportes kicks off its fall audition tour. The network will host cattle calls in six cities, focusing on soccer-friendly DMAs (Gotham, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles and Dallas).
Each stop on the tour will serve as an opportunity for on-site sponsorship. For example, aspiring contestants will be able to check under the hood of the 2010 Ford Fusion Sport, which the automaker is offering as part of the Dream Job grand prize. And AT&T will be on hand to offer free––and conspicuously branded––phone service to those vying for a spot in the show’s lineup.
The sponsors’ brands also will appear on a trailer that will visit high-Hispanic neighborhoods and college campuses three days prior to each audition date. As the tryouts will be filmed for use in the series, the on-site promos will pull double duty as on-air placement.
Along with the new car, the winner of the Dream Jobs competition will be recruited to cover the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The newly minted journalist will also report from the top Spanish soccer circuit, La Liga. (In June, ESPN Deportes and sibling net ESPN2 sublicensed around 95 La Liga matches from U.S. rightsholder GolTV.)
According to Lino García, general manager, ESPN Deportes, Dream Job will get a significant boost from Burger King, which will promote the series in select restaurants. The QSR chain will also lean heavily on ESPN Radio and online at a dedicated Dream Job micro-site.
A spin-off of the 2004-05 ESPN series, Dream Job first bowed on Deportes in 2006. García said the four-year hiatus between the premiere season and the follow-up shouldn’t throw viewers off the scent. “Mauricio Pedroza won the competition in the first Dream Jobs, and he’s been with us ever since,” said García, adding that Pedroza now serves as an anchor on Deportes’ version of SportsCenter.
As of September, Deportes is available in 4.7 million Hispanic households, or around 36 percent of the Hispanic universe (12.9 million homes), per Nielsen.
“We got a lift in Texas that isn’t reflected in the most recent numbers,” García said, noting that a recent activation in Time Warner Cable systems in Texas markets (Dallas, Brownsville) should push Deportes past the 5 million sub mark. “In relative terms, we would be at the 40-45 million HH mark, in a general market.”
ESPN Deportes is the second highest-rated Spanish language network measured by Nielsen, trailing only Galavisión.
While automotive and financial services dollars dried up in the wake of the recession, the former category is beginning to come back, said César Ruiz, Deportes’ director of ad sales. “We’re still in the midst of our upfront right now, but we’ve already seen auto increase versus last year,” Ruiz said, adding that the network anticipates increased commitments from General Motors in Q4.
While Ruiz did not specify pricing, he said Deportes was able to “hold firm” on CPMs, refusing to acquiesce to calls for “double-digit rollbacks.”