The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which represents more than 200 Hispanic chambers of commerce and serves as the national advocate for nearly three million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, congratulates Ron Rivera on being hired as Head Coach of the NFL Carolina Panthers.
Rivera was introduced as the Panthers’ coach on January 11, becoming the third Hispanic head coach in NFL history. Ex-Raiders and Seahawks coach Tom Flores is the only other Hispanic to lead an NFL team.
The 49-year-old Rivera becomes the fourth head coach in the 16-year history of the Carolina NFL franchise. He leaves the Defensive Coordinator role with the San Diego Chargers for this new opportunity, replacing John Fox who stood at the helm of the Carolina Panthers for 9 years.
“We congratulate Mr. Rivera on this groundbreaking career opportunity in the world of professional football,” says Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the USHCC. “It’s been 16 years since a Latino headed an NFL team and it’s time that the league and advertisers recognize the influence that 25 million Hispanic sports fans in this country hold. New York Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez is making important diversity gains on the gridiron, and now Ron Rivera will make an even bigger impact from the NFL sidelines.”
A Scarborough Research study from 2004-2005 claims 13% of all NFL fans are Hispanic. Even the tremendously popular Madden Football video game is available in Spanish.
“In recent years, the NFL has recognized the spending power of Hispanic fans, offering Spanish-language broadcasts of NFL games and exhibition and regular-season games played in Mexico,” says USHCC Chairman Nina Vaca-Humrichouse. “It’s important that the NFL acknowledge such a large and growing fan base not only in marketing decisions, but in management decisions as well.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the NFL ranks first among all sports in English-speaking Hispanic households.