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Angels to Air Six Games on Spanish Station

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Angels extended another hand to the Latino community Tuesday, announcing an agreement to air six games on Spanish-language television station KVEA (Channel 52).

The team’s Latino marketing initiative, started last year, takes two steps forward this weekend. On Friday, the Angels and KVEA present the first Spanish telecast in franchise history, an exhibition game against the Dodgers. On Saturday, the Angels host Aguascalientes in another exhibition, the first time a Mexican League team will play a major league team in a big league ballpark.

The Angels, stunned by a 1997 survey that revealed Spanish-speaking fans in Santa Ana rooted more for the Florida Marlins than the hometown team, targeted Latino fans last year by reviving Spanish radio broadcasts, advertising in Spanish-language newspapers and printing pocket schedules in Spanish. The Angels also included signs in Spanish as well as English in their $117-million renovation of Edison Field.

The Angels do not expect to make money on the KVEA venture. Instead of a traditional television deal, in which a station or network pays rights fees to the team, the Angels will split costs with KVEA. Without that financial assistance, the station probably could not have afforded the production costs, KVEA general sales manager Karl Meyer said.

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“This is another step--a very big step--to expand our reach into the Hispanic marketplace,” said Bob Wagner, Angel vice president of advertising sales and broadcasting. “It exposes our product to the Spanish-language audience, which will hopefully get them to come to the ballpark.”

Similarly, Angel vice president of communications Tim Mead said, the Angels have advertised the Aguascalientes game heavily in the Latino media. The Angels expect to draw at least 20,000 Saturday.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a segment of fans in the area that don’t come to the ballpark very often,” Mead said.

The Mexican League season already is under way. The league, a member of the umbrella group of North American minor leagues, is classified at the triple-A level.

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Although the KVEA agreement covers one year, Wagner and Meyer indicated the deal would be extended should fans and advertisers support the broadcasts.

KVEA will simulcast the Angels’ Spanish radio broadcast, with Ivan Lara on play-by-play and former major leaguer Jose Tolentino as analyst. KVEA sportscaster Mario Solis also will appear on the broadcasts, Meyer said.


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