Jets’ Sanchez Could Be Money-Making Ambassador for NFL


Jul 16, 2009

Look at the NFL’s brightest stars. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, even youngsters Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. Not much ethnic diversity there. I’m guessing neither LaDanian Tomlinson nor Adrian Peterson know much Spanish, either.

Enter Jets first-round draft pick Mark Sanchez. He may just be the ambassador commissioner Roger Goodell has been seeking.

Sports Illustrated’s John P. Lopez compares Sanchez to the Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming, calling
the former USC quarterback’s situation a “rare exception when the
potential value of a player on the field is exceeded only by his value
off of it,” much like Fernando Valenzuela when he exploded on the baseball scene as a rookie with the Dodgers in 1981.

The NFL currently lacks a Hispanic hero, which, according to Lopez,
is hindering the league from expanding financially. Major League
Baseball, of course, does not have that problem. Some of the diamond’s
biggest stars include last names like Rodriguez, Ramirez, Tejada and

Lopez notes that Hispanic Americans are the fastest growing minority
demographic in America, and will account for $670 billion in U.S.
personal income by 2010.

That might be a decent market to tap into.

With now-annual games at London’s Wembley stadium — even talks of one day hosting a Super Bowl there
— it’s obvious that Goodell is making serious efforts to expand the
NFL’s fan base. In Europe, certainly, but now Sanchez provides a more
immediate opportunity to reach a rapidly expanding market closer to

It’s not like there’s any pressure on the 22-year-old in New York already.

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