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“It remains a niche sport with pockets of fans,” said David Bernier, the former Secretary of Sport and Recreation in Puerto Rico.
“Most of the people who follow it here have either lived or studied in the United States.
Only this time the question came from a Spanish-language outlet and he handled it with ease, a rarity in America’s favorite pastime.
And as the fastest-growing demographic in the United States — projections have the United States’ Hispanic population tripling by 2050 — it was only a matter of time.
“There’s a natural draw to the NFL,” said Peter O’Reilly, the league’s vice president of fan strategy and marketing.
“Neither one of those teams was very good at the time, but the stadium was packed,” said Allegre, who is from Mexico and is currently an analyst for ESPN International.
“But the most impressive thing was that people came not as fans of the teams that were playing, but as fans of football and the NFL. I’m sure that all 32 teams were represented that day among the fans.” Yet, football remains a relatively unpopular sport in most Latin American countries — even in Puerto Rico, which is an American territory.