In South Florida, the Panthers dabbled in Spanish broadcasts on the radio during their first three seasons starting in 1993, while they played in Miami, and again in the middle of the 2010s.
The Kings’ wading into Spanish broadcasting three years ago came on the heels of the ephemeral venture that was Spectrum Deportes, a mirror of the regional English-language cable network that carried the Lakers and the Dodgers before being canceled in 2018 after six years.
The Kings’ radio coverage is more limited in scope than it was on Spectrum Deportes, as well as its 1990s predecessor, La Cadena Deportiva, a network that carried the Lakers, San Diego Padres, Kings and Anaheim Ducks among its other sports telecasts in Spanish in the 1990s.
The Kings also had Spanish radio broadcasts that ended in the 1997-98 season.
“Some of them do it as a P.R. stunt, doing two games here or three games there. But it doesn’t really go anywhere because they don’t support it financially and don’t give it the time,” said Cesar Sutil, a producer for La Cadena Deportiva during its two seasons (1993-94 and 1994-95) broadcasting the entire home schedules for the Kings and Ducks.
Though the Kings did not use their success last decade to diversify their programming — they won championships in 2012 and 2014, but did not begin Spanish broadcasts until 2018 — the Chicago Blackhawks did. For the past six seasons, their presence in Spanish-language media and the Latino community has grown. They now broadcast all of their home games on Spanish radio.
Héctor Lozano, 52, a former Chicago play-by-play announcer, had also worked with other Chicago franchises, including the Bulls during the Michael Jordan era, and said that he had seen a major uptick in enthusiasm for hockey in Chicago’s Latino community.
“After winning Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015, you know, everyone wanted to be associated with a winner,” Lozano said in Spanish.