History of American Football Spanish Broadcasts in New Orleans
By Mario Jerez
Click aqui para español- > La historia de las transmisiones de futbol americano en español
Almost thirty years ago, Ernesto Schweikert noticed local interest in the NFL’s New Orleans Saints picking up among his fellow Hispanics.
The native of Guatemala had just purchased KGLA Radio 1540 AM in New Orleans. And in 1992, he, Juan Luis Letona, David Marin, and Carlos Hornbrook made history as the first crew to broadcast the team’s games in Spanish.
The pioneering “Who Dat Hombres” called every Saints game for three seasons before KGLA’s daytime-only status forced the games to a different station in 1995. But by then, thousands of Latinos in New Orleans had already become regular listeners to Saints games, intrigued by the region’s most popular game in their native language.
American football remained a regular topic on Spanish-language sports shows in New Orleans after years of rarely being mentioned. And Schweikert says the city’s Latin Americans adopted a once-foreign game.
“Football is like a chess match on a field, and Latinos like the strategy part of it,” said Schweikert. “We’re also very loyal. Once (Latinos) embrace a team, they’re loyal to it, and they have a strong bond. You see it with the Saints here like you see it with soccer teams in other parts of the world.” The games aired with a different crew on La Fabulosa 830 AM until 2017. Schweikert later bought out the competing station and regained broadcast rights to every Saints game in 2019.
KGLA is also the home of LSU football in Spanish and has aired every Tigers home game since 2012. Also, the team’s digital media department posts the highlights from the Spanish broadcast after every contest in Tiger Stadium, much to the delight of a massive online audience.
“It’s important to have it,” said Matt Shanklin, General Business Manager for LSU sports Properties in an interview with Cox Sports Television. “There are a lot of fans in that community we hadn’t tried to reach out to before, and it allows us to connect LSU with the [Latin American] community.”
American football is an integral part of Louisiana’s culture, as is all the state’s Hispanic influence.
Twenty-eight years after the first Saints broadcast in Spanish, Latinos in New Orleans have embraced American football. And the game has embraced them right back.