What do you know
- Mario Patiño grew up watching the 49ers during the team’s scariest years as five-time Super Bowl champions.
- The 49ers and Dallas Cowboys continue to be one of the most popular NFL teams in Mexico due to their success in the 1980s.
- Patiño started Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts of 49 people in Spanish, and is now officially part of the team’s social media operations.
Mario Patiño impressed at the age of forty-four the first time he saw them play on television when he was 12 years old.
“Color, gold on the hull, everything,” he recalled. “I like the team.”
He’s not alone: Growing up in Mexico in the ’80s and early ’90s, he was surrounded by fans of the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, the two teams that dominated the NFL for those decades.
“I’ve never missed a game,” he said. “Every game, I wear the same jeans, the same shirt and my golden satin jacket. It’s my lucky charm.”
In the 1990s, he became a fan of quarterback Steve Young, who led the Niners to their fifth Super Bowl win. But it wasn’t until 2005 that Mario saw 49 players play live. It was then that they played their first regular NFL game outside the United States, at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
“This unique game can create fans for life,” said Alex Chang, 49ers director of marketing. “It’s not just a match, it’s really all the splendor and state of the game.”
Chang notes that, like the Super Bowl here in the US, NFL visits to other countries can include a week-long pre-game experience. He said the 49-member team plans to return to Mexico for another game during the 2022 or 2023 season, as part of a wider effort to engage fans in Mexico and England, now that the teams are officially granted marketing rights in both. country. We recently met a very hardcore 49er fan living in the UK.
But for Mario, the transition from fan to die-hard fan came in 2012, when he visited San Francisco and watched Colin Kaepernick’s first game as a starting quarterback; he then traveled to Atlanta to watch the Niners beat the Falcons for the NFC Championship. This is the year he decided to open a social media account around the 49ers, posting news and game updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Of course, the team already has their own social network. But Mario’s novels are different: they’re all in Spanish.
When he joined Twitter earlier that year, Mario realized that the 49ers Spanish-language content was missing. So he went straight upstairs and sent a direct message to the team’s CEO, Jed York.
“I DM Jed York and he answered me,” said Mario. “I asked for more content in Spanish.”
York immediately replied, “We’ll take care of it. Thank you for your support”.
Over the years, the team has kept its promise and now broadcasts all matches in Spanish. Carlos Eustis, sports broadcaster for Telemundo 48, works as a gaming broadcast analyst. Like Mario, Yustis also grew up in Mexico watching NFL football on television during the 1980s and 1990s.
“My earliest memories of football are with the Niners and the Dallas Cowboys,” Eustice said. “Being part of a team that was a part of my childhood is, for me, a dream come true.”
Yustis, who recently became a father, points out that many fans his age who still live in Mexico now have children, and those children have grown to 49 fans, so the Niners fan base is growing rapidly in Mexico. That might explain why Mario’s social media accounts are extensive enough to grab the team’s attention. But Chang is also skeptical about the quality of the material he publishes.
“The broadcast frequency is amazing,” Zhang said. “I follow people on my team doing this on a full-time job.”
But Mario already has a full-time job: He’s a doctor at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico. And in early 2021, his life as a fan and a doctor suddenly collided when the 49ers’ official Twitter account followed.
“They asked me to translate some tweets about Levi’s vaccinations and that helped them,” he said.
The 49ers house has become the site of a college vaccination in Santa Clara County, and Mario said he was honored to help spread the word among the Spanish-speaking community of the Bay Area. But he also wanted to ask:
“I ask for your help verifying accounts as official Spanish accounts of 49 people,” he said.
The team agreed, and also offered to manage the account with him, giving him more time to work on his new account. 49ers . podcast, also in Spanish. Ten years after starting live-tweeting every game and translating every breaking news about the team, Mario got what he wanted: an official social media presence for forty-four players in Spanish.
But the story doesn’t end there. In 2012, Mario went to his second soccer game while visiting the Bay Area.
“My wife is a Ryder fan,” he admits. “My sister is a Ryder fan.”
Mario, who won two against one, wore a simple black jacket and headed to the Oakland Coliseum, not daring to see him in a 49ers jersey. That day, his brother Jesús felt the same enthusiasm that Mario felt when he decided to start tweeting the 49ers. He opened a Twitter account for Raiders in Spanish, and still maintains it to this day. Sharing the love of football with Spanish-speaking fans has become something of a family business.
“That’s my job,” said Mario. “My hobby, my job on match days.”
“Problem solver. Proud twitter specialist. Travel aficionado. Introvert. Coffee trailblazer. Professional zombie ninja. Extreme gamer.”