A Super Bowl With a Latino Flair in Miami

There are few Latino players, and viewership among Latinos, while rising, pales in comparison with that of other groups.

But with the Super Bowl in the Miami area for the first time in 10 years, organizers have made a concerted effort to give the spectacle a Latino flair it has lacked.

Most prominently, this is the first year that two Latin pop artists — Shakira, who is Colombian, and Jennifer Lopez, who is of Puerto Rican descent — will headline the halftime show.

“When I think of my daughter, when I think of all the little girls in the world, to be able to have that and to see that two Latinas are doing this in this country at this time, it’s just very empowering for us,” Ms. Lopez said this week at a news conference to promote Sunday’s show.

Shakira added: “Miami is a city full of energy. It’s an important nest for the Latino community.”

And in lesser-seen ways, the “Latinidad” of the event is being expressed.

For the first time, a Latina is the head chef at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., where the game will be played, according to Centerplate, the stadium catering company that has served more than 35 Super Bowl games.

The menu during the game will include signature Latin foods like roasted pig stuffed with coconut rice, a watermelon tomatillo salad and jalapeño dressing, and of course, the Cubano sandwich, said Dayanny De La Cruz, the head chef for the game.

“We really decided to make sure that you are having the hot dog and the burgers and the chicken fingers, but also foods that represent my kitchen,” said Ms. De La Cruz, whose executive chef, Orlando Morales, is Mexican and executive sous chef, Javier Rosa, is Puerto Rican. Ms. De La Cruz immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2000.

“I am extremely proud to be representing the Dominican Republic and all Latinos as well,” Ms. De La Cruz said. “It’s about the diversity in my kitchen, not just me. It’s a conjunction of flavors.”

While the Super Bowl is being hosted in a predominantly Hispanic county, only 0.5 percent of N.F.L. players are Latino or of Latino descent, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s 2019 racial and gender report card. Nine percent of the average television audience this season — 16.5 million viewers for any given minute of a game — were Latinos, the N.F.L. said.

Although there may be a shortage of Latinos on the field, Miami residents said the showcase created by the Super Bowl might benefit Latinos, even those who do not go to the game.

“We already feel front and center with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez being part of the halftime show and with the event being held in a town that is a melting pot of different Latino cultures” said JennyLee Molina, 37, a marketing executive who is Latina.

Martha Valdes, who is of Cuban descent and owns an apparel shop called Martha of Miami, said the game provides a way to express the region’s Latinidad and place in America.

“It is the perfect opportunity to remind the country how proud we should be to be represented during this big American event,” she said.

Still, there have been many hassles with traffic and exorbitantly priced events, with some parties requiring thousands of dollars to enter.

“Right now what used to take an hour travel time takes an hour and a half,” said Whilly Bermudez, 43, a Miami native who works as a marketing consultant.

Yet it does provide more opportunities to spot celebrities and “is good for jobs in the community,” Mr. Bermudez said. “I think that is sort of like the trade off.”

For Ms. De La Cruz, a Latino feel around the Super Bowl reaffirms that the game is an American and Latino event.

“Times are changing and things are shifting,” Ms. De La Cruz said. “I feel we are just the right place to have the Super Bowl.”