Brazil’s Yankee fever: New York Yankees ignite a cultural craze beyond Bronx

Aaron Judge wearing a Yankees cap
Amanda Paula
Friday June 9, 2023

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When it comes to baseball, you might expect the New York Yankees brand to go viral in countries like Japan, Venezuela, Cuba, South Korea, and the Dominican Republic. However, Brazil, renowned for its national soccer team, is witnessing the Yankees’ surprising popularity. The streets are filled with numerous people already wearing Yankees baseball caps, but why have they embraced Yankees hats?

In Brazil, soccer reigns supreme, while baseball remains a perplexing sport. Despite this, the Yankees cap has become the country’s most sought-after headwear.

Yankees and the influence of American pop culture

Photo taken by GettyImages

The New York Times reports that most Brazilians are unfamiliar with the Yankees because baseball is not well-known. However, the American influence may impact how people perceive the brand.

It is true that the Yankees cap has surpassed its original purpose and evolved into a fashion phenomenon of its own, detached from the sport or the team it represents. Its popularity has skyrocketed through prominent appearances in hip-hop music videos and celebrity endorsements. For instance, eveyone can find places selling Yankees hats, and young people in Porto Alegre, located in the south of Brazil, are seen proudly wearing them.

The New Era era contributes to the Yankees’ popularity in Brazil

Aaron Judge holding a bat

However, as popularity increased, so did the availability of unofficial products. It is common to find Yankees hats made by something other than New Era.

Artur Regen oversees Brazil for New Era, the most significant — and, he said, only — licensed Major League Baseball hat seller in Brazil. He stated, “Ninety-eight percent of Brazilians don’t know it’s a baseball team. New York is cool, and they want to be associated with it.”

New Era sells Yankees hats in over 125 countries. Since it entered Brazil in 2010, the company has added more than 2,000 partner stores and 150 franchise shops, according to Mr. Regen. Over the past two years, sales have doubled.

“If you walk on any beach in Brazil, you’ll probably see Yankees hats on 90 percent of the people wearing New Era caps,” Mr. Regen added. Four workers from the two shops confirmed that nine of 10 hats sold were Yankees caps.

Hence, if you ever find yourself in Brazil, regardless of the region, whether the Amazon or Rio de Janeiro, you’ll likely come across people wearing Yankees hats. However, please refrain from asking them about baseball rules because they won’t know how to answer you.

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