*On Monday the team announced a 20-year agreement with Time Warner Cable to create the nation’s first Spanish-language regional sports network, with the Lakers as its centerpiece, starting with the 2012-13 season.

The groundbreaking partnership is just the latest in a series of efforts by the Lakers and the NBA as they reach out to the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

“If you’re not able to connect with [Latinos], then where’s your sport going to be in 30 years?” says Adam Jacobson, a Miami-based marketing strategist focusing on Latinos.

The NBA, which has seen attendance drop for 14 of the league’s 30 teams this season, has reached out to Latinos since 1995. But it began targeting the market with new focus 16 months ago when it launched éneobéoa – Spanish for NBA – an initiative of Spanish-language websites and ad campaigns, specially branded merchandise and an expanded schedule of national Spanish-language TV broadcasts.

The campaign will ramp up again this week during the NBA All-Star Weekend at Staples Center.

Read the rest of this story at the LA Times.