CHICAGO, IL — December 31, 2019 — (HISPANICIZE WIRE) — Prominent Chicago businessman and promoter Luis H. Rossi, who for nearly 50 years produced some of the city’s most iconic events and was also the former longtime publisher of La Raza Newspaper, died peacefully Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 71.
A native of Uruguay, Rossi emigrated to Chicago in 1970, where he began a storied career in Hispanic media and entertainment.
Following his passion for soccer, he began his ascent as a sports journalist. One of his first gigs was at La Raza Newspaper. He soon recognized that the nobility of a journalist wouldn’t pay the bills, so he launched Rossi Enterprises, Inc., which began producing sports programs for radio and television. The agency grew rapidly along with the Hispanic community and soon became a full service marketing, advertising and event promotion firm. The agency would go on to establish a reputation for event marketing and promote hundreds of successful events including: concerts, festivals, soccer matches and closed-circuit sporting events.
Rossi’s expertise in Chicago’s booming Latino community would lead him to create “El Dia de los Hispanos” (The Latino’s Day), a marketing tactic he used to introduce Latinos to major general market events. He then forged a Hispanic promotional partnership with Feld Entertainment, Inc., producers of Disney on Ice, Monster Jam and the fabled RB&BB Circus. Over the course of a few years, “Hispanic Days” would become a staple promotion at major general market family events throughout the country.
With his agency business flourishing, Rossi returned to his media roots with the acquisition of La Raza Newspaper and launched Rossi Publications, Inc., a publishing house that for more than 20 years would serve the community through various publications, including: La Raza Newspaper, Domingo with the Chicago Sun Times, La Raza Pagínas Amarillas, Fin de Semana for the Tribune and La Raza On-line. As the beloved longtime publisher of La Raza Newspaper, he established the weekly into a powerhouse in the U.S. Spanish-language print industry and became the recipient of more than 100 awards, including “Nation’s Best Spanish Language Weekly,” by the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP).
Rossi served as Regional Director, Treasurer and finally President of the NAHP. As president, he established a new home for the NAHP in Washington DC, at the National Press Building and he also brought the association’s national convention to Washington, in 1996, and was successful in arranging for President Bill Clinton to be the keynote speaker. In 2002, Luis sold the RPI empire, including La Raza, to an investment group led by his long-term partner, Robert Armband. Armband stated, “I knew that joining Luis as the associate publisher of La Raza was going to be financially rewarding, what I’ve come to realize now is that becoming his brother in arms has enriched me well beyond any monetary reward, he was truly an inspiration.”
Rossi invested the proceeds from the sale into a partnership that owned the Aragon Ballroom, the grand dame of Historic Ballrooms in the Midwest. The Aragon Ballroom opened in 1926 and is now a state-of-the-art entertainment center that attracts more than 500,000 people a year.
Later that year, Rossi and his partner in the Aragon, Ivan Fernandez, founded Viva Entertainment Network, Inc. Viva has become one of the most prolific and versatile Hispanic live event companies in the USA. Viva also runs a popular entertainment website and social network, www.vivatumusica.com. Mr. Fernandez remarked that, “working with Luis was like drinking from a creative fountain of life. His passion and knowledge was a driving force behind VivaTuMusica. He will be sorely missed.”
Don Luis Rossi has received countless awards from city, state and national organizations, throughout his years of service to the Hispanic community. Among them were: The 1999 YMCA “Hero of the Community Award,” presented by Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the “Man of the Year Award 2004,” presented by The Order of the Sons of Italy Law Enforcement Lodge #1 and the 2007 Billboard Promoter of the Year. Rossi has also served on the Board of Directors for St. Augustine College and for the NAHP Foundation.
Rossi is survived by his wife Alma and son Bryan. Visitation will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60640. A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at the chapel of the Holy Name Cathedral, 730 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Interment will be private.