How Much Do Mexican Soccer Clubs Get Paid for U.S. Broadcasting Rights?

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What?: Mexican soccer teams are being paid millions of dollars for broadcasting rights in the U.S.
Why it matters?: Broadcast channels in the U.S. are spending millions of dollars a year to obtain the rights to transmit Mexican soccer games in an effort to reach the 35 million Hispanics of Mexican descent living in the U.S. (Note: This article is a revised version of an article included in Portada's 2016 Sports Marketing Guide, to get the full version, DOWNLOAD it here).

12106291_144901869198946_1403484663_n_002In 2013, Chivas, Guadalajara’s main football club, signed a $16 million-dollar deal with Univisión to broadcast their regular season games in the United States until 2018. This contract surpassed the team’s last agreement with Telemundo, who paid them $11 million for the rights from 2008 to 2013. With these numbers, Chivas has positioned itself as the highest-paid team for broadcasting games in the U.S (see table below)., ranked even above the entire Mexican national league, Liga MX, which is paid US$12 million a year by Univisión/ESPN to broadcast its games in English and Spanish.

Chivas is just one example of a Mexican soccer team that has its eye on the U.S. market. El America, Cruz Azul and Pumas are paid $15, $11 and $10 million dollars a year for the U.S. rights, respectively. Broadcast networks like Grupo Azteca are investing substantial amounts of money to shore up their soccer offerings.

“With more than 35 million Hispanics of Mexican descent living in the U.S., it is easy to understand why Mexican soccer teams decided to promote their audience there. The Liga MX even gets the highest audience rate of all games,” says Vicente Navarro, VP of business development at AC&M Group, a Hispanic and soccer marketing agency.

Good Things Happen North of the Border

Team TV Channel
Deal Yearly income in
 USD
América Univisión 2015-2020 15,000,000
Atlas Univisión 2013-2016 5,500,000
Chiapas Univisión 2013-2016 3,000,000
Cruz Azul Univisión 2013-2018 11,000,000
Guadalajara Univisión 2013-2018 16,000,000
León Telemundo/NBC 2012-2015 6,300,000
Monterrey Univisión 2013-2016 3,000,000
Morelia Azteca América/ESPN 2013-2016 5,000,000
Pachuca Telemundo/NBC 2014-2018 7,000,000
Puebla Azteca América/ESPN 2013-2016 2,500,000
Querétaro Azteca América/ESPN 2014-2017 2,000,000
Santos Univisión 2013-2016 4,000,000
Tigres Univisión 2013-2016 3,000,000
Tijuana Azteca América/ESPN 2013-2016 3,500,000
Toluca Univisión 2013-2017 8,000,000
UNAM Univisión 2013-2018 10,000,000
Veracruz Univisión 2013-2017 3,500,000

Source: Wikipedia and Portada
Note: Mexico's major soccer teams and their broadcast rights in the U.S.

Join us at the HISPANIC SPORTS MARKETING FORUM.. The first day of #Portada16 (Sept. 14, 2016 in NYC) will be all about Sports Marketing and insights and best practices on how best to use sports content to connect with the exploding Hispanic demographic!

According to Jorge Villalobos, CEO of Sports Marketing Monterrey, selling broadcast rights to American media channels is a win-win situation for everyone involved. The soccer team obtains more exposure (apart from being paid well), the TV channel gets quality content, the advertising companies have a platform on which to sell their content, and the fans are able to see their teams play.

Jorge Villalobos, CEO at Sports Marketing Monterrey

Jorge Villalobos, CEO at Sports Marketing Monterrey

There are many sports channels in the U.S. and most of them designate a bigger part of their broadcasting time to soccer, not only in Spanish but also in English, says Villalobos. “This is an industry that is evolving, and as the U.S. audience is becoming more sophisticated, it demands better quality.” The evolution of American audiences has to be reflected in the channels' content, and if an audience is interested in Mexican soccer, the channels will do what it takes to show it.

Some years ago, it was crazy to think that the media would broadcast even 20% of the Mexican season’s friendly soccer games: All of the games that we play in the U.S. are transmitted not only nationally but also in Mexico and 20 other countries,” says Villalobos. What’s more, El Tri, Mexico’s national soccer team, plays more games in the U.S. than in Mexico.

Selling to an American Audience

Only 10 days ago Univision Deportes broadcast the Campeón de Campeones match (Champion of Champions) with Honda as title sponsor. The winners of the two most recent Liga MX seasons played against each other. Tellingly the match was not played in Mexico, but Dominguez Hills-Carson, CA.

“Soccer advertisers keep growing in the U.S.,” says Villalobos. “There are more and more brands that see soccer as their best tool to reach the Hispanic market and connect with it.” For this reason, agencies like Sports Marketing Monterrey are focusing on bringing Mexican soccer and brands closer, not only through advertising but also through other experiences like events and special promotions.

Vicente Navarro, VP of business development at AC&M Group

Vicente Navarro, VP of business development at AC&M Group

"The average income in the U.S. is much higher than in Mexico,” admits Navarro. “This also means that the fans have a higher purchasing power to buy stuff from their favourite teams."

Still “it is not a secret that the fans have stopped spending their money on ‘things,’ because now, they want experiences,” admits Villalobos. So, when bringing a team to the U.S., the commercial relationship does not end after the game: the brands are sponsoring other events, too, for autograph signing or meet-and-greets with players, for example.

But brands cannot forget that U.S. Hispanics behave differently than Mexicans do in their home country. It is a mistake to think that one can apply the same campaign used during a soccer game in Mexico in the U.S., because “it is a different target and you have to discover how to reach it,” adds Villalobos.

DOWNLOAD Portada's 2016 Sports Marketing Guide!

According to Navarro, selling broadcast rights to U.S. channels doesn’t represent a risk at all for the teams. “It could be risky for the companies buying the rights, or for the marketing agencies paying for advertising, if the team is having a terrible season,” he adds. “But, in general, the teams can bring in great revenue because they are already a strong global brand.”

Join us at the HISPANIC SPORTS MARKETING FORUM.. The first day of #Portada16 (Sept. 14, 2016 in NYC) will be all about Sports Marketing and insights and best practices on how best to use sports content to connect with the exploding Hispanic demographic!


Ximena Cassab @xcassab

Ximena is a Swiss-Mexican journalist based in Mexico City where she specialized in business, and travel topics. Graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), she has worked as an editor at the magazines Expansión , Aire and Accent, from Expansion Group. Currently she is working with different media in Spanish and English independently. She is a passionate traveler who does not miss the opportunity to see a new place in the world.

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