Four Challenges Faced by Liga MX to Boost its Brand
What: Mexican soccer clubs have begun to work on developing their marketing. Generating more revenue, increasing their number of followers, making themselves more attractive to advertisers, and capturing the Latin American market in the U.S. are some of the goals they are trying to reach.
Why it matters: Liga MX is the most followed soccer league in both Mexico and the U.S., so reinforcing their marketing strategies is an essential key to continued growth.
Liga MX clubs have made a significant leap in the last ten years. Mexican teams began to study their international peers to copy their best practices and learn from their mistakes.
"In the last ten years, Mexico has tried to match what European leagues are doing, such as in Spain or England. They are not yet on par with England’s Premier League, the MLB, or even the NFL, but the qualitative leap is remarkable. There are few clubs out there that are not doing a serious job of marketing," said Antonio Rosique, sports commentator, and sports marketing specialist.
Mexican soccer is an attractive business market for generating and collecting revenue. This is confirmed by the howmuch.net site, which places Liga MX among the top 15 highest-earning sports leagues in the world, ahead of even European leagues such as the Netherlands’ Eredivisie and the German Bundesliga.
howmuch.net calculates that Liga MX generates US $555 million in revenue annually. Rosique explains that Liga MX’s high revenues are due to the large size of the Mexican soccer market. "If you have a market with a population of 90 million, and the Netherlands has a population of seven million, you are automatically going to generate more money, even with a junk league."
However, clubs in Mexico need to really boost their revenue through wise marketing strategies. This will help the league become even more attractive to brands.
"Soccer is very attractive because it is a topic that penetrates all market segments, from 'A' to 'E'. Each brand decides whether to associate itself with a club or league, or even just with a single match. It depends a lot on the market, and on the interests, you have as a brand," added Rosique.
Nevertheless, Liga MX faces four basic challenges it needs to overcome in order to truly enhance its brand.
Mexican fans are definitely among the sport’s most passionate, but this passion is sadly accompanied by violence in the stadiums and in matches where rivalry runs high. "As long as violence continues in Mexican soccer, there will be fewer brands that want to associate with that," said Rosique.
As long as violence continues in Mexican soccer, there will be fewer brands that want to associate with that.
2. The stadium experience
Much of the country’s stadium infrastructure is old. If we compare it with that of the MLS in the U.S., for example, Mexican clubs are far behind with their stadiums. Going to see a live game is an experience that needs to be complete and first-class, experts agree. "As clubs improve that experience for the fans, they will see better revenue," explained Rosique.
3. Underutilization of digital platforms
Javier Salinas, a marketing expert who has worked with FEMEXFUT and teams like Morelia’s Monarcas, thinks that Mexican clubs need to exploit areas such as social networks, where they have grown beyond other sports powerhouses, and where there is a large influx of domestic fans.
"In digital marketing, Mexico is better developed than Europe—our society is more Twitter and Facebook oriented than in Europe. Our country is one of Facebook’s main revenue sources. And Mexico is the fourth highest revenue-producing country for Twitter. On YouTube, Mexican soccer videos are among the most-viewed. This has led to an acceleration of digital marketing processes," said Salinas.
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4. Sponsor relations
Salinas, current Marketing Director of the Mexican Baseball League (LMB), thinks there is room for improvement when it comes to generating and attracting sponsors.
"In Mexico, sponsorship culture is a new thing for brands. Here, it is still seen as an expense, rather than as an important investment in their brands," he explained.
In Mexico, sponsorship culture is a new thing for brands. Here, it is still seen as an expense, rather than as an important investment in their brands.
Mexican clubs undoubtedly have the exposure and followers necessary to maintain their strong brand. Now, they need to overcome these four challenges to stay ahead, especially against new players who are getting stronger in their markets, such as the MLS in the U.S.
"The example of emulating leagues that have great marketing strategies is still far away. Getting top dollar for TV rights and increasing the number of followers worldwide are still goals that have to be worked on," concluded Rosique.