Americans’ interest in soccer both as active participants in soccer matches as well as in fandom is growing at a high rate. Therefore, the brand marketing community is taking notice and considering more soccer sponsorships. What is the best strategy for marketers to engage with the Hispanic population through the soccer passion point? International leagues and clubs such as LigaMX, English Premier League and La Liga are alluring propositions. Here’s why.
A 2018 Gallup poll shows soccer ranks second in popularity only surpassed by football among the coveted 18-34 demographic. Soccer ties with basketball at 11% and is ahead of baseball at 6%. Undoubtedly, soccer, including beach soccer, is a substantial alternative for brands to reach out to this coveted population segment. These are two reasons why European and Mexican soccer sponsorships can be viable alternatives.
1. High Name Recognition of European Clubs and Stars
The high name recognition of European clubs among U.S. audiences, and even more among U.S. Hispanic audiences, explains why brand marketers prefer these marketing platforms over MLS. Thus, more American brands are closing soccer sponsorships with clubs including Futbol Club Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich. Moreover, the fact that global soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are household names makes maximizes opportunities.
Partnering with European Leagues can be alluring to major U.S. consumer brands. As an example, LaLiga North America —a joint venture between LaLiga, Spain’s top-soccer league, and Relevent Sports Group- recently partnered with Allstate for Soñando con LaLiga, which details the experience and progress of the best 17 players from the Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase while they traveled to Spain and competed against LaLiga academies and in front of LaLiga coaches and scouts. (Check out the partnership of Paris Saint German with Nike subsidiary Air Jordan.)
2. LigaMX Soccer Sponsorships Speak Closer to Hispanic Consumers than MLS
The Mexican LigaMX can be a much better soccer marketing vehicle to engage U.S. Hispanics than the MLS, Nick Kelly, Head of U.S. Sports Marketing at Anheuser-Busch, said at last fall’s Portada New York conference. The fact that 70% of Hispanics are of Mexican origin explains the high popularity of the Mexican National Team and LigaMX clubs (e.g. América, Guadalajara, Toluca, and Cruz Azul) among U.S. Hispanics.
“All our world cup campaigns were about the Mexican National Team (not the U.S. National Team)”, said Nick Kelly, a member of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board. Anheuser-Busch partners with the LigaMX particularly for soccer sponsorships and activations in the Southwestern U.S., an area with a very large Hispanic population. In particular, he mentioned Texas, Arizona and Nevada, as well as cities like Houston, Dallas, and surprisingly, Nashville.
Toyota is another company that is betting on Mexican soccer for its Hispanic outreach. Tyler McBride, Engagement and Events Marketing Manager at Toyota Motor North America, told Portada that he is partnering with Club America because they are the top club and most successful team in North America. The team is recognized internationally with a storied history and winning tradition in Mexico’s Liga MX and they are the most-watched soccer league in the United States. “Our partnership with Club America allows us to engage with Liga MX fans year-round across multiple touchpoints,” he said.