What: The 100th Copa America Is Breaking Records.
Why it matters: The tournament is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and this is the first time the tournament is being held in the U.S., with 15 sponsors confirming months before the tournament started.
Last Friday, June 3rd, San Francisco’s Levis Stadium became home of the Copa America 2016’s inaugural game, in which the U.S. confronted the Colombian soccer team, (ultimately losing 2-0). This year’s cup is the biggest soccer tournament held in the U.S. since the 1994 World Cup. It is the first time, Copa America is being played outside of a South American country.
In case this wasn’t enough to make it a special edition, Copa America is celebrating its 100 anniversary. It will involve 16 countries and 32 matches, and will be played throughout 24 cities, including cities with large US-Hispanic populations like Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and New York.
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After last year’s scandal related to FIFA’s corruption case, potential concerns existed for sponsors looking to invest in the sport. But it didn’t seem to matter much. A month before the cup started, more than ten (out of 15 total) brands had signed sponsoring agreements with Soccer United Marketing, who holdsthe commercial rights for both US Soccer and MLS. Ford, MasterCard, PPG Comex, Procter & Gamble and Remy Martin have all signed on as partners. And Nike, Coca Cola, Sprint and State Farm were first.
The tournament is being broadcasted by two major platforms in the U.S., Fox Sports and Univision. Considering the Gold Cup 2015 and Copa America Chile’s TV ratings, the cultural, soccer & social media marketing agency AC&M Group believes there could be up to 3.2 million viewers in the U.S. alone.
For its broadcasts Fox Sports signed four base sponsors for the duration of the tournament, including Sprint (pregame), VW (halftime), Budweiser (post-game) and Coke/Powerade (in-game enhancements).
“Soccer is the most active property for us outside of the NFL,” said Fox Sports Senior VP/Sales Mike Petruzzi to Sports Buisness Daily. “We would take any soccer content we can get. It’s the hot thing right now.”
Game attendance is expected to surpass 1.5 million sports fans and between 15-22 million will be watching the games on a screen, TV or online, according to Forbes. And thanks to Hispanic’s huge passion for soccer, the impact of Copa America on social media gets even bigger. Just as an example, last year’s Copa America in Chile surpassed all global sporting events on Twitter — including the NBA finals and the Super Bowl.
The tournament will feature internationally renowned players such as James Rodriguez, Javier Hernández, Luis Suárez, Alexis Sánchez and Lionel Messi, who have a combined 235.7 million followers on Twitter.
It certainly appears that the Coma America Centenario will make history in the sports marketing industry in addition to on the field.