113 million Mexicans will be rooting for the “Tri” as Mexico plays the 2014 Soccer World Cup qualifying match tomorrow against New Zealand.   So will almost 42 million Mexican Americans in the U.S. and, without a doubt, almost everyone in the  Hispanic Marketing and Media sector. There is a lot of passion but also a strong economic rationale, the incentives for marketers to sponsor World  Cup and soccer related activities during 2014 will be much bigger if Mexico qualifies to Brazil 2014.(UPDATED with John Trainor and Marco Lopez comments).

SoccerThe possibility of not qualifying for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil deeply worries Mexico’s football association (FMF) and media, mainly television networks in Mexico and the United States which have broadcast rights, and companies who sponsor the national team and businesses who see a rise in sales throughout the year when the World Cup is held. Analysts have put the economic costs of a potential non World Cup qualification at US $650 million. “It’s huge for the country, for the economy, for media, for everyone, both in Mexico and the US. Big brands have World Cup media and marketing related budgets for 2014, so I believe it is critical,” Miguel Ramirez Lombana, founder of soccer news site Soccerly.com, comments on Portada’s Linked In Group. (Previously in his career, Lombana sold Mexican soccer site Mediotiempo.com to Time Inc’s Grupo Editorial Expansion.)

 Not having Mexico be part of the World Cup would lessen the impact of the tournament in the U.S. Both from an impression and business standpoint.

“We think media consumption will be high throughout the tournament because of the road Mexico has taken to get the tournament and the drama it has endured  (still have to qualify).  Also the time zone of the tournament and the host country should create an all time high in engagement across multiple platforms – broadcast, digital, social.  Not having Mexico be part of this would lessen the impact of the tournament in the U.S. Both from an impression and business standpoint,” says Yousef Kattan,  President.CEO of TruMedia, a Dallas based Hispanic advertising agency that plans and buys media for companies including Maseca and MetroPCS.

Not all experts think that a potential Mexico non-qualification would be a “Hispanic marketing dollars disaster.” “Honestly I believe the biggest impact would be for broadcasters and not print outlets as the interest level of watching a game live when your preferred national team is not playing most likely will drop,” says John Trainor, publisher of Hoy Chicago. On the consumer standpoint, our readers have become accustomed to find all about soccer within our pages and corresponding digital platforms and our unparalleled sports coverage will be just as strong even if Mexico does not make it. Hoy’s editorial philosophy will continue to include the coverage of the top soccer tournament in the planet and Hispanics in Chicago already know where they will find it.” To Marco Lopez, EVP Client Services at elemento -an  experiential marketing agency that has Coca Cola among its clients- much of  Coca-Cola’s strategy evolves around the World Cup and is aligned to the global strategy.  “Working together with Coca-Cola’s partner agencies we developed a strategy that is taking on the global assets and making them relevant for the U.S,.  The Mexican National Team is an important part of our strategy and it is a great connection with the core consumer, but we have a plan that will be executable with or without the Mexican National Team.  Coca-cola is a partner of FIFA and as such, the World Cup remains a very strong opportunity.”

We have a plan that will be executable with or without the Mexican National Team.

Not direct sponsors, but still part of the conversation

Many companies are not direct backers of the Fifa World Cup but sponsor the Mexican National Team for the matches it plays in the U.S. They include, Unilever Wells Fargo  and Allstate. Until recently Maseca was another sponsor of the Mexican National Soccer Team.  Many of these sponsorship deals rest on the assumption that Mexico will be participating in soccer’s biggest and most visible event. Rodrigo Vallejo, Managing Partner at TruMedia, manages the Maseca brands which used the be one of the official partners of the Mexican National team. ” Obviously, If we still were a sponsor partner then implications would be much greater, “Vallejo tells Portada.

But marketers may also want to invest in media and programs that cut the 2014 Soccer World Cup in more indirect ways. “We are not sponsoring the World Cup directly, but have placed strategies to make sure our brands are around the conversation and buzz that is the tournament, specifically the novela, that is the Mexican national team right now (coaches, players unhappy, qualifying).  We are creating strategies where our media can live with the World Cup without necessarily “sponsoring” it, ”  adds Yousef Kattan,  President.CEO of TruMedia. 

Univision and ESPN will broadcast Mexico – New Zealand

MÉXICO FÚTBOL CONCACAF SUB20 Communications will air both of the Mexican men’s national teams final World Cup Qualifiers against New Zealand tomorrow from Mexico City and the return match on November 20 in Wellington (New Zealand). ESPN, which has forged a partnership with Univision under which it has been televising the home matches of the Mexican men’s national team, will be televising both play-in matches in English, as will Watch ESPN.

Regarding the impact of Mexico’s possible on qualification on the Mexican advertising and media market alone,  Santiago Duran, Digital & Catalyst Director at Havas Media Mexico, noted at the recent Portada Mexico Forum  that a factor which could decrease 2014 Advertising volumes is Mexico’s classification to the 2014 Soccer World Cup. According to Duran, if Mexico does not classify to the World Cup, the impact on advertising activity as a result of the non qualification could amount to 2% of overall 2014 Mexican advertising expenditures.


Download Portada’s Special 2010 World Cup Issue for Marketers (free registration required). (Portada will be publishing the “2014 Soccer World Cup Guide for marketers in partnership with Soccer.com” on January 28, 2014)



Portada Staff

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