What: Canelo Alvarez’s win over Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night gave him an ever greater visibility boost to a wider U.S. audience.
Why it matters: The Guadalajara, Mexico, native can use this as a springboard to even greater marketing possibilities here moving forward.

The last few weeks if you watched any big sporting event on TV in North America you saw the commercial—in English: Michael Buffer (@Michael_Bufferand Canelo Alvarez (@Caneloin the ring in a lighthearted promotion to try the growing internet streaming service DAZN (@DAZN_USA(pronounced Da ZONE for those who don’t know) tied to his fight this past Saturday against Rocky Fielding (@Rocky87Fielding). It showed a side of the Mexican boxer that many casual fans may not have known, but with his win over Fielding at Madison Square Garden (@TheGardenin New York on Saturday night, making him champion in now three weight classes.

The fight was the kickoff to a partnership between DAZN, which is banking big on boxing’s resurgence, and Alvarez that was signed in the fall, five-year, 11-fight deal that will pay the boxer at least $365 million, making it one of the most lucrative single athlete media partnerships ever.

“By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers — a truly transformational moment for our business and for the entire industry,” John Skipper, the executive chairman of DAZN said at the time of the announcement, and Alvarez’s crossover brand power may just prove the investment to be a cost effective one, especially as major companies fight not just for brand recognition and subscribers, but for ancillary disruptive marketing power as well.

Those who have seen his value are already seeing an uptick, and as the next calendar year goes on I’m sure we will see more form him and the companies around him.

Alvarez, once a low key stalwart in the ring, has undergone a brand transformation in the past year, bouncing back from a pre-fight drug test for the use of the banned substance clenbuterol last spring that put off a much anticipated fight against Gennady Golovkin (@GGGBoxingto grab more and more of the limelight in a sport popular with Latinos and growing in popularity with action craving millennials. That’s to say nothing about the millions who will tune in or follow the casual big fight, something that the sport had been lacking in recent years and is now finding a niche once again.

Alvarez is now boxing’s biggest pay-per-view star this side of the still inactive Floyd Mayweather, with recent fights against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Golovkin generating more than one million pay-per-view buys. His midyear place of 62 on the Forbes list of celebrities and athletes will rise to the top ten as the year ends, and his interest, and ability to connect with fans and brands in a multicultural environment will certainly make him move to the watch list of companies looking to continue to step up engagement as 2019 begins.

Canelo’s sponsor list is already growing, and includes deals with Under Armour (@UnderArmour), Tecate (@tecate), Hennessy (@HennessyUSand Everlast (@Everlast_), bringing in more than seven figures outside his boxing and media deals. That should continue to rise as the affluent Latino market tied to sports again grows with the turning of the calendar, and an increased focus in all things Mexican sports business continues to draw attention.

Join us at PORTADA LOS ANGELES on March 15, 2019 at the Loews Beach Hotel Santa Monica, where we will dive deep into sports and soccer marketing’s preeminent topics. Felix Palau, VP Marketing, Heineken will discuss “How to measure ROI and transfer best practices between sports marketing platforms”. Other speaking engagements include Tiago Pinto, Global Marketing Director, Gatorade who will provide answers to the question: “Will Corporate America jump on the soccer opportunity?”Attendees will also be able to benefit from Portada’s meet-up service of three-eight-minute meetings with top brand executives!

Gareb Shamus

“We all love great fights, it’s what everyone looks to and we can all identify with no matter how much we sometimes don’t like to admit it,” said Gareb Shamus (@gareba pop culture expert who once ran the fledgling MMA franchise the International Fight League before it was sold to the UFC. “We also love great story arcs with heroes and villains, and Canelo has given fans a little bit of the edginess that can pull from both sides. Most importantly he literally speaks the language of the two most important markets in North America and beyond, English and Spanish, and I think his crossover appeal is great for fight sports, and for business. Those who have seen his value are already seeing an uptick, and as the next calendar year goes on I’m sure we will see more form him and the companies around him.”

There is always risk in tying closely to fight sport athletes. One bad move, one knockout, could kill lots of brand equity. We certainly see that more in MMA, especially in the UFC, where champions can be built and a mismatched opponent, one with a stronger and different discipline, can take out a rising star suddenly. In the carefully crafted world of boxing matchups, the risk is less likely, and the buildup to the big fights gives ample time for brand promotion.

Is Canelo ready to ascend an even higher throne in sport marketing?2019 could be the year for the three belt champion, with boxing on the rise, streaming front and center and the athlete as brand becoming more and more the focus.

It could be a knockout year again for the Mexican star, well beyond his native land.


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A summary of the most exciting news in multicultural sports marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • ESPN is bringing back ESPN8. “The Ocho” will take the place of ESPN2 on Aug. 8, offering 24 hours of off-beat programming. KFC will sponsor all 24 hours of programming in a series of vignettes that will run throughout the day. Within the lineup will be the 2018 Dodgeball World Cup, the US Open Ultimate Championships, the Spikeball East Tour Series, Major League Eating, the Cornhole: ACL Pro Invitational, and the World Championship of Ping Pong.


  • Van HeusenVan Heusen has become UFC’s first-ever “Official Men’s Dress Furnishings Provider,” with UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson starring in a new commercial highlighting the Van Heusen Flex collection of men’s shirts and pants. The commercial and campaign creative will be placed across national and local cable television, and display ads on select retailer sites. According to a Washington Post poll, 38% of mixed martial arts fans are African-American, and 31% are Hispanics.


  • OTT DAZN is planning on creating original lifestyle content including documentaries, talk shows and podcasts as part of its international expansion. “In a market like the US where we’re very strong in combat sports rights but don’t have much else, we need original content,” said DAZN chief executive James Rushton, to Digiday. “Part of our challenge is, we have to turn these boxers back into superstars.” The platform is set to launch in September with only boxing and martial arts rights and will be supplementing that coverage with an original daily news show offering an inside look at what fighters get up to outside the ring.

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  • Top Rank BoxingBoxing promotion company Top Rank signed a new seven-year partnership with ESPN. As part of the deal, ESPN will provide live coverage of 54 boxing events per year, as well as delivering previews and post-fight analysis programmes, archive and studio content and new shows.


  • UFC confirmed its first-ever event in Beijing, China, taking place at the Cadillac Arena on Nov. 24. “China is the next frontier for the growth of UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts, and this market is paramount to our success internationally,” UFC Vice President of Asia-Pacific Kevin Chang said. UFC will be working together with Endeavor China to deliver the live event.


  • Clemson University locked in a 10-year contract extension with Nike, that will run through the 2027-28 academic year and grant the athletic department more than $58 million in apparel allowances, direct cash payouts, and royalties. “Nike is one of the premier brands in the world and we’re excited to build upon our relationship,” said Dan Radakovich, Director of Athletics, Clemson University.

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  • FedExFedEx expanded its partnership with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies to become the franchise’s first-ever jersey sponsor. The FedEx logo will be integrated into the team’s newly designed Nike uniforms for the 2018/19 season.


  • Major League Baseball and ESPN announced that the 2018 MLB Postseason will begin exclusively on ESPN on Oct. 2. The National League Wild Card Game presented by Hankook will also be available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and the ESPN App. 31% of MLB players are Latino, according to ESPN.


  • UFC signed a multi-year marketing partnership with meal delivery service Trifecta Nutrition. The agreement represents a brand-new sponsorship category for UFC. In return, Trifecta will have a branded presence at the UFC Performance Institute and an activation presence at UFC’s live events. Trifecta will use UFC branding to create custom delivery boxes and to promote national sweepstakes for UFC events.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Philadelphia UnionThe Philadelphia Union signed a marketing agreement with the Franklin Group, which is now the preferred promotional printing partner for the team’s owner, Keystone Sports & Entertainment. The club will work on enhancing the fan experience in new, creative ways. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • MLS partnered with U.K.-based live-streaming service DAZN in a three-year deal to bring MLS Live to DAZN platforms.
  • MLS will be streaming select league games for the first time in China, thanks to a partnership with China Sports Media, a leading sports marketing agency.
  • MLS LIVE and MLS Direct Kick will be back for the 2018 season. Fans in the U.S. will enjoy free access to MLS out-of-market streaming games via MLS LIVE until the launch this spring of ESPN+. Following the spring launch, MLS LIVE will be available to fans exclusively on ESPN+ subscription.

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  • Pepsi™YouTube TV announced a multi-year agreement with the Seattle Sounders, to become the team’s official streaming platform.
  • Pepsi launched soccer campaign titled Pepsi Generations, which features international soccer players that include Leo Messi, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Carli Lloyd, Dele Alli and Giovani dos Santos. Promos will run alongside the brand’s official UEFA Champions League partnership.
  • LaLiga launched LaLiga Esports with the first phase rolling out nationally across Spain before expanding internationally. The league said that the decision was prompted by sponsors interested in investing in the esports sector.
  • Latin American soccer streaming service Fanatiz signed an agreement with MP & Silva to live stream all Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana games carried in the US and Canada.

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

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