A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
Real Madrid’s defensive midfielder,Casemiro has become one of HyperX ambassadors. The player will use HyperX products while gaming and be featured in HyperX’s global advertising campaign “We’re All Gamers.”
Banking groupBarclayswill appear as the first title sponsor of English football’s Women’s Super League. According to the BBC, the deal, which will run through 2022, is valued at over $13.2 million and will see the top tier of women’s football in the country be renamed the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
The Italian Football Federation’s (FIGC) formal off-field outfits will now be provided by Italian fashion brand Giorgio Armani, after signing a four-year deal. The deal will see Armani produce formalwear from its Emporio Armani range for the men’s, women’s and Under 21 national teams. “We are proud that Italian excellence like Emporio Armani has decided to link its brand to the Italian national football teams” FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said.
Costa Rica-based gambling company Betcris has signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) to become the official betting site of the Mexican National Soccer Team. “We thank the FMF for allowing us to be part of a select group of sponsors. With this sponsorship, Betcris.mx has established itself as one of the leaders of the sports betting and casino industry in Mexico. We are very proud to be able to support the National Team and, especially, the most passionate and unconditional fans in the world”, stated JD Duarte, Betcris CEO.
Spanish club La Liga has launched its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, becoming the first major European league to have its own OTT. LaLigaSportsTV will be available for free and will not show live La Liga games, but will include other content from Spanish soccer’s top flight such as match highlights and pre and post-match interviews. Fans outside of Spain will also be able to watch matches and competitions on demand once the live broadcast has ended, depending on local rights restrictions.
A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
Paris Saint-Germain saw a decrease in sponsorship revenue during the 2017/18 season. Their latest financial report showed that PSG suffered a €14 million dip in sponsorship revenue from the previous season, falling from €108.1 million to €94.1 million, which represented a 13% drop.
Members of FIFA’s strategic and decision-making body voted for a new improved 24-teamFIFA Club World Cup. The pilot edition will be played in June and July 2021, during the international match calendar slot that corresponded to the FIFA Confederations Cup. In addition, the soccer organization voted for the implementation of the VAR system at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
South American soccer confederation Conmebol has chosen Argentina and Colombia to be provisionally co-hosts of the 2020 Copa America. Both South American countries will first need to meet the technical requirements laid out by Conmebol before they are confirmed as hosts. In a statement, Conmebol said that the 2020 tournament would bring “South American football closer to its fans.”
Santander extended its title sponsorship of La Liga for a further year. The partnership will continue until the end of the 2020/21 campaign. The partnership incorporates La Liga’s other competitions, including its second and third tiers, as well as La Liga Genuine, the league for people with intellectual disabilities, and the LaLiga Promises under 12 leagues. Santander and LaLiga will also continue their ProPlayer initiative, which provides soccer scholarships in the US to youngsters in Spain. “When we joined forces with the world’s best and most innovative bank, we knew that it would really help us with our internationalization efforts,” said La Liga president Javier Tebas.
For the first time, nine countries have expressed an interest to host the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup. Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, a joint Korean bid, New Zealand and South Africa are all officially taking part in the bidding process. The nine submissions mark the longest ever list of member associations at this stage of the process tournament since its inaugural edition in 1991.
Continental Tire will return as the front of jersey sponsor for the North Carolina Courage in 2019. The brand’s logo will be featured on the front of both the home and away jerseys of the reigning NWSL Champions and Shield winners. “We are excited to continue our partnership with North Carolina Football Club in 2019,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire. “This sponsorship strengthens our soccer platform and allows us to support the game of soccer right in our own backyard. We wish both teams the best of luck this year.”
MLShas become the latest league to lock a multi-year partnership withMGM Resorts International, which will become the league’s first official gaming partner. As part of the deal, Roar Digital, a joint venture between MGM and GVC, becomes the exclusive, official sports betting partner of MLS in addition to providing MGM Resorts and Roar access to enhanced MLS data for fans and sports betting customers.
La Liga is looking to sign a new three-year partnership with Puma, as the league’s official ball from next season. According to reports in Spain, the deal will last until the end of the 2012/22 season with Puma reportedly paying close to US$5.6 million to take over from current suppliers, Nike, when the US sportswear brand’s extension expires at the end of the current campaign.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has inked a media rights deal with Twitter for the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol Feminino. The contract affords Twitter exclusive rights to the league phase, as well as the quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the two-legged final possibly also to feature on the platform.
FIFA has announced the full line-up of the 20 participating countries that will participate at the first-everFIFA eNations Cup. London has been chosen as the host city for the event, which serves as one of the major events in the EA Sports FIFA 19 Global Series with 20 national teams from all six confederations (CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, CAF, OFC, AFC, and UEFA) set to take part. The list of countries confirmed are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China PR, Denmark, England (host country), Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands., New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Russia, and the USA.
A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
The Seattle Sounders FC announced a new jersey-front sponsorship deal with online retailer Zulily. In addition to its new relationship with the Rave Green, Zulily is also partnering with National Women’s Soccer League side Seattle Reign FC. This is Sounders FC’s first new kit sponsor since joining the MLS in 2009. “When searching for our next primary kit partner, we approached the process thoughtfully and with considerations beyond merely the front of our jersey,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer.
Mediapro received the Spanish rights for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, from FIFA. The Chinese media giant is planning on launching a dedicated 24/7 television channel to house its extensive coverage of the competition, which will include additional programming, analysis, news, interviews, training sessions, press conferences, and historic matches.
BeIN Sports has secured a four-year media rights deal to Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana club competitions, in the US and Canada through 2022. The matches will be broadcast on English and Spanish channels, as well as BeIN Sports Connect, the broadcaster’s streaming platform. “The new agreement and strong partnership with Conmebol allows us to further cater to our unique audience, evolving our coverage from the best of the weekend to now the best of the week with our robust broadcast commitment for these must-watch tournaments,” said Antonio Briceño, BeIN Sports’ regional deputy managing director.
Austin FChas become MLS’ 27th club, starting its pro season in 2021. The club will become the city’s first team in a major professional sports league, playing in a privately funded US $225 million soccer stadium at McKalla Place.
Univisionhas announced plans to feature a regular time slot for Liga MX Femenil matches on its platforms. The women’s soccer league will be shown on Monday nights during the 2019 Clausura schedule on UDN, which started on Jan. 21.
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. 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!
Lionel Messi has signed a three-year partnership with watchmaker Jacob & Co. Together, the jeweler and Messi have created a limited-edition watch, known as the Epic x Chrono Messi, which is being sold at a retail price of US $28,000 each. Under the terms of the arrangement, Messi will work with the company on other projects in order to produce further limited-edition products.
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Motorola announced today a three-year partnership agreement, naming the Chicago-based mobile communications company the official jersey partner of the Club. “As a proud Chicago-based company, Motorola is thrilled to further our dedication to our hometown by teaming up with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club,” said Rudi Kalil, vice president, and general manager, North America at Motorola. “The Chicago Fire is the latest to join our roster of iconic Chicago sports partnerships. Much like Motorola, the Chicago Fire are forward-looking, agile and driven to win, which made this partnership easy to root for.”
A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
Bayern Munich has reported a record revenue for the 2017/18 financial year. The team made a total of €657.4 million (US$747.9 million), combining both the club’s Bayern Munich AG stock company and the Bayern Munich Group. After taxes, the German champions net income totaled €29.5 million (US$33.6 million). “As well as the sporting success of last season where we won the Bundesliga and reached the latter stages of the Champions League, these results are the evidence that FC Bayern also had a good year on the financial front,” stated Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of Bayern Munich.
Real Madrid locked a deal with China CITIC Bank. As part of the agreement, the two entities will create a China CITIC Bank Real Madrid credit card, which will provide financial services to fans and the chance to win tickets to home games, at the team’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The partnership represents the club’s first of its kind in an Asian country.
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!
Paris Saint-Germain renewed its partnership with American Express. The financial services company will continue to offer its concierge service and to operate the hospitality zones of the Ligue 1 outfit’s Parc des Princes stadium. As an additional part of the agreement, American Express Platinum cardholders can purchase tickets at home games, as well as having the opportunity to attend special club events, including the opportunity to meet the team’s star players.
Mitel has become Liverpool’s official global unified communications partner, through a multi-year partnership. The English team will work closely with the technology company to enhance their fan experience by implementing cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions, enabling supporters to quickly connect with the club through voice calls and online. “We are always looking for ways to enhance the experience that we provide to our supporters,” stated Billy Hogan, managing director, and chief commercial officer at Liverpool.
Paris Saint-Germainannounced the renewal of its sponsorship deal withCoca-Cola until 2021. “We are very proud to be one of the historic partners of Paris Saint-Germain and to renew our commitment to the club. Paris Saint-Germain is France’s favorite club and one of the most popular clubs in the world, something we have in common, always very close to our consumers. We love Paris, its prestigious club and its fans, wherever they come from. This partnership is very important for Coca-Cola, and our strategy of uniting, despite our differences,” said Francois Gay Bellile, President of Coca-Cola France.
The Houston Dynamo announced a new jersey sponsorship deal with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The multi-year agreement will feature cancer-prevention education, community outreach, survivorship celebrations, public service announcements, and philanthropic initiatives. This represents the first season-long cause-related jersey partnership in MLS history.
What: The Canadian Football League and Mexico’s LFA announced a partnership that will encompass player development, marketing and other connections between the leagues. Why it matters: The opportunity to expand its footprint south is a potential growth area for the CFL, in a market the NFL has connected with to some degree but which may be open to the Canadian style of the game.
Is a country that loves fútbol getting closer to more football? The recent relocation issue with the Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) (@VamosRams) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) game from Mexico City back to L.A. due to poor field conditions aside, there is no doubt that American football continues to eye the Latino audience from the grassroots to elite development, as a prime area for brand expansion. Recent stories in media outlets like the New York Times have examined the growth of play among young Latinos at the high school level, and USA Football (@usafootball) has targeted inner-city Latinos as key cultivation points for added focus, as the population continues to shift and the newer immigrant looks to assimilate more to game that may have been foreign upon arrival.
A CFL partnership on firm ground can certainly lift the game, bring more awareness in Mexico, and even add revenue and cultivate talent at the grassroots.
“There are so many possibilities, including possible Spanish language CFL broadcasts in Mexico, a Spanish version of the CFL’s popular Football Frenzy video game and merchandise agreements,” said Ambrosie at this past weekend’s Grey Cup Championship game, adding that the plan would include a CFL scouting combine in Mexico City this winter for LFA players.
“How great would it be if we could send young men from Canada to another country where they can get a world-class experience playing football somewhere and come back to Canada bigger and stronger and ready to be stars in the CFL?” said Ambrosie, who is looking to more global partners to grow the CFL brand, and has targeted Mexico as the natural first step.
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!
For Mexican tourism (@VisitMex) looking to attract Canadian visitors during a season that runs from late summer to mid fall, the move could be a very smart one. Also the CFL has brand partners like Nissan (@nissancanada) and Tim Horton’s (@TimHortons) who could also enjoy the added ROI by adding a Mexican marketing presence and added visibility to fans with an affinity for American—or Canadian—football as well as the potential to expand brand presence to new fans.
Now this isn’t the first time the CFL has looked beyond borders. In the ‘90’s the CFL placed teams in five cities, including Baltimore (in the years between the Colts and the Ravens in that city), Birmingham, Ala., and Memphis to moderate success. Their recent partnership with ESPN has expanded the CFL broadcast window, and a push even further south, Ambrosie believes, could be an even more diverse boon for the league without any thought of expansion.
All of this talk is certainly good news for all aspects of traditional football in a country dominated by fútbol, and will certainly make fans hopefully forget the snafu that the NFL endured last month in Mexico City.
A CFL partnership on firm ground can certainly lift the game, bring more awareness in Mexico, and even add revenue and cultivate talent at the grassroots, something that should score with all, be they Canadian, American or Mexican, all fans of football.
A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.
Due to resistance from UEFA and European clubs, FIFA is putting its plans to launch a Club World Cup and Global Nations League on hold. Now, a cohort will look into tournament options before reporting back to the FIFA Council when they meet in March next year in Miami.
Mediapro’s naming rights to Barcelona’s Nou Camp stadium have been rejected.The €300 million bid seems to have broken down over a demand from the La Liga reigning champions that Mediapro were to withdraw a lawsuit filed against Sandro Rosell, the club’s former president.
Telemundo Deportes will start its of FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 coverage on Dec. 8 with an exclusive, Spanish-language broadcast of the Final Draw on Telemundo and Universo. Andres Cantor will lead the coverage from Paris with Carlota Vizmanos also reporting from the site and Miguel Gurwitz, Ana Jurka, Copan Alvarez, and guests commentators live from Telemundo Center in Miami.
The Canadian soccer team Montreal Impact announced a new long-term agreement with BMO Financial Group, with the team’s jerseys to retain the BMO sponsorship. “We are both excited and feverish to continue what we have already started with BMO,” said Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo in a team statement. “For us, this is a historic deal, because our club can always count on the unconditional support of a prestigious partner for the years to come.” BMO has been a presenting partner with the Impact since 2012.
Fifa is betting on female soccer by doubling the prize money available at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The US$30 million will be split between the 24 teams taking part at next year’s tournament in France. In addition, clubs will receive financial rewards for the participation of their players in the competition for the first time.
The Inter Milan has finally decided to create its first women’s team by acquiring the naming rights to the ASD Femminile Inter Milano soccer club. Through the acquisition, the team will officially take on Inter’s name following a deal approved by new Italian Football Association (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina, who was elected earlier this week. “This is a vital step for the club and one that strengthens an increasingly complete sporting area which has clear plans and a concrete vision for the future,” stated Alessandro Antonello, Inter CEO.
This year’s MLS regular season attendance showedan average decline for the first time in five years. According to SportsBusiness Daily, MLS’s average attendance throughout the 2018 regular season stood at 21,873 – marking a 1.1 percent decrease. Among the declination, factors are Columbus Crew’s potential relocation to Texas, which saw the league’s most drastic decrease in attendance with a 19.4 percent drop compared to 2017.
What: The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) has partnered with Twitter to distribute exclusive content produced by the CBF. Why it matters: As the universe of “broadcasters” expands, the potential audience for team- or league-based content increases, making it more attractive to potential marketing partners.
Team Brazil is the latest huge entity to work with a “new” broadcaster to deliver content, as the soccer power’s national governing body, the Brazilian Football Confederation (@CBF_Futebol), has partnered with Twitter to distribute video of basically everything but the FIFA World Cup 2018 matches: news, training, interviews and more.
Football is a topic of great interest to Twitter users, who already access the platform, naturally, to see and comment on what is happening around the subject.
“The continuous work of approaching the Brazilian national team allows the fans to follow the daily routine of the delegation during the World Cup,” said Rogério Caboclo, executive director of management at the CBF, in a statement. “The partnership with Twitter ensures that this premium content reaches the public in an agile and modern way.”
The content is available through the official CBF Twitter page, with mascot Canarinho as a key figure, with his own emoji and hashtag (#canarinho ). Fans can watch the video features throughout the World Cup.
“Football is a topic of great interest to Twitter users, who already access the platform, naturally, to see and comment on what is happening around the subject,” added Pitter Rodriguez, director of sports content partnerships for Twitter Latin America.
Working with established Internet giants like Twitter, Facebook and Amazon and their inherent marketing muscle is an excellent way for brands, in this case a national governing body, to distribute content that might otherwise only go to its own fandom to a wider audience. The potential for branding is strong, as the “free” video will have a significantly larger potential audience.
What: The Mexican National soccer team “El Tri” will tweet in English at @MiSeleccionMXEN. Why it matters: Liga MX is continuing its push in the U.S., with a reported 40 million fans stateside, and English language social media can grow that further.
The most watched soccer in the United States continues to be not Major League Soccer (@MLS) or the Premier League (@premierleague) or Bundesliga (@Bundesliga_EN), but Liga MX (@ligabancomermx). It’s high quality of play and rabid following not just by fans of Mexican clubs but by hardcore soccer fans and casual observers as well, has given Mexico a very unique place in the history of North American sport and in the U.S., a market that remains one of the two fastest growing in the world, Liga MX has been a hit for partners and clubs alike.
Now with the FIFA World Cup coming and the United States on the outside looking in for the event this summer, the Mexican national team could be in for another big run not just on the pitch but in their brand building as well. Delta, Nissan, AT&T and All State are just some of the mainstream brands who see the multicultural branding opportunities not just for World Cup partnerships but also for all the lead up to the games.
The English language channels will help push the branding opportunities not just for the team, but also for Soccer United Marketing who has been representing the team for 16 years.
One issue has been the lack of English language social channels to market the club to a mixed audience, a step many of the world’s elite clubs have taken and have made a key part of brand engagement. Now El Tri will take that step as well, once which will be a boon to U.S. multicultural growth as we head toward Russia.
As of late last week, Mexico now will tweet in English at @MiSeleccionMXEN and post on Facebook as “Mexico’s national team” with the same tag as the Twitter handle.
“Well, basically there are more than 40 million fans of the Mexican national team in the United States. We practically have two territories — Mexico and the United States — because of the amount of fans we have in both countries,” Guillermo Cantu, the general secretary of the Mexican federation, said at a news conference last Thursday. “We could call it our second home.”
The English language channels will help push the branding opportunities for the team and for Soccer United Marketing, who has been representing the team for 16 years. The team will be able to maximize that exposure and push their English language channels when they play Wales in a World Cup tune up on May 28 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, El Tri returns home to Mexico City for a send-off match match against Scotland on June 2 in the Estadio Azteca before playing at Denmark on June 9. They open play against Germany on June 17.
What: The NFL has increased its work engaging the Latino community through various efforts including games in Mexico City and the new Hispanic Leadership Alliance. Why it matters: The power of the Latino dollar and influence over brands is ever-increasing, and programs like this reinforce their desire to connect.
Earlier this year the NFL announced an expansion of its efforts to better engage the Latino audience in Mexico, which included more grassroots efforts and the extension of their series of regular season games in Mexico City. For brands looking to take the power of the NFL and marry it with the growing and engaged fans, not just in Mexico but Latino fans in the U.S., the effort makes great sense as the league finds ways to grow its massive following.
This past week the league announced another extension of that effort, bringing on Nationwide Insurance to launch the Hispanic Leaders Alliance, in conjunction with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. The program will expand the relationship between the NFL and HHF, which has existed since 2011, through webinars, community events and other efforts to better position the league with a community they have been steadily growing. Nationwide’s involvement will give the program a much-needed corporate boost as well, providing a longtime NFL partner with a bigger avenue into the growing Latino market and expanding a leadership position in the community.
One of those key growth areas remains the Latino community, and the great success the league enjoyed this past season in Mexico will be expanded by efforts like this one and others to come.
“The launch of the Hispanic Leaders Alliance signifies a continued commitment by the NFL, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Nationwide to connect with and serve Latino communities across the country,” said Dawn Hudson, NFL Chief Marketing Officer this past week. “We are excited to connect with this network of leaders on a year-round basis and continue to impact the local communities of our 32 teams.”
A key part of the existing program has been acknowledging leaders during Hispanic Heritage Month, with more than 200 Hispanic leaders from across the country already recognized and more than $400,000 granted to non-profit organizations. The efforts will now focus in every market, as well as with the NFL’s Latino community outreach which can bolster its efforts south of the border as well.
“Nationwide is honored to partner with the NFL and Hispanic Heritage Foundation to support this newly formed Hispanic Leaders Alliance,” added Mike Boyd, Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Nationwide. “Our sponsorship along with the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Awards align with Nationwide’s goal of partnering with organizations that share our values of improving the lives of others and giving back to their communities.”
With Super Bowl week here, the NFL will look to wrap up what has been a tumultuous season and continue its push to marry brands that they have gotten great benefit from to their dedicated extended community programs. These programs will be great currency for the league as it continues to reshape its public persona and grow from the many positive efforts its players and teams are doing in the community. One of those key growth areas remains the Latino community, and the great success the league enjoyed this past season in Mexico will be expanded by efforts like this one and others to come.
The power of the Latino dollar and influence over brands has never been stronger, so marrying Nationwide to this program is a great sign of the future and sets a nice benchmark for future work.
What: We talked to Chris Thomas, Director of Digital Media & Marketing for LA Galaxy, about the team’s expansion plans and marketing strategy. He revealed that the team’s main marketing goal is to stay strong and relevant at the local level. Why it matters: Since its founding in 1996, LA Galaxy has remained the team with the most MLS wins, making it a role model for new teams planning to join the league.
A 2015 Facebook study found that LA Galaxy has the largest number of fans of any MLS team within the U.S. and Canada. According to Chris Thomas, Director of Digital Media & Marketing for LA Galaxy, this may be due to the fact that it is one of the MLS’s first teams and has had more wins than any other team since the league’s inception.
However, its strong position at the national level does not mean that the team can relax when it comes to connecting with local fans.
When we asked Thomas about his strategy for growing the team outside the U.S., his response was clear and compelling: “We do not focus on becoming international—we want to be important locally.”
As an example, he cited teams like Bayern Munich, which have managed to get stronger thanks to their commitment to and relationship with local fans. “The team represents its roots, and that is what needs to be strengthened and maximized before looking beyond its borders,” he said.
We do not focus on becoming international—we want to be important locally.
How are they doing it? The key word is content.
In the last three to four years, the marketing team has focused heavily on digital efforts by creating premium content aimed at their diverse fan base. Thomas did not disclose what percentage of his budget is invested in digital, but he did admit to it being a fairly high amount.
Since the team’s audience is very diverse, the content needs to be varied as well. “We have to be very diverse,” explained Thomas, adding that they do not dwell too much on defining each demographic element of the team’s followers.
They know that their fans are multicultural, that many are young, but also that some of them are older and local, just like the Los Angeles community. “[Our fan base] is representative of LA. You cannot really define it. [That is why] we do not get wrapped up in that,” he explained.
When it comes to generating varied and versatile content, the team’s best allies are its sponsors, or rather, its partners. For example, in partnership with Chevrolet, the team launches its Monthly Mixtape, a video of the best highlights of each month, accompanied by popular current songs.
[Our fan base] is representative of LA. You cannot really define it. [That is why] we do not get wrapped up in that.
This type of content appeals mostly to young fans, who are involved with music and trends. At the same time, they also publish longer articles, such as the profile of new coach Sigi Schmid, which are more widely read by the team’s older fans.
That is why, when the team accepts a new sponsor, it looks at brands that “want to work around our story,” Thomas said.
Currently, LA Galaxy has 46 sponsors, making it the team with one of the largest number of sponsorships in the league, including names like Adidas, Chevrolet, Allstate, Herbalife Nutrition, American Express, Corona Extra, Dannon, and Uber. Even this mix of brands shows a balance between innovative and more traditional companies.
Competing against other sports does not really worry Thomas even though the Galaxy have a new rival in a new stadium, LAFC, coming now as well and the ever-present interest in Liga MX. “We compete against everything: a concert, the beach, the weather. Those are our greatest competitors,” he declared. Nor does he feel threatened by the new teams that will be joining the MLS. By 2022, the league plans to increase its total number of teams from 22 to 28. Thomas thinks it will be exciting to have new opponents to compete against, both on and off the field, in the quest to win fans.
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.
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.
What: Portada asked sports marketing experts from Brown Forman, Scouts Sports and Entertainment, Global W Mexico and AC&M Group how a 2026 Soccer World Cup played in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico may impact soccer marketing. Why it matters: On April 10th U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and the leaders of the Mexican and Canadian soccer federations announced a public bid to co-host to 2026 World Cup.
Last week U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, Mexican federation president Decio de María, and Canadian federation president Victor Montagliani, officially presented a public bid to become co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup.
According to their bid, the U.S. will be the “senior partner” of the 2026 World Cup, hosting 60 games out of 80. Canada and Mexico will each host 10 games. If the joint bid is successful this will be the first time the World Cup will be played in three different countries. Additionally, the 2026 world championship wll have 48 participating teams, instead of the 32 that will play in Russia 2018.
Portada asked four leading sports marketers what a 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico means for sports marketing in these countries.
Michael Neuman, EVP and Managing Partner at Scout Sports and Entertainment
“The potential decision to allow three countries to jointly host the 2026 World Cup is nirvana for soccer fans and sponsors alike. FIFA World Cup partners with global IP rights will now dig deeper into their pockets to activate on-site for fans in the three countries, a first in World Cup history. I expect that the anticipation of hosting a World Cup would spur significant incremental activation from brands that sponsor national teams but don’t have World Cup rights.”
FIFA World Cup partners with global IP rights, will now dig deeper into their pockets to activate on-site for fans in the three countries, a first in World Cup history.
Ed Carias, Sr. Brand Manager at el Jimador Tequila, North American Region, Brown-Forman
“If you are a global brand and you already have soccer as one of your global platforms then a three country Wold Cup may be easier to activate because you can try and emulate what the country will look like during the World Cup. For certain sponsors, there may be some challenges because there might be a platform that you only use in Mexico but not in the other countries and you have to look at the nuances. In Mexico, for example, we are very limited in terms of alcohol brand sponsorships in any kind of sports. There are going to be matches that will be played in Mexico, where we don’t have the ability, necessarily, to activate, given the local rules. There is an added complexity because of the fact that the World Cup may be played in three countries. We need to figure this out in the next few years.”
In Mexico we are very limited in terms of alcohol brand sponsorships in any kind of sports.
Francisco de Dios Gómez, VP of Sports Marketing at Global W Mexico
“A World Cup is always good news, especially when it gets played in your country or region. A joint bid between three countries is a great accomplishment for the sports marketing industry. It reflects a region that is globalizing, and that understands each of the countries’ economies. Brands that are sponsoring a national soccer team in these countries, will be even luckier and have a higher marketing potential. A World Cup gives you a huge exposure, and having it take place in three countries makes it even bigger. Local, regional and global brands will be able to implement strategies, as they have never done before.”
Local, regional and global brands will be able to implement strategies as they have never done before.
Vicente Navarro, Vice-President of Product Development at marketing agency AC&M Group
“It is definitely a very exciting announcement. However, the real work in terms of planning and building opportunities for clients does not start until the World Cup is awarded in May 2020. There is a good chance that it will come to North America, but until it becomes official, clients usually do not spend a lot of resources on it. The announcement is likely to increase interest in brands in sponsoring the three national soccer federations and will probably help them to retain current sponsors and add new brands that will want to jump on the opportunity.”
There is a good chance that the World Cup will come to North America, but until it becomes official, clients usually do not spend a lot of resources on it.
What: Michael Neuman, theEVP and Managing Partner at Scout Sports and Entertainment and a member of our new Sports Marketing Board, speaks to Portada about the MLS’s efforts to turn soccer into a major sport in the US. Why It Matters: Football, basketball, hockey and baseball are historically the most followed sports in the U.S. But there is opportunity for soccer to gain terrain and draw investment from today’s biggest advertisers.
Four sports have traditionally dominated American sports: football, basketball, baseball and hockey. “There are two main reasons that put them there; their ability to aggregate big audiences, live, and their sophistication to collaborate with brands and their agency partners to build fully sponsoring offers and packages,” explains Michael Neuman, the EVP and managing partner at the specialized marketing agency Scout Sports and Entertainment, which is Horizon Media’s Sports and Entertainment division.
But soccer is catching up. “If anyone [in sports marketing] is overlooking soccer, they are making a huge mistake,” says Neuman.
“You have to remember that the MLS is still a very young brand,” he said. Established only 23 years ago in December 1993, it is far behind the main American sports in terms of the maturity of their professional leagues. The NFL is 96 years-old, the MLB 114, and NBA 70. “It still has many years to go to catch up with where the other sports are,” the member of Portada’s sports marketing board adds.
We’re still in the first generation of the MLS.
As passion for sports teams is often passed down through generations, this means that “we’re still in the first generation of MLS,” says Neuman.
But while the MLS is young, it is as sophisticated as any other league in terms of marketing. “They do a great job offering brands with many touch points with many different assets,” Neuman notes.
If there is any doubt on this, you just need to take a look at the list of the league’s official sponsors, which includes Adidas, Audi, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Heineken, Tag Heuer, The Home Depot, Etihad Airways, and more.
Tough Competition from International Leagues
On top of competing with other sports, the MLS must compete with other worldwide renowned soccer leagues. “There is also great soccer being played around the world, and so soccer fans are watching games from Germany, Spain, the Premier League, the Mexican League…,” explained Neuman.
This particular challenge is not shared with other American sports whose leagues are not eclipsed in size and popularity by their global counterparts.
The MLS is just one part of a larger soccer offering that comes from a global environment.
“There is less of a desire to satisfy the need for football content or baseball content outside of the US, where the MLS is just one part of a larger soccer offering that comes from a global environment,” Neuman adds.
For sports marketers, soccer represents a great opportunity to reach both US-natives and the Hispanic market. “It is the type of platform that can really reach both, the general market consumer and the Hispanic consumer, more so than the other professional leagues that we have been talking about,” Neuman asserts.
But, to succeed in their soccer marketing strategies, Neuman believes that marketers must have knowledge of both the multicultural and the sports market. There is a need for more multicultural sports marketing executives in the US.
“The days of having a sports marketer building a multicultural sports strategy without a multicultural influence are over you can’t pull that off,” explains Neuman.
The soccer platform is as vibrant today as it has ever been and it’s only going to get bigger and better.
Neuman sums it up: “the soccer platform is as vibrant today as it has ever been and it’s only going to get bigger and better, and the audiences are going to continue to grow.”
What? David Rosa, head of business intelligence at FC Valencia, speaks about the club’s biggest mistakes, and the lessons that he learned when getting the team back on its feet. Why does it matter? After finishing as the best club in the world in 2004, FC Valencia is losing millions of euros a year because of a combination of bad decisions. Today, the club holds the 16th place in its league, and plans to act on the lessons its learned.
15 years ago, Valencia Football Club was one of the greatest Spanish clubs. While not at the same level as Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, the quality of its game was on an equal level. In 2004 the club was named the best in the world according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. This was the last year that the club won a title.
A combination of bad decisions and an economic crisis took FC Barcelona to the 16th position in the Spanish league. During the Sports Innovation Summit 2016, held in Mexico City on March 2nd and 3rd, David Rosa, head of business intelligence at FC Barcelona, spoke to us about the biggest mistakes that the club has made, and how it will learn from them.
“In the last ten years, we’ve lost a social mass of 12,000 subscribers and more than 10 million euros that came directly from them.”
“We have started to gain back our followers, but we are very far from fixing the economic situation that we were in. Today, we have an average of six or seven thousand subscribers that have season tickets, but don’t come to half of the games.”
“We have 39,000 subscribers and our stadium has a capacity for 50,000, which does’t sound that bad. But in reality, those 39,000 give us 12 million euros in revenue. The key is that in good times, when we had a waiting list, people paid 470 euros a seat, and we’ve come to a limit of 303 euros per seat. We lost subscribers, but we also reduced prices.”
LESSON 1: Know Your Clients
“We had a mistaken idea that if we lowered prices, more people would subscribe. But it didn’t occur to us that we should inform ourselves about them, and understand their problem s and why they weren’t renovating. That was one of our big mistakes. I found that three years ago.
We need to manage our principal clientele well – the subscribers or people who buy tickets – and integrate them into our business decisions.”
LESSON 2: Have a Method
“It’s important to have a work method in place, because without it, ideas come and go, but aren’t correctly implemented. Some will triumph by accident, and others will be lost along the way. It’s important to see it as a legacy that we leave for those that come after us. If you don’t leave a structure in place, you aren’t leaving them tools to work and advance with.”
LESSON 3: Adapt
‘We planned on inaugurating our stadium in season 19-20. Before, we have to consider that construction on it began more than 10 years ago, and we had to stop the operation because we couldn’t pay for it. Now that we want to restart the project, the problem is that the project is 14 years old, and it’s completely obsolete. We have to make use of what has already been built, which is the bleachers, and create a sustainable and viable model according to the club’s technological expectations today.”
LESSON 4: Segment Useful Information
“We had enormous sources for data, video games, a ticketing system, stadium consumption, digital platforms, etc. The problem is that we haven’t discovered which data will help us grow revenue. Converting our followers into euros. Data from two years ago is obsolete. Data changes so rapidly, and in such a large volume, that knowing what to do with it is a big problem. Much of the information that we manage doesn’t allow us to maximize our returns.”
“We have to manage the information, because information is valuable. But we must manage it smartly, and not just collect data to collect it.”
LESSON 5: Have a Transversal Data Strategy
“Defining indicators that we use (data and KPI) must be transversal in all of the company, not only on the marketing level. If finance or operations doesn’t believe in our KPIs, we can’t do anything, because I‘m not going to convince them to give me money to invest in them. As the marketing department, I am the one that brings the most money in, but I am also the one that spends it the most – after the sports area, of course.”
LESSON 6: Get the Rights
“Databases are useless if the user doesn’t give you permission to use them for commercial motives, according to the Organic Data Protection Law in Spain. We have more than three million registries in databases, but we only have access to 62,000 people. My commercial capability is defined by that.”
What: Gol TV, a cable and satellite network that broadcast soccer programming is looking to expand in Latin American markets. Why it matters: The company has incorporated three marketing specialists to its team to support its´ growth plan.
Gol TV has added new talents to reorganize its marketing team for Latin America. The firm has specifically reinforced its´ soccer programming, which will have a regional presence through a signal available in all markets.
Under Dirrocco Omar´s guidance, who has over 30 years of experience in management positions, the following have joined the team:
Claudio Baglietto as Manager of Affiliate Sales
Pablo Vargas as Marketing Manager
Pedro Miguel as administration manager for Gol TV LatAm
“As an advisor to the Board of Gol TV, with responsibility for the development of its´business, to be able to be part of this newly created team with such recognized executives that are committed to boost Gol TV business , is truly a unique opportunity ,” Dirroco said.
Gol TV broadcasts over 50 monthly matches and follows closely all football latest news through its two daily news editions.
Among the main transmission rights it handles are:
The Coppa Italia
Copa do Brazil (Brazilan Cup)
The Uruguayan Football League
The Swiss Super League
Milan, Arsenal, Liverpool and Benfica Official channels among other
Nelson “El Tano” Gutierrez, president and CEO of Gol TV Latin America, said on the integration of the new business team created to meet the growing customer base and market:
We are proud we could launch this project over 10 years ago, landing successfully in USA as a 100% latin soccer signal, and to continue our expansion to the south; Today our development challenge us to continue crossing borders and strengthen relationships with our customers.
“Based on the knowledge and belief of the public interest in football our audiences have, is that we face with lots of expectations a new phase reorganizing our sales team.”