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What: Amazon has signed on to its largest ad buy on Univision Deportes, as presenting sponsor of “The Championship Week” soccer events this month.
Why it matters: As the brand continues to exert its marketing force more and more into sport, the Latino audience will become that much more valuable.

There is no secret that engaging the Latino community is going to be key for brand success more in the future than ever before. Tech and digital savvy millennials, as well as families looking to grow consumption, have to be key targets, whether they speak English or Spanish first. Also, if you are looking for an active audience with an affinity for sports, live sports even more so, then look to soccer, baseball and basketball as sports of choice.

Just ask Amazon (@amazon).

As the brand continues to exert its marketing force more and more into sport, the Latino audience will become that much more valuable, and published reports this week show that strategy around sports coming full circle this month.

Amazon’s investment could signal a key shift in spending both for sport and the Latino audience.

According to Terry Lefton of SportsBusiness Journal (@sbjsbd), Amazon’s push to break through the clutter and engage with Latinos during the critical holiday retail season will be through soccer, as they have signed on as presenting sponsor of “The Championships Week” across Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports), a two-week festival of playoff soccer combining Univision’s premier fútbol properties.

It represents Amazon’s largest ad buy on Univision Deportes.

“We’re happy to find an advertiser as important as Amazon finding value in being across all of these top-level soccer games at a very busy time of year,” said Rick Resnick, Univision senior vice president, sales marketing strategy and solutions told Lefton.

“Semana de Campeonatos presentado por Amazon,” running during the first half of December, will include the MLS Cup (@MLSchampionship game next Sunday between Atlanta United (@ATLUTDand the Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC), along with the “two-legged” finals of Liga MX (@LigaMxEngand playoff competition from the UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague). Also in the package are spots during the games, a variety of shoulder programming and studio highlights shows, ranging from “Deportiva,” “Linea de Cuatro,” “Contacto Deportivo,” and “Mision Europa,” which airs from 5-6 p.m. Monday through Friday on the UniMas simulcast on UDN.

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!

“When you look at this package it is a great buy across a wide demo of soccer fans, from those with a passion for MLS to those who look more regionally and globally,” said Chris Lencheski, veteran sports marketer and professor at Columbia University. “While we don’t see Amazon yet buying streaming rights for these properties, they know the growing brand power that fútbol has and they are going right to a targeted and passionate sweet spot. If it’s successful, and there is no reason it won’t be, it could be a turning point for brands who still struggle to engage the Latino fan, be it in English or Spanish.”

While consumer brands like a Modelo (@ModeloUSAor Budweiser (@Budweiseror Goya (@GoyaFoodshave found fútbol a key engagement spot, tech and media brands have yet to make a wide push, preferring conservative spends. Amazon’s investment could signal a key shift in spending both for sport and the Latino audience, one which has been a long time in coming away from mega events like World Cup.

If it’s a win, it’s a trend to watch for 2019 and beyond, and might be the long rumored shift for brands to get more engaged with the demo, one which is clamoring for wide engagement.

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Cover Image: Flickr/Craig Dietrich

What: Boxing has experienced a rebirth of sorts in the American sports landscape, in part driven by Latinos’ continued affinity for the sport.
Why it matters: Brands, not just those most associated with fight sports, are more invested in boxing than ever, evidenced by mainstream marketers’ connection with network bouts and boxing-based TV shows and films.

“People have been saying boxing is dead for years, it’s an easy target. Yet every time there is a big fight where do the eyes and the dollars go? If it were dying, why would media companies and networks now doing streaming like ESPN and the others be spending and showing more? It’s because it is good content, and it’s not going anywhere.”

Those words by the retired undefeated champion, now commentator and entrepreneur, Andre Ward on “The Rich Eisen Show” (@RichEisenShowlast week are ringing truer than an opening round bell these days, as boxing more than any other fight sport, is really taking center stage again.

… [E]veryone likes a good fight, and if the platforms showing boxing can tell stories and build those fighters into larger than life heroes with a following, that’s great news for all.

In recent weeks we have continued to see a flood of big networks, from NBC (@nbcto FOX (@FOXTVto ESPN (@espn), up the ante in the fight game on the content side, both for traditional broadcast on the streaming side. Then you have the massive input of DAZN (@DAZN_USA) and its boxing-first entry into the market which is already leading to other sports rights relevance, along with the ever-present push of Showtime (@ShowtimeBoxing) and any series of both English and Spanish language niche platforms dedicated to both boxing and all sorts of fight sports, and the craze for growth seems pretty solid. The only hiccups are a longstanding boxing stalwart, HBO (@HBO), exiting the fight game at year end, and the real question of who the audience is. Also let’s not forget another nice boost for boxing comes next week with the release of CREED II (@creedmovie), right on the heels of EPIX relaunching “The Contender” (@TheContenderwith a live finale a week ago Friday.

Speaking of CREED II, the film, which had its premiere last week in New York, certainly won’t be lost in the mix to engage both the boxing and Latino audience, and help lift the sport and the brands looking to engage. Nike (@Nikeand ironically Jersey Mike’s (@jerseymikeshave a heavy presence in the film, and the marketing team went into the field to have not just college and professional teams like the New York Knicks (@nyknicksand Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakersand Rams (@RamsNFL) get a first look, they also worked with some elite boxers like the team at Brooklyn Boxing (@Brooklyn_Boxingand rising star and former super middleweight champion Caleb Truax to host screenings with inner-city kids as well.

The Portada Los Angeles Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

“The audience for this film is very wide, but there is no doubt that it will resonate with young Latinos, not just because of the fight scenes and the stars but because of the personal life struggles that the characters go through,” said director Steven Caple Jr. (@stevencapleJR), whose family has Mexican roots as well. “I learned a lot about boxing and the power the sport has in the Latino community today still, and we think this can really help the sport keep growing.”

On the brand side, those looking to engage in the marketplace, be it stalwarts like Modelo (@ModeloUSAand Tecate (@tecateshould get another boost from the resonance of the ring and all the places bouts big and small will be shown on every device in the coming months, but it also represents a lower cost and high impact opportunity for brands to toe dip into the marriage of Latinos and sports, a trip inside that is only matched or sometimes eclipsed by soccer with that audience.

Promising young Latino boxers like Mexicans Alex Saucedo, whose bout against WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker in Oklahoma City was live on ESPN last Friday, and Eduardo Hernandez from Mexico and Mario Barrios from San Antonio among a strong crop of up-and-comers keep interest high in the Hispanic community.

“Boxing’s big fights will always draw a crowd, we know that,” added veteran marketer and Columbia professor Chris Lencheski. “However what we are seeing is great content that plays to every screen and appeals to a very strong niche audience, both younger and older Latinos, that is readily available and very shareable. Maybe we missed that aspect of boxing content and thought it was old school. However one thing is clear, everyone likes a good fight, and if the platforms showing boxing can tell stories and build those fighters into larger than life heroes with a following, that’s great news for all.”

And great news even more importantly, for those involved in the fight game, be it the fictional kind on the big screen or real life on a smaller one streamed to millions.

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Cover Image: Brooklyn Boxing

What: Modelo Especial has become the official import beer of the MLS’s LA Galaxy, strengthening its deep connection in the sport.
Why it matters: Combined with official beer status with the UFC, Constellation Brands has positioned Modelo well within two sports (MMA and soccer) that resonate strongly with Latino fans.

Constellation Brands (@cbrands) has announced it has extended and expanded its partnership with the MLS L.A. Galaxy (@LAGalaxyand StubHub Center, making Modelo Especial (@ModeloUSAthe official import beer of the club and stadium. The multiyear deal also includes building a Modelo-branded area atop the west terrace. Modelo will also be a lead marketing partner of the team, which will include co-branding marketing materials, fan merchandise, consumer promotions and fan engagements.

Previously the Modelo Especial brand was the exclusive import beer sponsor of both the LA Galaxy and their StubHub Center home. Given that the San Diego Chargers are also playing in the StubHub Center these days, is more Modelo in the offing for sports marketing?

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With the expansion of soccer, Modelo can continue to tie to a pair of sports, fight sports and soccer, that are truly aligned with Latino culture in the U.S.

In addition to their soccer spends, which also includes a partnership that runs until 2020 with CONCACAF (@Concacafand their events from the the Gold Cup, the Women’s World Cup Qualifying Championship, Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, the Futsal Championship, the Beach Soccer Championship and club soccer’s CONCACAF Champions League, the brand is now tied closely to the UFC (@ufc).

Modelo became the official beer of the UFC at the start of 2018, replacing Bud Light, which had served in the role since 2008. Its “Fighting Spirit” tagline fits well with the MMA culture, and Modelo’s build out for consumer and athlete partnerships is just beginning. With the expansion of soccer, Modelo can continue to tie to a pair of sports, fight sports and soccer, that are truly aligned with Latino culture in the U.S., and their brand loyalty build should continue to escalate as they expand marketshare.

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!

cover image courtesy LA Galaxy