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What: Puerto Rican Football Federation has signed former Honduran star Amado Guevara to rebuild the soccer program.
Why it matters: The soccer program is attempting to gain international success as the island rebuilds from the damage left behind by Hurricane Maria.

As a former captain of the Honduran national soccer team (@FenafuthOrg), Amado Guevara (@AmadoGuevara20) has taken on many challenges throughout his soccer career, including leading the team to a 2010 World Cup appearance.

But none of those obstacles are as great as the one he is currently battling in the Caribbean. As the new head coach of the Puerto Rican national team (@FutbolPR), Guevara has an immense task ahead of him.

Forget the fact that the commonwealth island has never had the talent to participate in a FIFA World Cup or CONCACAF Gold Cup. Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastation left behind Hurricane Maria.

Amado Guevara, the former Honduran national team captain who previously played with Toronto FC, was signed in July by the Puerto Rican Football Federation to coach the men’s soccer team.

Despite claims of great success in rebuilding the island, by the Trump Administration, Puerto Rico’s recovery has been slow and inconsistent. Hurricane Maria left behind $90 million worth of damage, according to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, while a George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (@GWpublichealth) study estimates that almost 3000 people died as a result of the natural disaster.

“We are happy, first for the work that has been done, and for the invitation that they made to be part of this project, but above all the idea is to work, work and work,” said Guevara to Honduran publication El Nuevo Dia (@ElNuevoDia). “That is the philosophy. Try to reach the objectives that we want to achieve. The first one we have set is the Nations Cup.”

The CONCACAF (@Concacaf) Nations Cup is the inaugural tournament used as qualifiers for the newly expanded CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Puerto Rico has been grouped with Saint Kitts and Nevis (@SKNFA_), Martinique (@LFM972_officiel), Belize (@bzefootballfed) and Grenada (@GrenadaFootball).

“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Guevara of the tournament. “The only way to get better is to play competitive matches and now players from all nations can develop more and grow as footballers.”

Guevara has had a rough start to his coaching career. Puerto Rico lost to Saint Kitts and Nevis 1-0 on the road, in September. The squad followed that up with a 1-0 loss to Martinique, in an emotional home match for the Puerto Rican national team, who were making their return to Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel.

Estadio Juan Ramón Loubriel, a baseball stadium converted into a soccer-specific venue, is the home field of the national team that was battered by Hurricane Maria. The Puerto Rican Football Federation charged fans free admission for the October match against Martinique for their team’s first home game since their 2017 Caribbean Cup Third Round qualifier against Curaçao (@FutbolCuracao).

“He lost his debut as the Puerto Rico coach versus Martinique but just the fact that a guy like him wanted to be there is pretty important for that team,” said ESPN Mexico correspondent Tony Alvarez (@Tonyar27).

Though beisbol may be king on La Isla del Encanto, Puerto Rico does have 76 years of soccer history. Not great history, but history nonetheless. Since playing their inaugural 1-1 draw against Cuba, in 1940, Puerto Rico spent the next 30 years winless, until a 3-0 victory over the Bahamas, in 1979.

The Portada Brand-Sports 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 program failed to build on that success, winning sporadically against teams such teams as the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Martinique before going through a 17-year winless drought between 1995 through 2007.

Eric Labrador, president of the Puerto Rican Football Federation, sees the signing of Guevara as a key component in kickstarting the soccer program to a different level.

“It’s very important because this is going to change the way we do soccer in Puerto Rico,” said Labrador to Honduran newspaper El Nuevo Dia.

Guevara does bring some bench experience to the Puerto Rican locker room, having worked with Jorge Luis Pinto as part of the coaching staff of the Honduran national team that fell a game short of qualifying into the 2018 World Cup.

He lost his debut as the Puerto Rico coach versus Martinique but just the fact that a guy like him wanted to be there is pretty important for that team

“Amado feels like he has learned a lot from Jorge Luis Pinto and that he’s ready for the challenge,” said José A. Rodríguez (@Jarm21), editor-in-chief for Deporte Total USA. “He is very well prepared and it’s now time to go on and prove that he can lead a team as a coach like he did for many years as a player. The positive side of things is basically that he is working without any pressure but his own.”

Despite being a rookie coach, Puerto Rican Football Federation officials are hoping that Guevara’s vast experience as captain of the Honduran national team, as well as his stints with Major League Soccer‘s (@MLS) New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls), Toronto FC (@torontofc) and the defunct Chivas USA, as well as Honduran powerhouse Club Motagua (@MOTAGUAcom), can change the culture of the entire program.

“He can implement that knowledge he acquired during his playing days and try to create a good and successful system for his coaching career, starting with a small group of guys that dedicate themselves to others things but that can build a foundation for his own success come the near future,” said Alvarez.

While Guevara is excited about the challenges currently in front of him, he has made no secret he is interested in someday coaching the Honduran national team. Guevara is hoping that a successful stint in Puerto Rico may help him land the Honduran coaching job, down the road.

“Considering that he’s aiming to be the coach of his home country Honduras, even though it is a difficult situation going on in the island so far, you can say that anything good that he can do will be well seen by the people in the [Honduran] office,” said Alvarez. “If you see the big picture, he doesn’t have many resources to be successful, therefore if he can make them go the Gold Cup and get some wins in friendly matches, it’s ok. And if he can’t, nobody will say anything bad about his job because he has not much to work with.”

For his part, while Guevara dreams of coaching Los Catrachos, Puerto Rico’s coach is fully focused on his new career and the task at hand of changing the culture of the island’s soccer program.

“You have to manage more things,” said Guevara. “As a player, you only worry about playing. Coaching is different, but it is everything that I expected and I’m enjoying it.”

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What: Puerto Rico’s Alex Cora, the Boston Red Sox’s first minority manager in their nearly 120-year history, has emerged as a brand to be recognized and embraced in The Hub.
Why it matters: The team’s fourth World Series title since 2004 and nearly universal praise for his managing raises Cora’s profile even higher, making him an even more attractive entity for brands.

Many times in the transient world of sports, the “face” of the franchise can become diluted. Players come and go, owners like to seize the stage, even logos and mascots can move in and out. However for the successful franchises, the head coach, or in the case of baseball, the manager, can be that rock that connects generations, fans, brands, and media. It’s not an easy choice and often that face prefers to stick to the business of sport, but for the right mix in the right market, that skipper can pay great dividends.

Such is the case in Boston, a city that has seen its share of bright and sometimes reluctant leaders on the field in recent years. Brad Stevens has become a quiet guiding and impactful force for the Boston Celtics (@celtics), while Bill Belichick is a successful albeit reticent frontman for the ultra-successful Patriots (@Patriots). Then you have the 2018 World Series Champion Red Sox (@RedSox) and Alex Cora.

His community awareness, media savvy, social activism…and baseball success can make Alex Cora a really interesting face of baseball reaching its core, Latino consumers both in English and Spanish.
Tab Bamford

As Boston closed out its record-setting year in MLB (108 regular season wins, victories over two 100-win teams in the playoffs and a five-game World Series win over the Dodgers), Cora, just the second Latino manager to bring home a World Series title, has steadily emerged as a brand to be noticed and embraced, especially for a baseball audience around the country that has a solid Latino base and is craving vibrant leaders. What makes Cora even more interesting is his relatively young age and his passion for cause marketing, especially when it comes to his native Puerto Rico, where he has been a driving and vocal force in the efforts still going on around Hurricane Maria’s cleanup. Cora is also the first minority manager in the storied history of the Red Sox, a team which has had its share of Latino stars and is poised to build on that legacy even more.

“Cora is one of the youngest managers in MLB (@MLB) (just turned 43 on Oct. 18 – the Red Sox won twice on his birthday thanks to an after-midnight ET finish). Any time a manager leads a team to the best record in MLB, much less a championship, there’s value in association. In a major market like Boston, Chicago, New York, etc. there’s even more regional/national value (see Joe Maddon in Chicago),” said Tab Bamford (@The1Tab), Managing Director at La Vida Baseball (). “What makes Cora a unique individual for brands is not only his age, but he’s a hybrid of the old school and new school. He’s incredibly eloquent in both languages, is socially active and – most importantly in my opinion – he’s sharp, frank and open with the media; he doesn’t simply provide the cliché sound bites that we all learned from Bull Durham.”

The Portada Brand-Sports 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.

(YouTube/NESN)

That combination can make the Red Sox skipper prime for multicultural brands looking for an even bigger play not just in New England, but throughout the country. His community awareness, media savvy, social activism…and baseball success can make Alex Cora a really interesting face of baseball reaching its core, Latino consumers both in English and Spanish language, for years to come as his career plays out on the bench and in the marketplace.

What type of brands would make sense? Just look around The Hub to see the deep devotion to Red Sox nation. Financial services companies like John Hancock (@johnhancockusa), consumer brands like Dunkin (@dunkindonuts), even tech companies like Raytheon (@Raytheonand others love being around all things Boston sports, and Cora has a great message and a great storyline that can also be multigenerational because of his style, and his age. Also, don’t discount his community involvement as a unique intangible for helping baseball reach a younger demo; when you tie cause to something, millennials notice more, and given that his work has been tied to Puerto Rico, you also pull in a younger Latino audience that can make great sense.

Is it easy to do? No. Do players hitting homers or shooting threes make for a sexier sell? Sometimes. However as a young, engaged and multicultural face, Alex Cora is certainly an intriguing one to watch, not just this fall but for years to come.

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What: The Puerto Rico Little League team made some waves out of the Caribbean region, continuing the sport’s legacy on the island.
Why it matters: Through the dollars brands can spend through cause marketing, dollars which done right, can be amplified well beyond a traditional marketplace.

Last weekend the birthday of one of Puerto Rico’s most revered figures, Roberto Clemente, was celebrated across Latin America. This week his lasting legacy has provided its latest example of the vibrancy of baseball in his native country, as the Radames Lopez Little League team, representing Guayama, continued its positive play as the surprising Caribbean entrant in the Little League World Series (@LittleLeague).

Now it’s not that unusual for Puerto Rico to break through to Williamsport; what is unusual is the storytelling that went on as this team, post Hurricane Maria, often trying to assemble with little supplies or even electricity, several of whom had lost their homes and gone without some essential supplies for months, made it undefeated through its regional and on to the grandest brand stage, not just Williamsport but ESPN (@espnas well.

These kids from Puerto Rico have an amazing story and have succeeded in cutting through the clutter with the eyes of the baseball world on them.

The team, many members with their hair dyed blonde like the stars of last year’s World Baseball Classic Puerto Rico team, have quickly become a shining light on how the power of sport can inspire and engage those casual fans who may think the issues from the massive storms last year are a distant and completed memory.

Yes, it’s a feel-good story, but how does that translate into business? Through the dollars brands can spend through cause marketing, dollars which done right, can be amplified well beyond a traditional marketplace. We have seen the scores of brands that have sought to activate through the platforms of ESPN during the Little League World Series, and while many watching across the country may be casual fans tuning in to watch some elite kids, tying some of those brands to cause, one which is still playing out throughout the Island Nation with some fresh goodwill ambassadors now telling their stories, is a great opportunity.

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Harrie Bakst

While we may think of companies looking to jump on the bandwagon and the buzz, especially traditional baseball brands like Nike (@Nikeor Franklin (@FranklinSportsor Under Armour (@UnderArmour), the ability for cause-related brands to amplify their message surrounding these young, telegenic faces and stories can go much wider. Telecommunications companies like Verizon, who have both big philanthropic and sports marketing budgets, can find a great tie to help continue to give back to the efforts in Puerto Rico by leveraging the cause celebre among the islands newest stars, so long as the mix is one of aid and assistance.

“We see brands all the time tied to causes that are ongoing, and they are able to leverage and inflection point to drive awareness and dollars when the spotlight is turned on,” said Harrie Bakst co-founder of WCPG (@wcpgco), a company whose mission is to pair brands, athletes and causes together for a great collective spend. “These kids from Puerto Rico have an amazing story and have succeeded in cutting through the clutter with the eyes of the baseball world on them, even if they advance no further. If there are savvy brands who see Puerto Rico as a key market, and now better understand the efforts there are not yet complete, the time would be right to work with their group. It could be a win well beyond some games in Williamsport for all.”

An effort Clemente would be proud of, in the land he loved and in the game that delivered so much for him, now with a new generation taking the next step.

What: Roberto Rodriguez of Guaynabo became the first Puerto Rican player to win an AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour event on Sunday at the San Francisco Open.
Why it matters: Rodriguez’s title can be the spark to reinvigorate beach volleyball in Puerto Rico, where the indoor game has reigned supreme for years, as it would be an ideal location for players and partners.

Roberto Rodriguez (L) and Ed Ratledge after winning the AVP San Francisco Open (credit: Mpu Dinani)

When Roberto “Rafú” Rodriguez teamed with veteran Ed Ratledge to win last weekend’s AVP San Francisco Open beach volleyball tournament at the scenic foot of the Bay Bridge, it wasn’t just his (and Ratledge’s) first AVP Tour (@avpbeachwin. It was the first for a native of Puerto Rico on the tour, which might seem odd for a region that has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

While the beach game has enjoyed immense popularity in Brazil and has achieved a modicum of success in some other Latin American regions, it’s the indoor game that has thrived in Puerto Rico. It’s something that the Guaynabo native hopes can change, with his win on Sunday an early catalyst.

Especially for the younger kids coming up, they can see a guy that they play with, they can do it if they work hard.

“I think it sets an example,” said Rodriguez following his and Ratledge’s 21-15, 21-18 triumph over No. 5 seeded Chase Budinger, a former NBA player, and two-time Olympian Sean Rosenthal. “Anybody can outwork someone and accomplish whatever they want. Especially for the younger kids coming up, they can see a guy that they play with, they can do it if they work hard.”

“Rafú is one of the most kind-hearted people I know,” said Ratledge, who won for the first time in 18 years and 145 previous AVP Tour events. “If you are going to spend as much time around a volleyball partner as you do, you want someone who is that way.”

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Roberto Rodriguez (credit Robert Beck)

But the road is a challenging one. AVP Tour records note that there have been 30 other players in tour history who have hailed from the U.S. territory, notably Raul Papaleo, who competed in 55 events between 1994 an 2006, Jonathan Acosta, a UCLA star who played 40 tournaments in the 2000s and Joaquin Acosta, who played in 22 a decade ago, with a best finish of 7th.

And while the climate, beaches and tourism of Puerto Rico might seem to lead to hosting events there, there hasn’t been a strong push at least by the AVP, with the 1994 “Isla Verde” tournament the only one sanctioned by the main U.S. tour, though the WPVA, the main women’s tour in the 1990s, NORCECA (@NorcecaInfo), a tour which holds events in North, Central America and the Caribbean, have held a few there.

“A lot of young kids are playing there now, but there is no adult national team per se,” added Rodriguez, who lives and trains in Southern California but whose family is mostly in Guaynabo and visits him often. “But there are a lot of good players and good talent coming up.”

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Rodriguez was the first Puerto Rican to reach even an AVP Tour semifinal, and the win was especially satisfying as the tandem won five straight matches at The Embarcadero-Pier 30/32 in just their third event together.

What can this mean for the future of the sport in Puerto Rico? The AVP Tour now has eight solid events on it annual calendar, and not just in the traditional hotbeds of the sport. New York, Chicago, Austin and Seattle are among the other stops, and by holding successful, sponsor-driven tournaments—with free general admission and limited “club” and premium sold seating, most of the revenue comes from sponsors—in such regions, the Tour has shown a willingness to schedule outside of the sport’s comfort zone. If larger partners like Wilson (@WilsonSportingG), Nissan )@NissanUSAand Amazon (which broadcasts the majority of the matches via Prime) as well as highly targeted sponsors like KT Tape (@KTTape), Hydro Flask (@HydroFlask), powercrunch (@PowerCrunchBar) and others can translate in large mainland cities, perhaps the formula can work on the island as well.

Maybe Puerto Rico, once it is more recovered from last year’s devastating hurricane, can be a viable option moving forward. In any case, it has its first champion on the sand, and maybe a champion for its cause.

Cover Image: Robert Beck

What: The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians battle in a two-game series at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium in this week’s Puerto Rico Series.
Why it matters: Talk of MLB’s first expansion since 1998 has been growing, and a strong showing this week can put Puerto Rico in the mix, which would be a huge boon to Puerto Rican companies and other international marketers.

In 2003 and 2004, Puerto Rico got its first extended taste of Major League Baseball on the island when the Montreal Expos, playing out their final seasons before moving to Washington, D.C., called Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan for 22 of their home games. Though efforts to make the city the permanent home for the troubled franchise didn’t prove fruitful, MLB has returned intermittently to the venerable 55-year-old facility, hosting World Baseball Classic games in 2006, 2009, and 2013 and a three-game regular season set between the Florida Marlins and New York Mets in 2010.

This week, the sport returns to Puerto Rico as the Central Division rivals Cleveland Indians (@Indians) and Minnesota Twins (@Twins ‏) square off in a two-game set at the historic venue on Tuesday and Wednesday. Puerto Rico Tourism (@SeePuertoRico) is banking on the enthusiasm of fans of those teams, whose home games so far have featured cold, damp weather, as well as baseball fans in general to add to what has been a strong recent showing for the island in hosting major sporting events.

Puerto Rico continues to produce top-level Major League talent, which will be on display in the two games. Francisco Lindor of the Indians and Jose Berrios and Eddie Rosario of the Twins are among the most recent crop of stars, with Houston’s Carlos Correa and the Chicago Cubs’ Javier Baez leading the roster of young Puerto Ricans on the rise. Four P.R. natives are in the Hall of Fame, with a few other likely candidates in the next few years.

Now the question is, what’s next? MLB executives have talked about the league’s potential first expansion since 1998. Would San Juan be a candidate?

But it’s not just about baseball there. In addition to the Indians-Twins series, Puerto Rico has been the site of the Divas Half Marathon and 5K and IRONMAN 70.3 this year and is set for two more years as the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open host in 2019 and 2020.

“Hosting the Major League Baseball organization, its executives and players for two series games is important for Puerto Rico,” said Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares in a statement. “We thank the MLB organization for their continued commitment to host this highly regarded event on our Island that is bringing thousands of fans to our historic ballpark where many MLB players of Puerto Rican descent started their very own professional sports careers.”

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The influx couldn’t come at a better time for Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September. The series had been announced before the hurricane arrived, and was an easy sellout in the 18,000-seat stadium, which took on some damage to the dugouts, bullpens, playing field, lights and more during the storm. The two games are the first played under the new lights at Hiram Bithorn.

Brands have taken notice as well, as Anheuser-Busch, JetBlue and T-Mobile among the international partners joining Rum Puerto Rico, Ashley Furniture Berríos and other locals.

Now the question is, what’s next? MLB executives have talked about the league’s potential first expansion since 1998. Would San Juan be a candidate? Two games in April aren’t going to be the deciding factors, but a strong showing this week can go a long way towards making it a viable option, which would change the face of the island for not just the sporting public, but local companies and international brands with Puerto Rican ties.

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: Hiram Bithorn Stadium, credit: Flickr/Bryce Edwards

What: The NASL (North American Soccer League), US Soccer’s third division, has canceled the 2018 season.
Why it matters: The league has several teams with strong Latin fan bases that are now in jeopardy but could also transition to more MLS and USL support.

NASL’s Future Hanging in the Balance as Matches Get Cancelled

NASL players in action (credit: NASL – Indy Eleven)

The NASL (@NASL) has cancelled all of its matches for the 2018 season, meaning that unless its current lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (@ussoccer) suddenly swings in the league’s favor, its future is very much in question. This decision traces back to USSF’s refusal to grant the NASL Division 2 status, namely because it does not have enough teams and does not span enough the country. Now that a U.S. federal court has rejected the NASL’s appeal for an injunction, the NASL will shift its legal focus to prosecuting individual members of the USSF board while trying to create a plan to salvage the 2019 season. Though MLS (@MLS) and USL (@USL) are still growing, this development signifies a fissure in the US soccer landscape.

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Now, MLS Miami would be wise to take advantage of the NASL’s issues and learn from Miami FC in order to start their initial campaign on the right foot.

NASL’s Unique Latin Connection

Pelé lining up for the New York Cosmos (credit: The Football Times)

Though the NASL is not the US’s premier soccer competition, and the nation’s other leagues have significant Latin following, the league does have a unique place in relation to the LatinAmerican market. Last year’s champions, the San Francisco Deltas, have folded, meaning that there is now a void in one of California’s most important cities. Joining the National Premier Soccer League (@NPSLSoccer), the unofficial 4th division of US Soccer, are Miami FC (@The MiamiFC), who made a surprising run to the quarterfinals in the US Open Cup, and The New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos), who gained world renown when Pelé played for the team’s previous iteration in the 1970s. Lastly, Puerto Rico FC, whose owner is Oklahoma City Thunder star Carmelo Anthony, was already in peril after their stadium was damaged by Hurricane Maria. Now that the NASL is closing, one of US Soccer’s most exciting Latino-focused projects may be coming to a sudden close.

The city does not yet have a team in one of the US’s major professional sports leagues, and this clean slate could pave the way for an ambitious investment team to see opportunity in Puerto Rico down the road.

MLS Considerations

David Beckham, owner of Fútbol Miami MLS (credit: El Sol)

As David Beckham’s Fútbol Miami MLS (@futbolmiamimls)  group prepares for its new expansion team, it will have to figure out a way to go beyond appealing to just the young executive South Beach crowd and tap into the Latin American market that Miami FC has engaged with well over the past few seasons. If not, Beckham’s stadium could end up looking as empty as the Miami Marlins’s baseball park, or, even worse, his team could suffer a similar early end to the Miami Fusion. Miami FC’s own high profile owners and manager (Ricardo Silva, Paolo Maldini, and Alessandro Nesta) would have presented some real competition for Beckham’s group had it remained in a top league, as the club has built a real identity around the city’s Latin culture. Examples include allowing flares in the stands and a Spanish Twitter feed (@TheMiamiFC_es). Now, Fútbol Miami MLS would be wise to take advantage of the NASL’s issues and learn from Miami FC in order to start their initial campaign on the right foot.

Image result for puerto rico fc
Puerto Rico FC (credit: Empire of Soccer)

The other interesting development to keep an eye on will be whether an MLS or USL team ever reaches Puerto Rico. Now that the city has had the taste of having a professional soccer club, if the club does have to start from scratch, Anthony and his ownership group may realize that enough of a market is there to warrant creating a team in one of US soccer’s more stable leagues. The city does not yet have a team in one of the US’s major professional sports leagues, and this clean slate could pave the way for an ambitious investment team to see opportunity in Puerto Rico down the road.

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What: Magazine publisher Televisa is pulling the plug on its Puerto Rico operations as of December 5 leaving about 50 workers jobless.
Why it matters: Puerto Rico is a major media and advertising  market. Having a major publisher like Televisa fold the local Puerto Rican editions of many of its magazines  is a significant and telling move.

descarga (1)Televisa’s editorial management from the Mexico-based company has taken employees , who work in local publications of that company, by surprise after announcing the closure of operations in Puerto Rico, effective December 5.

Approximately 50 workers will be left jobless after the closing of the offices that produce the publications locally. These magazines include Caras, TV y Novelas and Vanidades Puerto Rico. These magazine are also published digitally.

Executives from Televisa Publishing and Digital offices in Mexico gathered all employees to notify them of the closure..The news came as a surprise as nothing like that was expected, especially because of Televisa’s recent promotional activities related to Caras magazine’s 25th anniversary, a celebration that took place at  El Convento en Viejo San Juan hotel.

No local personnel were authorized to issue official statements on the closure of Televisa Publishing’s Puerto Rico operations.

What: Magazine publisher Televisa is pulling the plug on its Puerto Rico operations as of December 5 leaving about 50 workers jobless.
Why it matters: Puerto Rico is a major media and advertising  market. Having a major publisher like Televisa fold the local Puerto Rican editions of many of its magazines  is a significant and telling move.

descarga (1)Televisa’s editorial management from the Mexico-based company has taken employees , who work in local publications of that company, by surprise after announcing the closure of operations in Puerto Rico, effective December 5.

Approximately 50 workers will be left jobless after the closing of the offices that produce the publications locally. These magazines include Caras, TV y Novelas and Vanidades Puerto Rico. These magazine are also published digitally.

Executives from Televisa Publishing and Digital offices in Mexico gathered all employees to notify them of the closure..The news came as a surprise as nothing like that was expected, especially because of Televisa’s recent promotional activities related to Caras magazine’s 25th anniversary, a celebration that took place at  El Convento en Viejo San Juan hotel.

No local personnel were authorized to issue official statements on the closure of Televisa Publishing’s Puerto Rico operations.

MillerCoors on Thursday formally apologized to the Puerto Rican community in New York City and said it will drop a promotional campaign featuring the Puerto Rican flag in its beer cans.

In a May 30 letter addressed to the grassroots group Boricuas for a Positive Image, Nehl Horton, Chief Public Affairs & Communications Officers at MillerCoors in Chicago, wrote: “We are no longer producing the packages that you cite in your communications and effective tomorrow morning, we will cease distribution as well.”

The apology came after days of intense pressure from Puerto Ricans in New York City who demanded both MillerCoors and the organizers of the Puerto Rican Day Parade to stop using their flag to sell an alcoholic beverage.

“Today’s announcement that Coors will cease all production of products bearing the Puerto Rican flag is yet another incredible victory for our community, which was brought about solely by sustained pressure at the grassroots,” wrote City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.

UPDATE: The National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. has issued a statement about this story.

A New York City grassroots group known as “Boricuas for a Positive Image” is mounting a campaign demanding MillerCoors to stop using the Puerto Rican flag in the beer cans being distributed around the city to promote the upcoming Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The cans of Coor’s Light, which is being marketed as the official beer of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, feature the parade organization’s logo and includes the colors of the Puerto Rican flag. This, the grassroots group says, “places a price tag on our flag, our dignity, pride and history.”

In addition, Puerto Ricans are outraged about the image of their flag being associated with an alcoholic beverage. Among latino populations, Puerto Ricans have the highest rate of alcoholic dependence. What’s more, this year’s parade theme –“Salud–Celebrating Your Health”– is not perceived as corresponding to alcohol consumption.

Other corporate sponsors of this year’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade include Goya, JetBlue, Univision 41, and Banco Popular.

Over Memorial weekend, both Univision and DNAInfo spoke to East Harlem City Councilor Melissa Mark-Viverito, who said the use of the flag in Coor’s Light beer cans was “disrespectful.”

MillerCoors did not respond to emails seeking for comment. The National Puerto Rican Day Parade issued the following statement Tuesday evening:

“The mark in the promotion of Coors Light is NOT the Puerto Rican flag, NOR the logo of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc.  It is an artwork created exclusively for this campaign, that integrates elements of the Parade’s symbol such as an apple, a star, and red, white, blue, and black colors. We call on community leaders to clear this misunderstanding, and stop misguidedly telling the public that the Puerto Rican flag has been posted on beer cans, something that the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. would NEVER authorize”.