What: Uniform manufacturers, banks, cement companies, and casinos top the list of Mexican soccer sponsors.
Why it matters: Knowing what Mexican brands are targeting Mexican soccer fans also offers interesting clues about brand affinity of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. In addition, having the exclusive for making and selling team uniforms, or having your beer logo on a team jersey – in addition to selling the beverage at the stadium – are profitable investments for brands, even if sponsorship figures for Mexican soccer remain undisclosed.


descarga (7)Liga Mx, which according to statistics is followed by at least 60% of the Mexican population, has a series of sponsoring brands that are split among those which produce team uniforms, and those which stamp their names or logos on the garments used by the players on each of the 18 teams that make up the largest Mexican soccer league.

First are the brands that manufacture and provide the teams with their uniforms:

Puma leads the league with five teams (Atlas, Santos, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Querétaro); Charly with three clubs (Veracruz, Puebla, and Chiapas); Nike with three teams (Pumas, América, and Pachuca); Pirma with two clubs (Morelia and Leon); Under Armour with two teams (Cruz Azul and Toluca); Adidas with two clubs (Tigres and Tijuana), and Umbro with one team (Necaxa).

The dollar value of the sponsorships is guarded with great secrecy, and neither the brands nor the teams generally divulge the numbers that grant them the exclusive rights to the manufacture and sale of team jerseys. With retail prices that range from 900 to 1,300 pesos, it translates into a very profitable business for sponsors.


Las marcas que visten a los equipos de la Liga MX
Under ArmourCruz Azul

descarga (8)But even when sportswear brands are globally renowned, industry experts say that the crux of the sponsorship business is not in who makes the uniforms, but in the brand that supports each of the teams – and whose logo appears on team jerseys – as is the case of beer brands in markets like Germany, Brazil, and  Mexico.

The relationship between beer and soccer fans does not seem to be a coincidence, since the three countries (Mexico, Brazil and Germany) are the most important beer producers. Beer has thus become the sponsor of such important sports events as the Super Bowl, Europe’s Champions League, Formula One, and Mexico’s Liga Mx.

When the Liga Mx championship was defined, the Tigres wore the Tecate brand on their jersey, while the América wore the Corona brand. As all the fans know today, the corona or crown, was taken by the Nuevo León team.

Liga MX Beer Brand Sponsors
Brand Team
TecateCruz Azul
Bud LightTijuana

But other brands also want the attention their product would get by being printed on a uniform. This is the case with cement companies that sponsor their own teams, such as Cruz Azul, Cementos Fortaleza (Pachuca), and Cemex (Tigres); banks such as Banamex (Toluca and Pumas), BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey), Multiva (Querétaro), and Compartamos Banco (Chiapas); and, most recently, casino chain Caliente.

In fact, Caliente – which includes the online betting site Caliente.mx – is the brand that arrived in mid-2016 and went on to become one of the main sponsors of Mexican soccer, with its support of four teams: Tijuana, Puebla , Morelia, and Chiapas, and is poised to increase its sponsorship efforts starting in the second half of 2017.

Debora Montesinos contributed in this article


What: The reaction over its Messi sponsorship sets off alarm bells for Adidas.
Why it matters: Because marketing analysts warn that although the German brand sponsors one of the two best soccer players in the world, it has failed to capitalize on that relationship, resulting in ineffective promotion strategies.

When Adidas renewed its sponsorship deal with Leonel Messi, the German multinational began to hear warnings that the famous FC Barcelona player – one of the best in the world – is identified by fans as being sponsored by its competitor Nike, the Barcelona club’s sponsor.

adidas-messi-patrocinioMarketing experts argue that the German brand lacks an effective strategy to take advantage of its relationship with the Argentine player. However, it will remain its technical sponsor over the next few years based on a multi-year agreement whose terms – both financial and duration – have not been revealed.

Neither does Adidas seem to want to comment publicly on fans confusing Messi’s sponsor with Nike. The company’s relationship with Messi goes back many years and will continue for many more, according to comments made by the Argentine player.

Nevertheless, recent results published by the Barómetro del Patrocinio Deportivo 2016 (2016 Sports Sponsorship Barometer), an interesting survey carried out by the Asociación de Marketing de España and the ESADE International School of Business, which is considered an X-ray of sports marketing in Spain, warns of a Adidas-Messi-Nike conflict.

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The report sets forth a comparative study on fan identification of the main sponsoring firms within Spain’s soccer world, detailing the clubs and players they represent and sponsor, and as such is considered a reflection of the success or failure of brands’ strategies to activate their relationship with their sponsorees.

barometro-messiAccording to the study, based on a Sponsorship Association Index of 100 points, the brand association between Messi and Nike received 71.1 points in the minds of fans, who clearly identify him as Barcelona player. Meanwhile, fans’ association of Messi with Adidas only received 50.81 points.

The opposite happened with Nike and Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo. According to the survey, the activation strategies of the U.S. company are more successful among fans than those of Adidas with Messi.

Nike received an Association Index of 72 points with Cristiano Ronaldo, whereas the association of Cristiano Ronaldo with the Adidas brand only garnered 63.03 points.

What: Mexican banks like Banamex, BBVA Bancomer and Santander say that sports sponsorships are taking on an increasingly important role in their marketing strategies.
Why it matters: This trend has been observed in other sports as well, like Formula 1 racing and baseball.

Nowadays, staying top-of-mind is vital for many companies, both for reaching out to current clients as much as potential ones. Sports, in this sense, have become a perfect ally for many brands, as they are capable of bringing together a large number of people around a specific activity. Mexican banks are capitalizing on this in hopes that their sports sponsorships will boost their marketing efforts.

Being associated with any sport “helps positioning the bank and generates a link between our clients and their passions,” says Gerardo Serrador, Marketing Executive Director at Banco Santander Mexico.

“In addition to generating passion, sports represent the same values that our brand identifies with: teamwork, excellence and fair play,” adds Mauricio Pallares Coello, Director of Corporate Marketing at BBVA Bancomer. “As a branding strategy, a sports sponsorship is profitable because the massive nature of sports makes the brand more noticeable.” Seeing that soccer is by far the most popular sport in Mexico, it makes perfect sense that banks would want in on the action.

The sports that have more penetration are the most profitable. In Mexico, soccer is undoubtedly the sport with the most followers, and consequently, this is where the media allocates most of its content.

Because BBVA Bancomer is the largest bank in the country with the largest number of branches and ATMs, it went big and decided to sponsor the entire Mexican soccer league. The league covers all cities with football teams, both in the first division and the promotion league. In addition, the bank arranged a local sponsorship of Rayados of Monterrey, to target current and potential clients in the state.

Until 2015, Banamex had invested up to $200 million Mexican pesos in the effort, distributing the money among five teams in the Mexican league. But then the bank withdrew sponsorship last June. “We no longer have our money in club teams, but we remain a sponsor for the Mexican national team,” said David Fierro, Marketing VP at Banamex Citi Group.

Analysts suggested one of the bank’s motivations for dropping the sponsorship was a decrease in revenue caused by the SEC’s current investigation into claims that the bank made fraudulent loans to Mexican oil services company Oceanographic. On the other hand, after its main competitor BBVA Bancomer became the next MX League sponsor, continuing with the sponsorship made absolutely no sense.

Piloto Kimi Raikkonen
Piloto Kimi Raikkonen

But soccer isn’t everything. “Santander is mainly focused on two sports: Soccer and Formula 1. With respect to soccer, the company concentrates on the most important regional competitions like Copa Libertadores and Copa America, which have a direct impact on countries in which the bank has a presence. But, we considered the Scuderia Ferrari (F1) sponsorship in order to have more of a global impact,” said Serrador.

The return of F1 to Mexico made the Scuderia Ferrari’s sponsorship profitable, according to Serrador. “A series of interesting promotions allowed us to position the brand as the most associated with F1 in Mexico.” According to a survey the bank carried out in cities like Mexico, Monterrey and Guadalajara, 53% of people who follow the F1 also mentioned Santander as the top-related brand to the event.

Lorena Ochoa

Banamex also continues supporting other sports. It is the sponsor of former golfer Lorena Ochoa, the goalkeeper Aida Roman, Paralympics athlete Gustavo Sanchez and Mexican baseball team Diablos Rojos. “The main priority is supporting sports figures,” explains Fierro, who says they have more sponsorship in mind for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

We do not consider ourselves an opportunistic entity that takes advantage of athletes only once they have reached the top,” added Fierro. For this reason, the bank plans to grant sport sponsorships to athletes who are just beginning their careers.

Reflecting on the bank’s past sports sponsorship strategies, the Santander executive believes that:

The best have been those in which we learned how to link our services and bank’s products with the benefits of the sponsorships offer, helping customers experience their passion for sports firsthand.

The three executives agree that sports and banks will remain associated through sponsorships, regardless of the sport. It’s a sweet deal: banks grow their brand awareness while athletes and sports team find much-needed financial support.


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