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Latino males will be the source of over half of the growth in the U.S. beer business in the coming years, making it an increasingly important segment to MillerCoors and a focal point of its sports sponsorship and activation, MillerCoors Exec VP & CMO Andy England said this morning. “These guys are very important to us,” England said during a keynote address titled “Sports! Beer! Good!” that opened the first day of SBJ/SBD's eighth annual IMG Sports Marketing Symposium in N.Y. “They’re a critical battleground for beers. Sports guys shouldn’t care whether white suburban guys like soccer. Latinos do and they are peaking.” Latino males over-index in beer consumption. U.S. men consume 79% of beer volume in the U.S., but 82% of Latino males consume beer and most of them are younger and more blue collar than other beer consumers. Those statistics compelled MillerCoors to make its Coors Light brand the first U.S. beer sponsor of the Mexican soccer league’s first division in the U.S. and increase its spending against soccer on Televisa, TV Azteca and Univision. It also is why its Miller Lite brand sponsors the Gold Cup and Chivas de Guadalajara. “This is a big deal for us and frankly the most breakthrough program that MillerCoors has developed this year,” England said of the company's Mexican national soccer team deal.
NEED SOME R & R & R: England said MillerCoors' approach to sports marketing is dictated by 3 Rs: reach, relationships and retail. Reach is achieved through sports media spending on ESPN, Univision and elsewhere; relationships are established online through mediums like fantasy football, which Coors Light sponsors on Yahoo; and retail is where the company activates its sponsorships and leverages them for sales. “We sponsor things to make money,” England said. “The question is how we make money. That’s by activating what we sponsor. If we can’t activate at retail, does it actually happen?” Summer is the most important period on the calendar to MillerCoors. That’s when the majority of beer is consumed during the year, and because every week in July offers more beer sales than any weekend in February, England said it is critical to find assets that are relevant in summer months. “You win the summer, you win the year,” he said.