SBJ/20100329/This Week's News

SUM boosts sponsor roster for Mexican team

Soccer United Marketing pushed the popularity of the Mexican national team in a World Cup year to add three new Mexican soccer federation (FMF) sponsors, bringing its total roster of partners to 15 in 2010, the same as it had in 2006 during the last World Cup.

The partners — Wrigley’s Extra gum, Cacique and Bimbo — began activating with the team in March. All three signed either one- or two-year agreements valued in the low to middle six figures annually.

Cacique, a Mexican-style
cheese company, is one
of three new FMF sponsors.

“The awareness around the Mexican national team is heightened in a World Cup year, but it’s really a 24/7, 365-day-a-year opportunity,” said Michael Gandler, vice president of business development for Soccer United Marketing. “The World Cup in South Africa is going to elevate its appeal even further.”

The Mexican national team is enjoying one of its best-attended U.S. tours in recent years, playing its third of six exhibitions last week. Earlier this month it attracted 90,000 spectators at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for a game against New Zealand, and last Wednesday it drew 63,000 spectators to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte for a game against Iceland.

Wrigley’s Extra gum is the first official gum partner of FMF since SUM began representing the Mexican national team in 2003, signing a one-year deal. The brand, which also sponsors the English Premier League, has made the Mexican national team the centerpiece of its “Wrigley’s Football Extra” activation program. It has brought an 18-wheeler activation stage on tour with the team, done player appearances in markets, and sampling at the exhibition games.

Mexican Soccer Federation Partners
2006 2010
Anheuser-Busch (beer) Anheuser-Busch (beer)
AT&T (telecommunications) AT&T (telecommunications)
Coca-Cola (carbonated soft drinks) Coca-Cola (carbonated soft drinks)
Home Depot (home improvement) Home Depot (home improvement)
Makita (tools) Makita (tools)
NAPA (auto aftermarket) NAPA (auto aftermarket)
Digame (calling cards) AT&T (expanded calling-card category)
Chivas Regal (spirits) Cuervo (spirits)
Doritos (salty snacks) Barcel (salty snacks)
Kellogg’s (cereal/cookies) Bimbo (cookies/pastries)
Lala (milks/yogurt) Cacique (yogurts/cheeses/meats)
Western Union (financial/wire transfer) Visa (financial services)
McDonald’s (quick-service restaurant) Degree (deodorant/antiperspirant)
Dodge (auto) Allstate (insurance)
Tylenol (OTC pharma) Wrigley’s Extra (gum)
Source: Soccer United Marketing

Cacique signed a two-year agreement to become the official cheese partner of FMF. The Mexican-style cheese company has put the FMF logo on packs of cheeses and promoted its partnership with point-of-sale advertising in important Hispanic markets nationwide. It also set up a small booth at Mexican national team exhibitions where fans can get a photo featuring the Cacique logo and the Mexican flag.

“We have already had a great return on our investment,” said Francisco Hanon, Cacique’s advertising manager. “We are sure if we continue to connect these events to the store level it will be great for us.”

Bimbo Bakeries, the U.S. division of food manufacturer Grupo Bimbo, plans to do a retail activation during the World Cup in June when it will use point-of-sale advertising featuring FMF imagery in an effort to distinguish itself from competitors. As part of its one-year deal, the company also activated at recent Mexican national team exhibition games, offering samples of Bimbo cakes and bread to fans before and after the competition.

The deal with Bimbo was sold by SUM in collaboration with Sports Management Group of Mexico City.

“This deal is part of a growing trend we expect to see more and more in the future,” Gandler said. “There are a lot of companies — Mexican ones and American ones that acquire Mexican brands — that are looking to expand their footprint in the United States and see the Mexican national team as a way to do that.”

In addition to signing three FMF partners, SUM renewed its MLS partnership with Getty Images and signed Travelodge to a two-year deal as a partner of the CONCACAF Champions League and InterLiga tournaments.

MLS has signed no new deals ahead of its 2010 season, but it didn’t lose any partners. Gandler said SUM is pursuing several deals for the league, which opened its season Thursday in Seattle.

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