SBJ/April 25 - May 1, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Corona takes spot on 'Friday Night Fights'

Four months after losing prominent boxing sponsor Tecate from its “Friday Night Fights” show, ESPN has replaced the Mexican beer brand with its far-larger competitor, Corona.

The nation’s No. 1 selling import beer debuted last week as presenting sponsor of the “Friday Night Fights” broadcast on both ESPN2 and Deportes. The sponsorship mirrors the dominant position Tecate held, with placement on the ring mat and in the corners, in studio, online and in print, as well as presenting sponsorship of ESPN Deportes’ weekly “Golpe a Golpe” boxing studio show featuring Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez. Corona also will sponsor “A Los Golpes,” a boxing news show that airs on ESPN Deportes Radio.

ESPN attracted Corona by pitching the rare opportunity to reach Hispanic viewers through a sport they favor, offered in both Spanish and English, while also hitting the general market.

“More and more advertisers are talking to us about a total market,” said John Fitzgerald, vice president of multimedia sales for ESPN Deportes. “Is there a way I can speak across all levels of acculturation and even, to a lesser extent, reach the general market?

“The most organic way to do that may live inside content,” he said. “In sports, at ESPN, that’s an easy thing for us to do for advertisers. Boxing is something [Hispanics] like. Some want to watch in Spanish, some want to watch in English. We’ve got both.”

Tecate opted not to renew its contract after two years on “Friday Night Fights,” citing the expanding schedule of the popular “Solo Boxeo” show that it sponsors on Telefutura.

“Tecate was a great sponsor,” Fitzgerald said. “Corona is going to be a great sponsor.”

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