SBJ/August 1-7, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Tecate goes big on boxing promo

When executives from Tecate heard that Golden Boy Promotions had matched Floyd Mayweather against breakout star Victor Ortiz during Mexican Independence week in Las Vegas, they responded with an idea that would magnify the fight’s impact in their most important market, Southern California.

They would plan a concert for a 5,000- to 6,000-seat venue in Los Angeles, air the pay-per-view telecast there, and either give away or discount tickets as part of a massive retail promotion.

TOUCH POINT MARKETING  / RUKUS CREATIVE
Last year, Tecate held a fan fest leading up to a fight between Shane Mosley and Sergio Mora.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer suggested something even larger: A Staples Center fight featuring rising Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, followed by Mayweather-Ortiz shown on the arena’s video screens, all wrapped in a festival featuring two well-known Mexican music acts. Fans in Vegas would see the Alvarez fight on screens at the MGM Grand. Pay-per-view buyers and closed circuit viewers would get both.

The Mexican brewery jumped at the idea, agreeing to run its typical national retail promotion around the Vegas fight, but also launching its largest program ever in Southern California. So did HBO, agreeing to seat broadcast crews at both fights, something it has never done for a pay-per-view. And so did Staples Center owner AEG, which liked the idea of an Alvarez fight, paired with a Mexican-themed music event, backed by the marketing support of Tecate.

“With Los Angeles now more than half Hispanic, this is an important date here,” Schaefer said. “Having that date, having the right fighter, having the right sponsor partners, led by Tecate, which are going to put together a Southern California activation which is unheard of . . . . You will see, this is going to be most heavily promoted boxing event of all time.”

In many ways, Mayweather’s Sept. 17 fight against Ortiz is an ideal peg for Tecate’s annual blowout promotion celebrating Mexican Independence Day. Mayweather remains the sport’s most-watched fighter. Ortiz is a breakout star of Mexican descent.

The one shortcoming, from the sponsor’s perspective, is that in order to generate a large enough purse for Mayweather, promoter Golden Boy must put the fight in Las Vegas, where higher ticket prices will generate a larger gate. While a Vegas fight is ideal for entertaining, Tecate’s retail promotion likely will generate higher sales, more trials and greater conversion when built around a fight in Southern California, which accounts for about 35 percent of its U.S. business.

“Our first thought was, why don’t we make the Mayweather fight in L.A.?” said Felix Palau, vice president of marketing for Tecate. “But when you do the economics, it’s very difficult for L.A. to compete. That’s when this new idea came up. Let’s make another fight in L.A. That increases the ability to promote a bigger concept locally. We’re taking that and putting it on top of what we already do nationally to make a really big event.”

Tecate has committed to supporting the promotion with more than $800,000 in radio, TV and outdoor advertising in Southern California alone.

For the first time, Tecate will extend its popular rebate program — long a cornerstone of the pay-per-view events it sponsors — to a live event, offering coupons redeemable for a $20 rebate on qualifying ticket purchases for the fight and concert at Staples. The rebate will be featured at promotional displays in 10,000 grocery outlets and liquor stores across Southern California.

It also will run its usual national promotion, with coupons for rebates up to $20 on the pay-per-view available in about 8,000 stores nationally.

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