A marketer, a sports league executive and an athlete walk into a bar… This isn’t the lead up to a joke, but the makeup of a panel that brought together over 100 brand marketers and agency professionals in New York last week in celebration of the World Cup.
With the world’s largest sporting event taking place in less than two years in Brazil, and with next summer’s Confederation’s Cup just around the corner, Univision Deportes brought together marketers and sports executives to discuss the games and players to watch, and the opportunities the World Cup brings to marketers looking to reach Hispanics.
Fernando Fiore, co-host of our leading sports entertainment program “Republica Deportiva,” kicked off the event with Road to the World Cup, a video that shows just how FIFA’s 200 plus national teams become just 32 in the World Cup qualifying process.
To further detail the growth of soccer in the U.S. and sports fans’ love for the tournament were moderator Chris Botta, SportsBusiness Journal’s soccer writer; Reinaldo Padua, assistant vice president of Hispanic Marketing at Coke; Felix Fernandez, co-host of “Republica Deportiva” and former goalie for Team Mexico; Cobi Jones former MLS star and midfielder for the U.S. National Team with three World Cup appearances for the team; and Manolo Zubiria, director of Marketing and TV at CONCACAF.
Whether it was discussing their favorite teams – USA, Venezuela, Mexico and Spain – or their favorite players, each of the panelists agreed that the sport of soccer has grown exponentially over the past few years partly due to the growing number of Hispanics in the United States. Fernandez commented that, “for Mexicans the three most important things in life are: Our Lady of Guadalupe, regional music and soccer.” Padua agreed that soccer, and naturally the World Cup, offers his brand the opportunity to reach uber-engaged Hispanics consumers. He remarked “soccer is a major passion point for Hispanics. It’s always an emotional experience, and we want our brand to be associated with that emotion.”
CONCACAF’s Zubiria also shared his sentiments on the power of sports and the unforgettable experiences soccer offers, saying that “for many, sporting events mark a moment of time.” With Jones and Fernandez sharing their locker room stories and their experiences playing against each other, event attendees delighted in the behind the scenes look into the World Cup. And frankly, so did I!
Capping off the discussion, my colleague, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes, pumped more excitement in the air with a video highlighting upcoming World Cup programming. The event then tuned-in to dozens of television screens showcasing the USA versus Guatemala game, followed by Mexico’s match up against El Salvador. With a blow out from the U.S. Men’s National Team, the room packed with media buyers, advertising creatives, sports league executives and other marketing professionals cheered and shared their love of the sport amid team flags and scarves, vuvuzuelas, maracas and foam fingers signifying their team pride. Mexico won, too, ensuring that both teams are on to CONCACAF’s “Hexagonal” round…and one step closer to the Cup!