The Mexican men’s national soccer team beat the United States in the biennial CONCACAF Gold Cup last weekend. The game was played in Southern California, where the stands of the Pasadena Rose Bowl were packed with 93,000 fans, mostly rooting for Mexico, according to Reuters.
The team averaged 71,500 fans per game in the six games it played at different venues in the Cup, Reuters adds, resulting in a “home field” advantage of sorts. It makes sense, of course, since the Hispanic population of America is growing rapidly.
The Associated Press reports that “Hispanics propelled more than half of the country's population growth over the last decade.”
"It's an unbelievable feeling, we have some many Mexican fans in the United States and we have to say thanks for all the support we get," said Mexican striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez to Reuters.
“The Mexicans have produced television audiences that have pushed Spanish-language network Univision to the top of the US ratings for peak-time on Saturday night for the past two weeks, beating all the leading English-language channels,” according to the news service.
"The team are now one of the top sports brands in the States and companies have stepped up and seen the value of that," said Michael Hitchcock of Texas-based Playbook Management International, Reuters reports. "They are selling out stadiums, selling jerseys, selling sodas, selling beers – any way you look at it they are a money-making machine because the fans are so passionate."
The final score, by the way: the US team went down in a 4-2 loss to Mexico, while US brands scored a win. Some of those brands sponsoring the Mexican team include Coca-Cola, Home Depot, All State Insurance, and Anheuser Busch's Bud Light. All State and Budweiser sponsor both the Mexican team and the U.S. squad as well.
"We've expanded our presence and support of soccer overall because it is such a popular sport (and is a) growing sport in the States," says Caitlin Morse, a marketing manager at All State, Reuters reports. "We've had a lot of success with the Mexican national team. Being able to interact with fans, we have found the team a great way to communicate to a Hispanic audience."