Published On: Mon, Dec 4th, 2017

Mexican National Soccer Team will have economic support from Anheuser-Busch brand Estrella Jalisco

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The U.S. will not be represented in the 2018 World Cup, but just south of the border excitement is already brewing as the Mexican National Team gets ready to participate as one of the thirty-two qualifying teams from around the world. Anheuser-Busch, a major supporter of soccer across the globe, sees an opportunity to still be a part of a celebration in North America and is associating its Estrella Jalisco as Official Beer of the Mexican National Team in the U.S. for the team’s twenty-third inclusion as a qualifying entity in a World Cup.

The parent company will be the first to admit that it was not thrilled to find out that Team USA did not qualify; however, for the Estrella Jalisco brand, the situation could not be better.

“The fact that the U.S. soccer team is out of the World Cup, at first we said that’s no good for the company, but from the Estrella Jalisco perspective more than ever it will be about Mexico,” explains Anheuser-Busch CMO Marcel Marcondes.

Estrella Jalisco may not be recognizable in the U.S. just yet, and Anheuser-Busch is determined to change that with the World Cup sponsorship being a key part of the strategy. Estrella Jalisco was launched in the U.S. only one-and-a-half years ago, and has already seen double digit growth according to Marcondes. That steady growth has been mostly seen in California, which is predominantly where the brand exists today.

“Although it’s a local brand, when you see the national ranking of penetration gains, it already appears as the #7 brand,” says Marcondes. “It’s very impressive for a local beer. We are building awareness, distribution, but for those aware of the brand and have access, penetration is moving up very fast. There are very strong indications for us that we’re evolving.”

California was the state chosen to pilot the Mexican beer brand because of the state’s size as well as the super-concentrated group of Mexicans residing there. The brand’s key mission over the next year is to increase distribution to twenty-nine states. It is already seeding Estrella Jalisco in nineteen states.

“We will always prioritize states with higher concentration,” admits Marcondes. “That is the no-brainer piece. We have a strong presence within MLS teams as a company. We work with thirteen soccer teams within the MLS, so the World Cup will go away but we will still have a strong presence in soccer, which is by far the biggest sport among Hispanics and Latinos”

Estrella Jalisco would likely only activate with at-most eleven of the thirteen MLS soccer teams that the parent company partners with, because two of the teams are in states where the brand does not expect to have distribution at any point in the near future.

The deal between Anheuser-Busch and the Mexican National Team was brokered by Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the marketing arm of Major League Soccer. Anheuser-Busch will be launching TV advertising, digital content and social media as well as point-of-sale efforts as the 2018 World Cup approaches in June. Additionally, there will be a branded presence for the beer at Mexico’s U.S. friendly tour that begins on January 31, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas.

by Darren Heitner for Forbes.com

Darren Heitner is the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C. and Sports Agent Blog. He authored the book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.

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