Fans of Mexico’s national soccer dread the thought of their beloved “El Tri” missing the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but the North American business community and soccer industry stand to lose much more than pride and the big party if the unthinkable happens.
Sports marketing expert Rogelio Roa estimates that U.S. and Mexican businesses and soccer teams could lose $650 million if Mexico fails to qualify for next summer’s tournament, according to Reuters.
“However, the possibility of not qualifying for the Brazil tournament deeply worries Mexico’s football association [FMF] and media, mainly television networks in Mexico and the United States which have broadcasting rights, and companies who sponsor the national team and businesses who see a rise in sales throughout the year when the World Cup is held,” the report says.
Roa told Reuters TV that the negative effects will trickle down from the broadcast giants and national team sponsors, harming Mexican soccer as a whole.
“On the sporting and totally commercial side, Mexico’s failure to take part entails, and I’m probably being a bit drastic here, but in terms of the football economy a financial catastrophe because it would have a domino effect that would have an effect on the Mexican league, lower sponsorship entries and brand prestige,” Roa said.
Mexico struggled throughout the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, finishing fourth in the region — thanks to the last-minute heroics of their bitter rivals U.S.A. “El Tri” must now beat New Zealand in a two-game playoff series (on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20) in order to book a place in Brazil.
Miguel Herrera, Mexico’s fourth coach in less than two months, carries the hopes of Mexican soccer fans and business leaders on his shoulders. He must lead “El Tri” to the promised land, as there’s a lot at stake.
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