Thought it was a little odd that the USA supporters were absolutely dwarfed in number by the Mexican supporters at the Gold Cup Final in Pasadena, California? Well you shouldn’t have, because that’s just the nature of the beast. And we’re not the only ones who recognize it.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, who basically put on a goal-scoring clinic across the United States during Mexico’s run to the Gold Cup title, is quickly become one of the biggest sporting darlings in the country due to the incredible backing of his home country’s many US residents. And the final at the Rose Bowl certainly wasn’t the first time ‘the little pea’ was the object of such American based affection on the football field.
Between this and his goal-scoring role in Manchester United’s shallacking of the MLS All-Stars in Houston last year, Hernandez is finding out that he just might be one of the most marketable forces in the United States sporting landscape. Hernandez spoke on the support he receives in the states after winning the Gold Cup:
“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,” Hernandez said.
“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, who specialize in soccer business in North America.
“They are selling out stadiums, selling jerseys, selling sodas, selling beers – anyway you look at it they are a money-making machine because the fans are so passionate.”
Not only can he score a goal with basically any part of his body, but he’s a smart kid too. The recent success of the Mexican national team in this country, along with Chicharito’s goal scoring exploits at home and abroad during the club season, are making the young Manchester United forward and his entire Mexico team a cross-boarder cash cow. The marketing hype that spiked Freddy Adu’s “next Pele” kool-aid that all the American soccer fans guzzled down is now being generated on the other side of this primary ethnic fault-line.
Good news for those in the business of making money of soccer in this country: The market is even bigger now and the hype is warranted. That kid can play, and as I see it, he stands to make a good amount of coin over the next ten years.