Newly-assigned Mexican national football team head coach Miguel Herrera is seen during a press conference in Mexico City on October 20, 2013
Businesses in Mexico could lose as much as $650 million in the eventuality of their national football team failing to beat New Zealand in their two-legged World Cup playoff tie on November 13 and November 20.
Mexico got their fourth coach in less than two months when Miguel Herrera, who led club side America to the Mexican league championship, was handed the job after those preceding him had failed to ensure the side’s progress directly from the CONCACAF qualifiers.
“Without a doubt we’ll be going to the World Cup. The (FMF) has trusted in this duo who have worked well this year,” said Herrera sounding optimistic after his team beat Finland 4-2 in a friendly in San Diego on Wednesday, referring to himself and America’s sporting director Ricardo Pelaez.
Mexico’s football association and media houses though don’t quite share the same belief and are an anxious lot as they fret over whether they are going to have a chance to see their team at next year’s finals in Brazil.
The most worried of the lot are the television networks in Mexico and the United States that have obtained broadcasting rights. Also in the mix are the various companies associated with the team through sponsorships, as well as those businesses that stand to gain from sales during a World Cup year.
Rogelio Roa, Director General of DreaMatch Solutions, a firm specializing in sports marketing in Mexico, says the financial impact of the country failing to qualify could be widespread.
“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 told Reuters TV.
According to him, $650 million is the figure that the businesses are looking at, taking into consideration the increase in popularity and reach of the quadrennial tournament with every passing edition, as well as the fact that Mexico have made it to every World Cup finals since 1986.
“It’s a scenario nobody has forecast, nobody did,” Roa added. “The last time Mexico failed to reach the World Cup was in 1990.”
“It was not due to a sporting reason but due to an executive decision but in the end it’s not even comparable because football at an economic and commercial level today has nothing to do with what it was 23 years ago.”
Brazil’s ambassador in Mexico, Marcos Leal Raposo, believes Mexico will qualify and revealed that the organizers were keen on having Mexico at the World Cup next year due to the large number of fans that they would bring.
“We expect 600,000 foreign tourists of which 50,000 could be Mexicans,” he said.
“Mexico is the country that sends the most passionate football fans to the World Cup in the world.
“We are together supporting the team so that the team reaches the World Cup finals due to friendship and commercial interests, please.”