The David Beckham hype has generated wonderful returns for MLS thus far, but marketing executives would tell you it's a no-brainer that the league needs to better appeal to the country's millions of Latino fans to instill a longer-lasting, loyal fan base. It's no secret that Mexican teams draw higher TV audiences and larger crowds
As The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Jeff Rusnak points out, the loyalty and the numbers are there -- just not with MLS. "Without exception," he says, "Mexican fans have not supported their local MLS team the way they support their 'home side.'" For example, David Beckham's debut against Chelsea on ESPN received a 1.0 rating, reaching about 1.4 million U.S. homes, while the last three matches between Mexican giants Club America and Chivas Guadalajara on Spanish-language station Univision averaged a 2.4 rating. And when the Mexican national team plays, those numbers are even bigger: El Tri's Copa America semifinal loss to Argentina this summer received a whopping 6.8.
It's no secret that Mexican teams sell out stadiums and draw higher ratings in the U.S. than American ones, so it follows, says Rusnak, that MLS should be targeting that audience most heavily. Instead of bringing over more players like Beckham, it should be targeting more Mexican internationals like Cuauhtemoc Blanco.