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Interview: Chivas' CEO Has a Marketing Past
USSoccerPlayers, September 17th, 2007 4PM

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By now the problems of Chivas USA, which currently has the fourth best record in MLS (but with games in hand), are well-documented: the strategy of borrowing the brand name of one of Mexico's most storied teams has backfired, offending some Chivas de Guadalajara fans while marginalizing those who don't support the Mexican club, or are not themselves Hispanic. As a result, the club is sparsely supported, despite on-field success and low ticket prices.

By any measure this is a marketing problem, one that Chivas USA is addressing by instating former AEG Sports President Shawn Hunter as the club's new President and CEO. In an interview with Andrea Canales, writing for USSoccerPlayers, Hunter outlines his vision for the team, which includes strengthening Chivas' ties with Mexico and reaching out to fans who identify with its brand of soccer. To achieve this goal, Hunter plans to bring in more players from the mother country (Chivas didn't bring in a single Mexican player during the off-season who has stuck with the team), and to add more Mexican sponsors (as many as four or five, says Hunter).

But Canales warns that Hunter may run into the same problem that stemmed from the club pigeonholing itself in the first place. Nevertheless, Hunter says, "You'll see us add [Mexican] players to the roster in the years ahead, but we'll never abandon the essence of the brand and what we want it to be.  But it will continue to evolve over time."

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