At the very least, it looks likely that Mexico will still be alive in 2014 World Cup qualifying following the current international break. Barring a nightmare scenario where Costa Rica, which has already qualified, beats Mexico and Panama beats the USA, which has also already qualified, Mexico will qualify for next month’s playoff vs. Oceania winner New Zealand.
According to Business Insider, the total cost of El Tri missing the World Cup would be $600 million in lost TV, merchandise, sponsorship and other revenue. TV broadcasters, in particular, would take a big hit on ad revenue, and not just in Mexico.
In the U.S., Univision paid $325 million to broadcast the 2010 and 2014 tournaments in Spanish. Even though ESPN’s ratings for English broadcasts have been steadily improving, its audience still lags heavily behind its Spanish-language counterparts. For example, the last USA-Mexico qualifier in September set a record with 2.2 million average viewers, but Unimas, which broadcasted the game in Spanish, showed it to 3.5 million viewers.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Allstate, Visa, Adidas, and Anheuser-Busch all have sponsorship deals with the Mexican national team based on the assumption that it would qualify for the 2014 World Cup. In 2010, some 15,000 Mexicans traveled to South Africa for the world’s most visible sporting event. That number is expected to be much higher for Brazil, so travel companies stand to lose plenty of money, too.