American fútbol is so happy that the Mexican National Team will be playing in the World Cup that it seems it has forgotten of its own team.
While Team USA faces Ukraine in an almost-empty stadium in Cyprus, a record 60,000-plus people will be at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to watch America’s favorite sports franchise, México, play against Nigeria, as both teams prepare for the World Cup in Brazil.
And American businesses are ready to make a big buck off the Mexican fans that will get to cheer for their national fútbol team during its tour throughout the country, just months after el equipo azteca was almost eliminated in the qualifying tournament.
That was a crisis of such a magnitude—México hasn’t missed a World Cup since 1990—that many began to believe the ticket to the world’s fútbol fiesta was lost and with it the billions of dollars ‘El Tri’ generates in the United States alone.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of loyal fans pack the stadiums the Mexican National Team visits as part of its five-game American tour, but its poor performance in the qualifier made this year’s iteration seem bleak, to say the least.
But Goddess Fortuna turned benevolent and graced Mexico, its 17 US sponsors, and the TV and radio networks owning its rights on this side of the border, where some 11.7 million Mexican immigrants live with or without documents.
Team Mexico made it to the World Cup after annihilating a weak New Zealand squad in a two-game series late last year. And to celebrate the achievement, Soccer United Marketing, the business arm of Major League Soccer, arranged to have ‘El Tri’ visit the US to play six games in the six-month period before the global tournament.
In fact, many World Cup-bound teams will stop to play in the United States prior to their debut in Brazil, but none will play as many games as México.
Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, England, Greece, and Ivory Coast will be playing two games each in US venues before setting out to South America. The first three teams in this list will face México.
In the meantime, Team USA will only play one game in its own home, and it will be against México.
Mexican National Team US Tour 2014
|México vs. Nigeria||March 4||Atlanta, Georgia|
|México vs. Ecuador||March 31||Arlington, Texas|
|USA vs. México||April 2||Glendale, Arizona|
|México vs. Bosnia||June 3||Chicago, Illinois|
|México vs. Portugal||June 6||Foxboro, Massachusetts|