With Corona, Chivas plan big splash in LA

Club sees partnership as a chance to "relaunch" franchise ideals

LOS ANGELES — Chivas USA have seen a number of changes this offseason, including a new head coach, a new GM and countless new players — all of whom seek to change the mentality of a club that in 2010 missed the playoffs for the first time in five years.

To add to the plethora of changes is a new corporate partner: Mexican beer company Corona. On Wednesday night, in an event in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Chivas USA announced that the Mexican beer giant will be the club’s jersey sponsor.

The multi-year partnership is one that the Rojiblancos hope can create a serious buzz among fans and business executives alike. It is also a deal that could assist Chivas USA in making a serious splash in the Los Angeles area.

“Corona is one of the most recognizable brands worldwide, and to partner with a company that has been proven to do things the right way is just the perfect match,” Chivas USA president and co-owner Antonio Cue told MLSsoccer.com. “This is a great opportunity for the franchise to relaunch a lot of ideals starting with 2011."

"We are re-doing a lot of things on the soccer side with our new coaching staff and new players, and having Corona as our main sponsor shows the tremendous respect that there is for the Chivas brand,” he added.

The Corona emblem will be front-and-center on the team jerseys, and the club is in talks with the company to have a number of promotions between the two entities, including plans for a television spot featuring the club.

Seminal to the announcement appears to be the combination of the brands of Corona and Chivas, which hold a significant weight among the Latino community. In Mexico, Corona sponsors nine teams in the Mexican first division as well as the Mexican national team and is the primary owner of the club Santos Laguna.

Several Chivas USA players were on hand for the jersey unveiling. Jimmy Conrad, Sergio Arias, Francisco “Panchito” Mendoza and Alejandro Moreno were flown in from the team’s training camp in Casa Grande, Ariz., to unveil the new kits.

(Mendoza and Arias are not officially members of Chivas USA yet, but they are expected to be announced shortly. Cue himself stated that the agreements were simply pending the approval of the league and are expected to be made public in the coming days.)

The sponsorship was just one announcement Chivas USA made on Wednesday night. In addition to Corona becoming the jersey sponsor, the Rojiblancos announced their new marketing campaign for the Los Angeles area.

Cue describe the campaign— called "Belong," or Unete in Spanish — as a way to show that Chivas USA is a club that “belongs to the city of Los Angeles.”  

It is a major power move to bring more fans to The Home Depot Center. By bringing in Corona as a new sponsor, the hope is to bridge a gap between a club that represents the entire global Chivas brand and the city of Los Angeles.

“This is about what two brands like Chivas USA and Corona can represent as ambassadors of what a great culture there is on the Mexican side,” said Cue. “But this is not only about Mexicans, it is about crossing borders and crossing cultures and understanding that Chivas USA is a Mexican and an American team. It is a team with a great Mexican heritage that plays in the US and has a great deal of potential with its fan base.”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano

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