Dallas Cowboys' Stadium Is New Second Home for Mexican Soccer

(Bloomberg) -- The Mexican national soccer team has more fans in America than the U.S. team, and its games north of the border consistently draw huge crowds.

With that in mind, the Mexican national team has committed to four games -- one per year through 2022 -- at AT&T Stadium, the 80,000-seat home of the Dallas Cowboys. The agreement, brokered by Major League Soccer-owned Soccer United Marketing, aims to build an annual Super Bowl of sorts for Mexican soccer fans in North Texas.

In addition to the games themselves, a fan festival will be held every year in downtown Dallas, and the Cowboys will promote the Mexican team during National Football League games.

Known by fans as “El Tri,” the Mexican team will participate in year-round community initiatives targeting the local Hispanic population, both on the soccer field and in classrooms. And when El Tri is playing elsewhere, local MLS franchise FC Dallas will host watch parties aimed at maintaining the city as a hub for Mexico fans.

The deal will bring El Tri “closer to its fan base,” Yon de Luisa, president of the Mexican soccer federation, said in a statement.

Long History

The games will also continue a long history of the Mexican national team playing games in America, a chance to compete in front of its numerous U.S. fans and to capitalize on the commercial opportunities. The Mexican team played the second-ever event at AT&T Stadium, a sold-out match against Haiti in July 2009. This year, in its five U.S. games, El Tri averaged 63,500 fans a game.

The annual Dallas game, and the events surrounding it, will also be an added opportunity for El Tri’s U.S. partners. They include Adidas AG, AT&T Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Nissan Motor Co., Delta Air Lines Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

There are roughly 34 million American residents with Mexican heritage, according to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center, a number that alone would rank as the 41st-largest country in the world. Soccer United Marketing, which has managed the Mexican national team’s commercial U.S. rights for the past 16 years, estimates that El Tri has more than 40 million fans in the U.S.

The AT&T arena is just slightly smaller than the largest stadium in Mexico, Mexico City’s 87,000-seat Estadio Azteca, where the Mexican team typically plays its most important home games.

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