Whatever Happened To Beer?

By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán & President of the WBC

Boxing is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is a fact, based on reports from companies specialized in the professional measurement of ratings, that boxing generates very important numbers in all kinds of competitions and events.

The impact that boxing has in the Olympic Games is much higher than that of most sports. It is one of the most viewed by fans all over the world.

The numbers generated by an important fight in a country where there is an idol are stratospheric and, in reality, there are always a significant number of superstars in the world at any one time.

Right now, for example, there are the following super-idols, who are scoring big on the aforementioned meters: Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in the U.K.; Oleksandr Usyk and Vasily Lomachenko in Ukraine; Naoya Inoue and Ryota Murata in Japan; George Kambosos Jr. in Australia; Gennady Golovkin in Kazakhstan; Gervonta Davis, Ryan García, Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, and a few more in the United States; and, obviously, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez in Mexico and U.S.A.

Canelo’s fights exceed the audience of the matches of the Mexican National soccer team, the classics America vs. Chivas, the World Series, the Super Bowl, and any other event or program that has high ratings.

Boxing and wrestling were essential sports for programming when television was born in Mexico. Those who had a television at home opened their doors so that the community could see the traditional Saturday boxing show and, in many cases, they even charged a coin for anyone who wanted to be present.

This phenomenon generated countless moments of joy among Mexican families. Nowadays, people talk with great nostalgia about how those moments marked a feeling that is carried for life. I talk to people and they tell me, with great emotion, that their childhood memory was sitting next to their father or grandfather watching Boxing on Saturday nights.

Just as television found a great benefit from the transmission of this sport, the capitalization and monetization of it came hand in hand. The canvas turned out to be an amazing advertising space.

Cerveceria Modelo, with its Corona beer, took over the space and managed to position its brand in boxing in Mexico and, eventually, in the United States and other countries.

For Corona, it was a win-win because in addition to positioning the brand on the canvas, corners and ring card girls that announce the rounds, the consumption of beer in arenas and stadiums generated very important sales. Obviously, the viewers at home also took Corona as the premium beer, generating sales that thus closed the perfect deal.

Televisa, Corona and the Arena Coliseo was the perfect combination, and the business model that brought untold fortunes. Such was the success that every Wednesday and Saturday there was boxing in this legendary venue.

It was 47 years in which Televisa broadcast boxing uninterruptedly in its programming, until the day they made the decision to take it off the air. Die-hard fans were left only with the transmission of pay-per-view fights, which generated a fortune in signal sales, but abandoned the real fans as many of them could not afford to buy pay-per-view.

The U.S.A. had so many similar cases, such as Tuesday Night Fights, which aired on a network which I can’t recall its name. Decades of Top Rank Friday night series in ESPN, The Forum in Los Angeles with Monday night boxing, ABC, CBS, etc. Budweiser, Miller Lite and other beer brands were right there as main sponsors.

Coming back to Mexico, when Azteca TV ventured into boxing, around 2006, it brought Tecate as their partner, and immediately exploded in popularity and great results.

With innovative marketing and advertising campaigns of the highest level of ingenuity, such as having included Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” and his famous “You need to see more BOX,” Tecate knocked Corona out, taking over the ownership of boxing in Mexico and the United States, but it went far beyond boxing: the level of sales. Even today, it is a case study for experts and universities.

What’s amazing is that now Tecate is getting out of boxing too! This sport is labeled and identified with the brand; for the same reason, consumption continues, and the geniuses have decided not to sponsor, because without spending they are enjoying the results with great sales and brand identification and loyalty from fans.

Boxing is the ugly duckling, maybe it always will be. For decades, the only sponsor it had was beer, and today it’s not even there anymore.

Blue chip corporations have a wrong perception: “we do not sponsor contact sports”. It is ridiculous, because those same brands that close the doors to those who look for sponsorship in boxing, are advertised in American football, which is a very violent sport, in car races, where tragic accidents are seen, etc.

Of course, when a Julio César Chávez or a Canelo Alvarez appears, the opportunists do arrive and ride the train of victory. There they do open their wallets and spend fortunes to publish that they are Canelo’s sponsors.

Where were they when that 15-year-old boy didn’t have any help? Where are they to promote the boy or girl who today needs support to seek her development and become the next idol of Mexico?

Once again, I wish to recognize the greatness of Carlos Slim and his Telmex Telcel foundation. The Telmex Telcel ring program is about to celebrate its 15th anniversary, which grants monthly scholarships to 20 boxers, so that they have what they need to dedicate themselves to boxing, and are allowed the opportunity to seek their dreams and success.

Canelo was a member of the first generation of this program: yes, Canelo received much needed support when he was starting his career, and thus the program has already generated 19 world champions!

This is the situation of our sport, the one that has given Mexico 13 Olympic medals, although there should be many more. The amateur sector in our country is dead, but boxing has already generated more than 200 world champions.

I wish the industry would turn to see the sport that, in addition, fulfills such an important social task: it fights head-on against violence, vandalism, addictions, and promotes physical activation and general health.

DID YOU KNOW…?

Mexico already has several young prospects out there who are shaping up to be the next boxing idols: Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz has already conquered the American market, is a WBC silver champion, and is getting closer to contesting the world championship. David Picasso is an undefeated young man, WBC-NABF monarch, and, in addition, he is studying two careers at UNAM University. This Friday a great fighter from Culiacan was announced, Héctor “El Güerito” Escobar, who already had four thousand fans by winning the WBC-Fecarbox title.

TODAY’S ANECDOTE

My dad lived through the golden age of Mexico, when what I described at the beginning was happening. Corona was a very popular beer throughout the country. Don José was dating my mother in Ciudad Victoria, they were romantic times in our country: walking through the square, enjoying the song of the magpies at dusk, and the respectful kiss when leaving her at the door of her house.

In a meeting with senior executives from Corona, my dad told them about his relationship with that brand: “My wife, Martha, has a sister, Magdalena. In our youth they attracted a lot of attention, because they were very pretty and walked down the street with great movement of waist. It was then that an advertising campaign for Corona came out when they launched the Coronita (a small size bottle), and the moth baptized them as the Corona sisters, the advertising said: Corona and Coronita! You can’t go wrong with either the big or the small one!

I welcome your feedback at [email protected]

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  • Boxing’s diminished popularity has much less to do with beer sponsors pulling out, and much more to do with sanctioning organizations chasing fees by creating so many bogus belts and weight divisions that even hard-core fans cannot tell who the champions are in each division.

    • You hit the nail on the head, and since the rise of the UFC (wherein there is only one champion per division and no running away from the division contenders) it only serves to highlight the ridiculousness of boxing having such an alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies and multiple champions. Can anyone imagine if the NFL, NBA or MLB organized their leagues in such a way so that more than one team each year could claim the right as Super Bowl champions, NBA champions, or MLB World Series champions? What would even be the point of claiming that you were champion when there’s more than one? Boxing would do itself a great service to join together or mutual dissolve all these organizations into one.

      • Joining them into one wouldn’t solve the problem of them all being corrupt-need to dissolve them all and replace with an honest organization. Better chance of Jesus coming back.

    • Yes- can remember when championship fights used to be major sporting events in the US. Most sports fans could name the champions in the six highest weight divisions. Not too much interest in the flyweights or bantamweights since so few of them here.

  • Why do they even allow this piece of shit to write articles for their site??? YOU ARE A JOKE!!! No one gives a shit about your shitty Corona!! Forever the beer of boxing was Budweiser, (also a shit beer). You’d see it in the middle of the ring on the canvas all the time. You only care about Corona, Modelo, Tecate, ect…. You also suck Canelo’s dick like it’s a bottle of shitty Corona, and you swallow every last drop.

  • “Tuesday Night Fights, which aired on a network which I can’t recall its name..”
    – USA Networks’ Tuesday Night Fights with Sean O’Grady and Al Albert.
    – It aired from October 1, 1982, through August 25, 1998 on the USA Network; at one time it was the longest continually-running boxing show on television.

  • Jose, nice article but U remember yr father was good 4 boxing but he also was bad 4 boxing!!! For years I couldn’t understand how he was president of the WBC & Y not some1 else? Then I grew up & found out he owned the company that stoled & corrupted $ from the sport I grew up 2 love! Jose Sr. & BSter Don King became VERY good friends. Both corrupted the business & stoled $ from fighters!!! I prey u don’t follow yr fathers foot steps!!! Remember this is coming from a fighter who didn’t win a World Title because n da ‘80’s it wasn’t so easy 2 hav a belt around yr waist. ️Kid‍♂️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️

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