Gerardo Martino: Business gets in the way of football with ‘El Tri’

Gerardo Martino will be remembered as the head coach who delivered possibly one of Mexico’s poorest showings at a World Cup. ‘El Tri’ failed to make it past the group stage for the first time since 1978 and only managed two goals in three games. Despite the end result, the 60-year-old manager believes that Mexico put in a reasonable performance in Qatar.

“We competed well in the three group stage matches. We didn’t reach our level of the first two years in charge, but we did improve in the last one [2022]. I understand that we should’ve finished second in our group, but the results at the end were not a surprise. We tied on points with Poland for second place, we lost against the winners [Argentina] and we defeated Saudi Arabia,” said Martino during an interview with Radio 780 Paraguay.

Mexican football is a business

It is no secret that Mexico is one of the national teams that generates the most money during a World Cup cycle. Prior to the 2018 tournament, El Tri had a total of 12 sponsors and four years later they had 20 that included the likes of: Adidas, Banorte, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Kavak, Bitso, Xiaomi, Sabritas, Gamesa, BeGo, Lala , Corona, Visa, G500, Betcris, Izzi, LG, Draftea, ADO and Hyperice, according to Havas Media Group.

The sponsors are considered premium given the revenue they generate for the national team during each World Cup cycle. Per report, the Mexican Federation received between $100 to $150 million per year from those endorsements, with Adidas alone paying $80 million per year and the other sponsors generating between $20 to $45 million.

A Mexican fan l

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In September 2022, prior to the start of the World Cup, Mexico was in fourth place in the amount of replica jerseys sold around the world with 1.6 million and they were only surpassed by Spain, Argentina and France. The rest of the money that the Federation receives are from broadcasting rights (30%) and ticket sales (20%). According to El EconomistMexico receives around $9 million for each friendly they play in the United States under the new contract extension they signed until 2026 with Soccer United Marketing (SUM).

Having said all that, when Martino accepted the Mexico job in 2019, he didn’t know how much of a business the national team was. “The business aspect is very apparent. I am not against it, because that is what pays the salary of everyone and we couldn’t live without the business aspect of the sport. But in my opinion I would like something more balanced.

Gerardo 'Tata' Martino

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Gerardo ‘Tata’ MartinoJose MendezEFE

I understand what is needed for this to continue growing, but football cannot be left out. It is not only about generating money because we are letting the sport die and if it dies, the business aspect dies as well.”

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