There are few names in Mexican soccer as storied and well-known as Chivas Guadalajara. The team has 11 Primera Division titles - tied for the most all-time - and has one of the largest groups of supporters in Mexico.
It seemed a good idea when the club decided to establish a franchise in the MLS, one of the world's fastest growing soccer leagues. It also made sense to locate that club in Los Angeles, home to one of the United States' largest Latino communities.
However, Chivas USA has seen lax attendance, little engagement with fans and poor on-field performances. One former consultant for the organization says there are several reasons why Chivas USA has failed to garner a real following, but a marketing model that alienates a vast portion of the local Hispanic community is perhaps the most significant.
In LA Observed, Phil Wallace, who did consultancy work for Chivas USA several years ago, noted that the club's branding suffers from what we will call, "The Yankee Effect". Much like the successful baseball team from New York, many Mexicans despise the Chivas name. Here is what Wallace had to say:
"Since Chivas Guadalajara is considered the "Yankees of Mexico," that means they're both the most loved and hated team in the country. People who are fans of Club America (arguably the "Red Sox of Mexico") despise the Chivas brand, along with fans of other Mexican rivals. So Chivas USA could essentially only appeal to a segment of Mexican fans in Los Angeles."
Data from Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing backs up Wallace's claim. The source analyzed how many times each Mexican top-flight club was mentioned in the digital sphere within the United States this year. Club America was mentioned more than 250,000 times, while Chivas was mentioned just over 90,000 times. Although it is hardly definitive evidence that Club America is a bigger club in the United States, it does add some credence to the argument that Chivas USA has dropped the ball in its attempts to engage with Hispanic natives in Los Angeles.