the roar of the tigers of the Mexican Baseball League (LMB) begins to find a home after wandering through caves in Mexico City as well as in Puebla and Cancún. In 2022, the team celebrates 15 years of having established itself on the beaches of Quintana Roo and has managed to cement its fan base in that region with 70% of its total.
“Quintana Roo in general has 70% of Tigres fans today, while 20% comes from Mexico City and the rest is divided between 3% for Yucatán and 7% in other states. All the fans from both Mexico City and Puebla, Quintana Roo and wherever, are obviously important, for us they are always very important, ”explains Joan Cetina, media and marketing manager for El Economista. Quintana Roo Tigers.
The ninth feline has struggled to find a home. Its foundation dates back to April 10, 1955 under the nickname of Tigres Capitalinos, residing in Mexico City in the Parque del Seguro Social and Foro Sol, where they spent 46 years and won eight championships. LMB. Later they moved to the Aquiles Serdán stadium in Puebla, where they played from 2002 to 2007 as Tigres de la Angelópolis and got one more star.
After that came the announcement from the team’s former owners, the Peralta family, about moving to Cancun, a city in which the Atlante club competed at the same time in the First Division of Mexican soccer. The move was approved by the then governor of Quintana Roo, Félix González Canto, who pointed out that “Tigres is moving to Cancun in search of a permanent and not temporary change.”
15 years after the establishment in the Caribbean, the tigers Quintana Roo have added another three stars to their record and remain the second most successful team in the history of the LMB (12, only behind the 16 of Diablos Rojos del México). In addition, his resume has been seasoned with a 205 million-peso remodeling for his stadium (Beto Ávila) and a change of owner in the name of Fernando Valenzuela, the legendary Mexican star player for the Dodgers in the 1980s. .
“Economically I don’t know if there has been an impact due to the arrival of Fernando (Valenzuela) to the team, but I can say that he has brought a very big plus for being the best Mexican baseball player in history, there are some fans who come for him when he throws the first ball. In terms of marketing there is not so much effect, but in sports it is because based on his experience he can bring in hidden players who are very good. Now we have some Mexican-Americans who lived in Los Angeles and he saw them”, emphasizes Joan Cetina.
Although he assures that the 15 years have been profitable for the franchise in Cancun territory, he also points out that they have been times “of ups and downs” due to market variations in terms of target and identity. Cancun is a destination that produces about 87% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Quintana Roo through the tourist demand, in which there are about 490,000 employees from different entities, so building roots for a sports team has its difficulties.
“I see brand positioning as positive, it has been 15 long years in which two directives have passed and in which we have come across an interesting problem that is the change in the market. In Cancun the market is very volatile, there are people who come from Yucatan, Chiapas, Tabasco or Mexico City and suddenly being able to click with them to generate fans for the team, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a difficult mission (. ..) It’s complicated because people have other priorities in Cancun like working, but there are many sports fans and people enjoy it”.
Among the strategies that the team has implemented to generate this roots are an agreement with a local television station, “which has helped us to reposition the Tigres brand within the state and within the city of Cancun,” as well as an alliance with the Association of Vacation and Tourist Complexes (ACOTUR), which opened the door to stadium entrance discounts for 54,000 hotel chain employees and for a potential universe of two million foreign visitors.
Due to the labor qualities of the city of Cancun, there is a very marked target towards which the Tigres are focusing: “The new fans are arriving with respect to the market that is moving in Cancun, they are normally men between 23 and 55 years old, that is our greatest range, the one with the most movement in the city. Many people tend to come to Cancun to work for a few years and then return to their hometown or change cities, so that is the market range with the most movement”.
Before the pandemic paralyzed the LMB (in 2020 there was no season and in 2021 the schedule and capacity were cut), the average attendance to see the Tigres de Quintana Roo was on the rise. According to figures shared with this newspaper by the club, in 2017 they received 147,419 fans in 49 games, that is, an average of 3,008 per game; for 2019 that number rose to 226,525 fans in 59 games, an average of 3,839 and a percentage increase of 27 percent.
“I think there are Tigres for a while in Quintana Roo. We are from here, from here we want to continue to be and we will continue to be. They have been very nice years with three championships and we are going to look for the fourth. They have been profitable for 15 years, Cancun is the paradise of Mexico, everyone wants to work and come here, many companies are executed and progress and for a sports franchise there is also that attraction, “says the marketing and communication manager.
In these 15 years, Tigres has coexisted in cancun with other professional sports teams such as Atlante (Liga MX), Cancún FC (Expansión League) and Pioneros (National Professional Basketball League). In that period they have understood that these clubs were not and are not a competition for their market (Atlante and Pioneros are no longer), in addition to the fact that there are other conditions to analyze.
“We did not feel Atlante as a competition or threat, there were people who liked baseball or soccer and could enjoy both, even Atlante players often came to baseball (…) I cannot say if Atlante has left It benefited or harmed us in terms of tickets or consumption, but being the most important sporting event in both the city and the state is important to us and we want to continue being so”.
Economically, the team is defined in a “stable” situation with which they are competing for the leadership of the South Zone, having the second highest number of wins with eight (.533 winning percentage) until the closing of this edition, only behind the nine of Olmecas de Tabasco and Pericos de Puebla. The objective a priori is to be champion for the fourth time in Cancun and for the thirteenth time in general in its history.
Other plans contemplate a greater attraction of local talent, since from 2018 to date they have added at least four players of Quintana Roo origin to their main roster and in part thanks to a training school that they have in agreement with the Boston School in Cancun.
The Beto Ávila stadium is also being part of a federal level plan for the remodeling of three stadiums in the Mexican southeast, including the home of the Olmecas de Tabasco and the Piratas de Campeche, whose total investment will be 499 million pesos through of the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development (SEDATU).
“The most important thing for us is to leave a mark on people. We recently had a series playing administratively at home in Mexico City and it’s amazing how fans from 21 years ago continue to support us. The most important thing is that Tigres be a culture within the people, that this fanaticism can pass from generation to generation”, concludes Joan Cetina Martínez.