Javier Hernandez, more commonly known as “Chicharito”, secured his status as one of Mexico’s greats having scored against Costa Rica in the World Cup qualifiers on Friday. But while the 28-year-old levelled Jared Borgetti’s record of 46 goals for his country, it was not only fans’ love for Hernandez which shone out, but Mexico’s passion for the sport.
With years of his football career ahead, Hernandez is set to play in another two World Cups for Mexico. Being temporarily level with Borgetti, Mexican viewers celebrated that Hernandez will almost certainly be able to overtake, and continue to add to his long list of accolades as Mexico’s top goalscorer.
There is no denying Mexico’s appetite for football, with the country boasting the fifth highest level of participation in football and 39% of those who participate in sport playing football regularly. Football is also the most highly televised sport in Mexico, with an enormous percentage of the population regularly following European leagues.
Mexican players have consistently done well throughout Europe, with the likes of Carlos Vela and Héctor Moreno proving themselves in world-class leagues including the Premier League and La Liga, with Mexican football fans watching and following their progress from overseas.
Hernandez is the record Mexican goalscorer in the Premier League and despite him leaving the club, every bar, restaurant and hotel in Mexico continues to show Manchester United matches live. Further demonstrating the influence of Mexican players in Europe, former players including Tottenham’s Giovani dos Santos and Watford’s Miguel Layún have also been proven to draw in increased audiences in Mexico, attracting higher viewing figures than average.
An incredible 88% of people in Mexico claim to have watched at least one La Liga match, equating to 107 million people. On top of this, 59 million football fans regularly watch broadcasts of La Liga games.
The most popular La Liga game in the 2015/16 season in Mexico was El Clasico; Real Madrid v Barcelona. The two teams have an enormous influence throughout Mexico with four of the 10 most viewed matches including Real Madrid. However, it doesn’t stop there, with the enormous number of live viewing figures, near-live broadcasts and repeats significantly increasing the cumulative audience over more than 2,100 programmes of LaLiga broadcasting in Mexico last season.
It is not only viewership which demonstrates the popularity and enormous influence La Liga has in Mexico, but the levels of engagement it brings. Repucom have stated that Mexico and South America have the second most engaged fan base in all regions, with La Liga being the most popular football league from outside Mexico.
The future looks bright for European football in Mexico as viewership continues to rise, and it certainly looks exciting for Hernandez as he looks to make the record books once again as Mexico’s top goalscorer.