What: Tech newcomer Tronsmart has signed Uruguay National Team star Luis Suárez as brand ambassador in advance of the FIFA World Cup next month.
Why it matters: Brands that don't have the wherewithal for official FIFA World Cup partnerships can still find under-the-radar ways of promoting their products during the time when soccer fever is highest across the world.
The FIFA World Cup () is nearly upon us, with Group Play in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities just six weeks away. Global brands are finding their way into the games, whether through official sponsorships or back-door via deals with individual athletes as spokesmen.
Upstart Chinese tech firm Tronsmart (@Tronsmart ), founded less than five years ago to take advantage of the burgeoning global live streaming TV box market, has kicked off marketing to soccer fans by signing Uruguay National Team star Luis Suárez as brand ambassador in a deal announced this week. While not thought of by some fans in the same breath as other South American countries like Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay has a deep, strong World Cup history and is considered a solid contender to advance out of Group play by many prognosticators.
With World Cup sponsorships coming fast and furious leading up to and through the summer, a brand like Tronsmart may have found an under-the-radar way to reach sports fans.
The prolific goal scorer (), who also stars for FC Barcelona (), is an inspired if perhaps risky choice for the Shenzhen-based firm's first real foray into sports marketing. The Salto native made headlines in the last World Cup in Brazil, having been found to have bitten Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during a match. That cost him a sponsorship with fledgling online poker company 888poker thereafter and was suspended for a time because of the action.
But Suárez has bounced back, leaving Liverpool and the Premier League after the incident and moving to La Liga, where he's been a consistent scorer for Barça. He was able to keep his Adidas sponsorship and is still active with numerous partners in his native Uruguay, including telecommunications giant Antel.
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"Mr. Suárez is an international icon that has won fans all around the world," said Mr. Eric, Chairman of Tronsmart, in a statement. "He is an extraordinary football player and a wonderful family man. I am looking forward to watching Mr. Suárez compete this year and will be rooting for him!"
With World Cup sponsorships coming fast and furious leading up to and through the summer, a brand like Tronsmart may have found an under-the-radar way to reach sports fans in its target markets in the Americas as well as Europe, Middle East, and Asia.
Cover image courtesy of Tronsmart.
Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.