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Francisco Ramos Peña Roja Managing Director,  Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium

MEXICO - Tourism

Francisco Ramos Peña Roja

Managing Director, Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium

Bio

Francisco Ramos Peña Roja leads a multidisciplinary team that manages and operates the most modern baseball stadium in Latin America.

"Mexico has been an attraction point for many international leagues for quite a long time."
The Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium is home to Diablos Rojos and is also host to international events, such as the MLB World Tour. Here, Francisco Ramos Peña Roja talks to TBY.
Why is Mexico starting to attract the attention of international sport leagues?

Mexico has been an attraction point for many international leagues for quite a long time. The most important and relevant leagues in the world have experienced the success of events here as Mexican fans fill out all available spaces. Mexico City has the presence of the NFL, MLB, NBA, Formula One, PGA, and the ATP & WTA for tennis with tournaments in Acapulco, Los Cabos, Guadalajara, and Monterrey. Therefore, we can see that many sports have selected Mexico as a hub for Latin America. In our case, we have worked closely with the MLB as the most relevant baseball organization worldwide. As an example, in 2023, we held the first official Major League Baseball (MLB) series during the regular season in Mexico City. We hosted two games between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants. It was completely sold out, and all tickets ran out in less than an hour. Half of those tickets were sold outside Mexico. The games were an opportunity to showcase the stadium around the world, as the main baseball broadcasters were televising the game. We were part of the MLB World Tour, which also held games in London and Seoul. We are looking forward to continuing as host and participating in the Mexico City Series for many years to come.

What opportunities did the owners of the stadium identify in Mexico City that motivated them to invest in its construction?

This is the first stadium built in Mexico City in the last 50 years. Many of the companies and vendors were involved in this kind of construction projects for the first time. The project was also supported by other international associates for consultancy to comply with the MLB as well as the local Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. So going back to your original question, Alfredo Harp Helú, renowned Mexican businessman and philanthropist, owner of the Diablos Rojos and the stadium, made a promise to all the fans to build a definitive stadium that would be their first owned home for over more than 80 years. The team left Foro Sol, which was its previous venue and where they had experienced many “agenda conflicts” with other events such as music festivals and concerts and Formula One. The team played temporarily at local ballpark with a capacity of 5,000, but now this stadium has a capacity of 20,000. This year we had an average attendance of 10,000 visitors with a sold-out season opener, MLB Series, the “Civil War,” and playoffs. The stadium is not only about baseball, as there is a social perspective to it as well. This is a space where we can experience the different sides of Mexico, meaning arts and culture, recreation, and entertainment, and it is also a place where people from all around can enjoy the richness and diversity of Mexican culture and society.

What is the business model for the stadium, and how do you make it sustainably profitable?

That is related to all the organizations that are part of this group. If we could get a return on the construction based on only entrances, we would have to have the most expensive tickets in the world. So, it is a combination of the Diablos Rojos with different sponsorships, broadcasting alliances, merchandizing agreements, meals and beverages sales, and fees, completed with ticket revenue. Our goal and premise are to ensure that the stadium offers the best infrastructure for the games with the best technology, security and safety, and fan experience. This is the only baseball stadium in Mexico aligned to the latest MLB standards. The stadium offers the best technology to enhance the game, the experience, and to protect the players as they are also a major investment for the teams. We are proud as a stadium to offer a space and infrastructure for women at the same regular player’s clubhouse. Regarding the field itself, we have a major project to replace the turf at the end of the winter season.

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