CHICAGO, IL – Multicultural sports and events marketing agency Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN) has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Asociacion del Futbol Argentino (Argentine Football Association, AFA).

The agreement marks the first-ever strategic partnership by AFA in the U.S. and includes the organization of international matches featuring two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina through June 2014.

Under terms of the agreement, CMN will manage the exclusive commercial rights, including broadcast, marketing and sponsorship rights of the Argentinean National Team in the U.S. The new alliance will also allow CMN to organize matches in select European countries including Spain, Italy and Germany. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The first match in the U.S. is scheduled to take place later this year, following the team’s participation at the FIFA World Cup, to be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11. Details of that match will be announced in the near future.

“The Argentine Football Association is without a doubt one of the most recognized and accomplished football organizations in the world,” said Henry Cardenas, Chief Executive Officer of CMN. “With the World Cup nearing and a great depth of promising young players led by Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world, this is an exciting time for Argentina.

“We look forward to expanding AFA’s illustrious brand in the U.S. and showcasing Argentina’s roster of world-class players to soccer fans across the nation.”

Cardenas has been producing soccer matches in the U.S. since the early 1990s, including exhibitions featuring Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Paraguay, as well as a series of matches between Mexico and Argentina from 1999 to 2002. He has also produced friendlies featuring top clubs from North and South America including Club America (Mexico), Boca Juniors (Argentina), River Plate (Argentina), Santos (Brazil), and Nacional (Uruguay), among others.

Most recently, CMN, a 100% privately owned company, has spearheaded sports marketing campaigns for companies such as Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and Anheuser-Busch.

“It is encouraging to know that Argentina will have a bigger presence in the U.S., where soccer continues to grow and where South Americans have played an important role,” said Julio Grondona, President of AFA and Vice President of FIFA. “We hope that this influence will continue to develop and complement the great efforts, both on the field and off, that are already in place in today’s fastest growing soccer market.”

Led by Argentine soccer legend and four-time World Cup star Diego Armando Maradona, the Albicelestes (Sky Blue and Whites) earned their 15th World Cup berth on October 14, 2009 with a 1-0 win over Uruguay in Montevideo. Argentina finished fourth in South American qualifying with an 8-4-9 record and 28 points. The team is currently ranked eighth in the world.

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