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In Midst of Demographic Shift, Henry Cardenas Leads His Respected Experiential Marketing Firm & Dreams of Bringing Spain's "El Clasico" to the U.S.

Cardenas Marketing Network Leverages Multicultural Authenticity to Connect With U.S. Latino Audiences via Experiential Marketing, Live Events Marketing and Digital Marketing Platforms Including Organizing Premier Latin Music Concerts and Soccer Matches

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - August 20, 2014) - Henry Cardenas knows how to put on a good show. He's been doing it for 30 years. The Cali, Colombia born experiential marketing and live events marketing entrepreneur continues to do what he does best with the same passion and engagement that he felt executing his very first live music show back in the early 1980s. 

One of the first events his company put together was the Pan American Music Festival held in his adopted home of Chicago back in 1985. The event was a resounding success and provided him with the impetus to move forward with greater ambition and confidence.

Since then, Cardenas Marketing Network has gone on to produce some of the highest grossing acts in Latin music history, including Marc Anthony at Madison Square Garden ($1.7 million, 2009), Mana at the Allstate Arena ($1.7 million, 2007), and Vicente Fernandez at the Madison Square Garden ($1.5 million, 2008). 

In 2012, CMN produced the most successful Latin music tour in company history: the GIGANT3S U.S. Tour. That remarkable tour was one of the most successful U.S. Latin music productions of all time. The GIGANT3S U.S. Tour, starring Marc Anthony, Chayanne and Marco Antonio Solis, grossed over $10 million in ticket sales during its seven-week, 14-city tour, going on to capture the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot Tours Chart (September 2012).

This year, Marc Anthony, the Nuyorican superstar singer, producer and songwriter, sold 1.2 million tickets, convening huge sellout crowds throughout his international "Vivir Mi Vida" World Tour. The one year-tour took Anthony to 15 countries and over 50 cities throughout the Americas. With close to $20 million in gross revenues ($19.8 million), the North American leg of the "Vivir Mi Vida" Tour ranks 54th in the 2013 Pollstar Year-end Top 200 North American Tours report.


As much as he loves Latin music, Henry Cardenas is equally passionate about futbol/soccer and the intersection of event & sports marketing.

His first live soccer event was a match between Brazilian club Flamengo vs an All Stars team Mexico dubbed "El Clasico Downey" held in Fullerton, California back in 1990.

It was a solid first effort yielding 11,000 sold tickets and a strong partnership with Downy (Procter and Gamble), as the the lead sponsor combining both traditional and experiential marketing. Since that historic first match, Cardenas has successfully developed this niche and produced over 100 soccer exhibitions and sport event marketing campaigns.

His passion for futbol reached new heights on February 2010, when he acquired the U.S. rights to two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Argentina, featuring soccer's preeminent global superstar, Lionel Messi.

The first match as part of the AFA partnership took place on March 26, 2011 against the U.S. National Team at MetLife Stadium, establishing a new attendance of 80,000. That record did not last much.

The next year, CMN produced its second match for Argentina against archrival Brazil, beating their own record and drawing over 82,000 to witness Messi secure a "hat trick" (3 goals scored), to propel the Albiceleste to a 4-3 victory against their South American nemesis. The match also became the fastest-selling soccer exhibition in U.S. history (five weeks).


Even with all of his astounding success, Cardenas is convinced that there is still much room to grow. Furthermore, he believes the time is right to take decisive steps to position his multicultural marketing firm to experience fast and exponential growth in unison with the dramatic growth of the U.S. Hispanic community.

"The U.S. Hispanic community is the new mainstream," he says. "A growing number of savvy U.S. brands and marketers are beginning to fully come to grips with this new reality and are poised to increase their marketing spend to connect with this audience."

In today's America, savvy politicians court the Latino vote, smart marketers run ads in English and Spanish, and anyone who is interested in selling anything -- from a Fortune 500 firm to a bakery owner in a small city -- must have a Hispanic marketing plan.

"Hispanic marketing is not longer just another niche market," Cardenas asserts. "Marketing to Latinos should be viewed as a vital element in a brand's general market strategy."

Cardenas, a Northeastern Illinois University graduate, is taking a number of steps to further strengthen and diversity his company's capabilities and reach. Earlier this year, Cardenas hired a prominent U.S. Hispanic advertising executive, and the company is in the midst of making other key hires and making other strategic investments in the areas of field, experiential, and digital marketing.

"Our unique ability to connect with Hispanic Millennials and other key Hispanic sub-groups is invaluable," Cardenas asserts. "All brands seek to connect with young consumers. They represent the future, and the future is Latino. We are in an enviable position, with proven expertise to connect with this demographic. That is why we are getting ourselves ready to fully capitalize on ever larger upcoming opportunities."

Cardenas, who earned an MBA from Governor State University, says his firm is ready engage in capacity building, and is looking to increase the variety and range of the services it provides to clients. The larger strategic goal is to, eventually, be ready to compete with the likes of Live Nation and IMG.

"We are getting ready to go head-to-head with the titans of the industry. We have the talent, the vision, the experience, and we have the demographics of this country pulling in our favor," Cardenas says. "We are a 100% minority owned company getting ready to shed the minority label and to dismiss any limiting thoughts or limited vision. Just like the U.S. Hispanic community, we are getting ready to take a full seat at the table and to compete to become a major player in the broader U.S. marketing industry."

Pending professional dream?

To organize the world's top "El Clasico," Spain's oldest and most treasured soccer rivalry: Real Madrid vs Barcelona in the United States. CMN has a non-exclusive partnership with FC Barcelona to sell sponsorships in the United States and Latin America.

"[Latin] music and futbol/soccer run deep in my blood," he says. "Other than bringing the FIFA World Cup back to the United States, what could be better than organizing a whole spectacle around the world's most revered 'Clasico'? I would love to make it happen."

About Cardenas Marketing Network: Cardenas Marketing Network is a multicultural experiential marketing agency that connects consumers and brands through their passion points of music, sports and cultural culture. The award-winning agency has been recognized by Ad Age, Event Marketer's Top Agency "It List," Chief Marketer's "Promo 100" and Crain's Chicago Business "Fast 50" among others for its service to such clients as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo, H&R Block, Johnson & Johnson, Nike and Sherwin-Williams. For more information please visit: CMNevents.com.

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