Back in March, a social media meme proclaimed, “St. Patrick’s Day is over. You can now go back to being an American until Cinco de Mayo.”
It’s no secret that Americans love their margaritas and their Mexican food. They also love an excuse to party. And of course, they love their sports. So mix the Cinco de Mayo with a Saturday date and you have a perfect recipe for promotions. And from the looks of things, plenty of event owners have taken advantage of that combination.
After all, the time is ripe. According to AYTM (short for Ask Your Target Market), of all individuals who are likely to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, 42 percent said that their plans involve simply making food at home, 38 percent said they plan on going out to eat, 23 percent are attending a parade or similar organized event, 22 percent plan to go out to a bar, 17 percent are likely to either host or attend a party and three percent are undecided. Of course, the wish for people to celebrate – and for event owners to lock into that – is what is going to make the vast array of sports this time around a success.
Travel tournaments have come on strong with enormous buy-in on Cinco de Mayo. Want soccer? Google the combination of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ and ‘soccer tournament’ and you come back with more than one million hits. (Side note: muy bueno, event owners!) Among them are Got Soccer’s Cinco de Mayo Tournament (adult and youth play), Copa de Mayo in Irvine, California, Raytown’s Cinco de Mayo tournament in Missouri and Davis Legacy’s Cinco de Mayo Super Clasico Series in Nevada.
Softball has its share (136,000 of hits, in fact, with coast-to-coast events including USA Softball’s 8U Girls Fastpitch Cinco de Mayo event, the City of Portales (New Mexico)’s Cinco de Mayo Softball Tournament and the UFO 2018 Cinco de Mayo in Indiana. Baseball is equally permeated with tie-in events including those in Nevada, Washington State, California and Illinois (among many others). Both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have tie-ins that day -- and some, in fact, run throughout the weekend.
Travel tournaments are promising banquets with Mexican food, theme parties and more to entice teams to register and attend. Many are leveraging the weekend and adding Friday to it as well, to create even more of a holiday atmosphere. (Not that Cinco de Mayo is exactly a holiday – and in Mexico, it’s often not largely celebrated outside Puebla, the city in which the Mexicans gained an improbable military victory over the French in 1862). But the U.S. is happy enough to co-opt the holiday for its own partying purposes, just as it has with St. Patrick’s Day.
Another area you’ll see plenty of sports tie-ins is on the local level, where 5K races have names that include (naturally) Cinco de Mayo as well as other key words such as Fiesta, Taco and The Whole Enchilada. In fact, Running In the USA’s calendar lists more than 800 events on Saturday alone – and with some events having monikers like Cinco de Drinko and incorporating tequila shots, make no bones about being anything other than an excuse to party.
But Cinco de Mayo isn’t the only game in town this weekend. Saturday is also Kentucky Derby day, with post time at 6:50 p.m. And just as with Cinco de Mayo, you’ll be able to find plenty of tie-in events, including watch parties, hat competitions and 5Ks. But if you’re looking for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Minimarathon, you’re a little late – it was held last weekend (thereby helping with the buildup to the big event – and avoiding adding to traffic headaches in the area). Of course, there’s always the Run for the Red 5K, 10K and Kids' Fun Run in Fort Knox, Kentucky.