What: Portada talked with Amaury Vergara Zatarain, director of the Chivas de Guadalajara soccer club, about how ChivasTV is here to change the business of televised soccer.
Why it matters: Since 2016, ChivasTV has endeavored to position one of LigaMX’s most recognized teams without having an open television presence. Now, the team is looking to expand its technology beyond broadcasting matches.
When Chivas, the Mexican soccer team of Guadalajara, launched the ChivasTV platform to broadcast its matches online, few believed it would be a viable thing. In addition to separating from Televisa, the most powerful TV network in Mexico, Chivas began to tear down the “if it does not appear on television, it does not exist” myth.
Nearly a year after its launch, ChivasTV could revolutionize sports marketing in Mexico, with statistics, data, and trends that can be put to good use by brands as well as other football clubs. Portada spoke with its director, Amaury Vergara Zatarain, the only son of Jorge Vergara Madrigal, president of Grupo Omnilife, and owner of Chivas and ChivasTV.
“Chivas TV, in addition to expanding the exposure of the Chivas brand, is a tool that has revolutionized the company’s marketing department to the degree that we’ve created a completely new area focused on digital innovation,” said Vergara Zatarain.
In addition to expanding the exposure of the Chivas brand, is a tool that has revolutionized the company’s marketing department.
The goal of this area will be to develop technology products for both Chivas and other soccer clubs, such as metadata analysis and trade statistics. The information will come from the box offices of clubs that link up with the company’s Department of Digital Innovation to generate their own technology products or process their own information.
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Through “a philosophy of sharing and exchanging,” ChivasTV would process other clubs’ information in exchange for being able to use it to create analyses and market studies, which in turn would be tapped by interested companies, said Vergara Zatarain.
ChivasTV, One Year Later
“With the old TV network we were on, we did not have the global exposure we have now, with a presence in 55 countries,” said Vergara Zatarain. In his opinion, the former network was wasting the relationship that exists between the Chivas brand and Mexicaness.
However, when Chivas left open television, advertisers did not seem desperate to continue supporting the team. After its exit from open television, the club lost sponsorships from brands like Adidas and Bimbo.
With the old TV network we were on, we did not have global exposure.
The club is currently supported by Tecate, Puma, and Caliente. “These brands are all on board because they are very clear about the direction in which the industry, the marketing, and the content are moving,” said Vergara Zatarain.
For example, said the director, a graduate of the New York Film Academy whose resume includes working on the Guillermo del Toro film Pan’s Labyrinth: “How many times people see repetitions on social media is often more relevant than one-time views on television. We are trying to work with the brands that already understand this, and eventually, hope to have more come on board. ”
To do this, the goal will be to maintain a neutral position in the broadcasts ─ without favoring Chivas ─, plus have guests from other clubs, and generate a “healthy rivalry” among the other teams.
In this way, Chivas is seeking to “create a narrative that is more neutral, instead of black and white; lifting the rival to then have a worthy opponent. We are looking to get the fans to not only love the team, but to love the sport.”
We are looking to get the fans to not only love the team, but to love the sport.
One of the strongest criticisms the ChivasTV platform has received is its technical problems, such as losing the signal during broadcasts. In response, the company will be launching a new 2.0 platform in the coming months, so that even if the user has a bad Internet connection, the signal will not be interrupted, explained Vergara Zatarain.
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ChivasTV has a presence in 55 countries, but the United States is not one of them because Chivas signed an exclusive agreement with Univision that prevents it from broadcasting on its own platform in the U.S. However, this contract expires in 2019, so this could change in the not too distant future.
What the Experts Say about ChivasTV
Hugo Sanchez Gudiño, sports analysis expert for UNAM:
- It’s a reflection of its owner, Jorge Vergara. He’s a risky entrepreneur who is always on the lookout for new things.
- Brands that do not undertake new challenges stay stuck with a small audience and stagnate. The brands that survive in this globalized world are those that propose new initiatives, especially in technical terms. This brand was vegetating for a long time, with internal conflicts and its own fan base, but seems to have woken up.
- It is a hit because the public is no longer passive and wants the brand to interact with it.
Carlos Elizondo Ramírez, independent consultant, sports marketing specialist:
- Those most affected are the fans that don’t have a good Internet connection.
- For many brands, it is still not an attractive option, as several have dropped them. Those brands prefer electronic and open media, such as television.
- I am sure that this move is not about turning a profit soon─ it is about building something, which is perhaps the future of soccer. Other clubs couldn’t pull this off, but Chivas, with its vast resources, can do that and more.
By Gabriela Gutiérrez M.