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What: A new grassroots campaign, #BringUSTheGame, was launched last week by La Liga North America in support of the January 29 regular season club matchup between FC Barcelona and Girona FC.
Why it matters: La Liga and its U.S. partner Relevent Sports face opposition from some entities, including FIFA and the Spanish federation RFEF and are looking to push public opinion in its favor for the scheduled match.

Continuing its push to bring an actual league match between FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelonaand Girona FC (@GironaFCto Miami on Jan. 29, LaLiga (@LaLigaENNorth America last week announced a grassroots campaign in support of the game, which has faced some opposition from other soccer entities. Under the theme “It’s good for the fans. It’s good for the game.” the #BringUSTheGame promotion includes a mobile alerts signup, online petition and extensive online presence for the contest at Hard Rock Stadium.

“Fans across the country are excited for the chance to see their heroes play here at home. We know that the love for soccer has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years in the United States. Having the best league in the world play this game in Miami will continue to energize the millions of fans in America and accelerate the growth of the US soccer fan base,” said Boris Gartner, CEO of LaLiga North America in a statement. “This game has the chance to be something special, with real points on the line, and it is our hope that American soccer fans will get to experience the game in person played at its highest level.”

#BringUSTheGame is the league’s attempt to win in another venue: the court of public opinion.
Luis Suárez (Wikimedia/Lluís)

The top Spanish league has been one of the most proactive in extending their brand, and those of its clubs, in the U.S. and Latin America, with a variety of recent initiatives. The effort to bring this match, the first European club regular season to be held on U.S. soil, to Florida has been challenged by FIFA (@FIFAcomand the Spanish Football Federation (@rfef), whose president, Luis Rubiales, feels “disrespected” in working with groups other than RFEF to organize. The main issue is that as a league match and not a friendly, RFEF believes it should have been consulted. (Or perhaps been “cut in” on the deal?)

So where to next? Clearly, there is a market for European football in the U.S., and La Liga in particular: when Real Madrid played FC Barcelona as part of the International Champions Cup in Miami last year, over 1.7 million viewers tuned in on ESPN. Relevent Sports, La Liga’s New York-based partner in plans to bringing a game to the U.S. in each of the next 15 years, wants to avoid the characterization of the effort as an “Astroturf” campaign.

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

“As American sports clamor for exposure abroad and the major soccer clubs themselves look to grow their brands with marketing dollars here, this seems really counterintuitive,” said Harrie Bakst, a longtime sports marketer who has worked with elite teams and leagues in and out of soccer.  “This seems more like a power play internally for dollars than a real disruption in the course of business for the clubs involved. if it doesn’t happen it says a lot about the short term growth issues clubs see vs. the bigger long term picture. My bet is that there is soccer in Miami in January, the first of what will be seen as a regular occurrence in the years to come.”

It could end up in the courts, as La Liga has indicated that it would take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport should FIFA try to prevent the match from occurring. #BringUSTheGame is the league’s attempt to win in another venue: the court of public opinion. Stay tuned.

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A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Soccer club Barcelona is expecting to reach its highest ever revenues of €960 million (US$1.1 billion) during the 2018/19 season. The team also stated that it is expecting to reach its target of exceeding revenues of €1 billion by 2021.

 

  • Andrés Iniesta
    Andres Iniesta.

    Spanish player Andres Iniesta will have his own fly-on-the-wall documentary television series, focusing on his life in Japan with the J1 League Vissel Kobe team. The show will be produced by local e-commerce giant Rakuten, who financed Iniesta’s move to Kobe. The series will be available on Rakuten Viki in English, Spanish, and Japanese.

 

  • The Canadian Premier League (CPL) has signed a long-term deal with Macron, making the Italian-based company the official league kit provider beginning with the 2019 CPL season. The deal includes custom-designed playing kits and training gear for Canadian Premier League clubs; HFX Wanderers FC, York 9 FC, Forge FC, Valour FC, FC Edmonton, Cavalry FC, and Pacific FC squad and coaching staff.

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  • The New York Red Bulls has named New Jersey-based Brisas Bakery & Restaurant as the club’s official empanada. According to the club, this represents the first such sponsorship of any pro sports team in the country.

 

  • KonamiArsenal has expanded its global partnership agreement with Japanese video game company Konami, as the club’s official video game partner. In-game graphics of both the club’s first team players and the Emirates Stadium will benefit from 3D scanning, while former club legends will feature in the game for the first time.

 

  • Manchester United’s latest financial report showed revenues of UK£590 million (US$777 million). These numbers represent an increase of 1.5 percent on the previous year. The club cited sponsorship deals as a key revenue driver over the past year, with a total of seven partnerships signed including the team’s first ever sleeve sponsorship with Kohler.

 

  • The players of the FC Barcelona Club stepped into fashion by wearing Thom Browne custom made-to-measure suits for the first time, when arriving in London to play the Champions League match against Tottenham Hotspur. Thom Browne was announced as the official off-field outfitter of the Catalan soccer club in July 2018.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • SPFLScottish Professional Football League (SPFL) signed a new agreement with marketing agency Infront. The deal comes after SPFL terminated its agreement with MP & Silva after the agency failed to make a series of payments to the league. The new partnership with Infront covers the international media rights for Scotland’s top four domestic soccer leagues, as well as the Irn Bru Cup and Betfred Cup knockout competitions.

 

  • BeIN Sports and MediaPro have come together to cover Italian Serie A rights in Spain. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but it will see Mediapro showing one Serie A match per week via digital-terrestrial broadcaster Gol, while BeIN Sports broadcasts two live matches from the Italian league per week through its over-the-top service BeIN Connect.

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  • English soccer team Chelsea has entered a long-term partnership with US-based online retailer Fanatics, which will operate the club’s online store to improve the digital shopping experience. In addition, Chelsea will be able to use Fanatics’ network of domestic and international distribution centers. “Chelsea supporters all over the world will benefit from the digital-first focus of the relationship, enjoying a fantastic service across a broad range of club products,” stated Chris Townsend, Chelsea’s commercial director.

Read more: Can Ronaldo the Owner Globally Lift La Liga Too?

  • Warner Bros.AS Roma has agreed on a collaboration with Warner Bros. for the 2018/19 season. The deal will see the team participating in a number of projects, initiatives, and events. The first collaboration is a promotional video ahead of next month’s release of Venom, starring Tom Hardy. The video includes the participation of Kostas Manolas, Justin Kluivert, Antonio Mirante and captain Daniele De Rossi, and ends with a cameo from club legend Francesco Totti.

 

  • Telefonica has ended its partnerships with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Spain’s national team. The termination responds to a change in strategy from Telefonica, which recently secured the Spanish broadcast rights for the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, as well as Spanish soccer’s top tier, La Liga.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • JUGOtvJUGOtv, a sports digital media network and content production studio for the US Hispanic and Mexican audience, will become an official digital video partner for the International Champions Cup. The San Francisco-based company will create, curate and distribute exclusive International Champions Cup content to the US Hispanic and Mexican fans.

 

  • Heineken kicked off its “Summer of Soccer” campaign. As soccer viewership and fandom continue to grow throughout the U.S. Heineken has also extended its long-term partnership with Major League Soccer with a five-year renewal as the Official Beer of MLS, and will continue to sponsor Rivalry Week, which runs from Aug. 22 through Aug. 26.

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  • Thom Browne

    FC Barcelona has reached an agreement with the exclusive American fashion brand Thom Browne, which will become a global sponsor for the Club and an official formal wear provider for the team off the field of play. From this season and for the next three years, the team will wear Thom Browne clothing on their away trips. This new agreement represents the club’s objective of searching proactively for new partners.

 

 

  • Twitter’s World Cup coverage saw 115 billion impressions on the platform with fans Tweeting the most during the Final between France and Croatia. Meanwhile, the social media reports that Brazil sent more Tweets than any other nation during the World Cup, followed by Japan, the UK, the US, and France. Brazil’s Neymar, Jr. was the most-mentioned player of the tournament, and Budweiser the most-discussed brand.

 

  • Meanwhile, Facebook saw 383 million people have more than 2.3 billion interactions related to the World Cup on the platform. Brazil, the US, Mexico, India, and Vietnam, were the most engaged countries in the conversation.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • FOX SportsPac-12 Networks will carry 66 live women’s soccer games in 2018, beginning Aug. 17 with four matches highlighting the opening night. All Pac-12 universities will appear on the Networks at least seven times in 2018, with Stanford leading the way with 13 appearances.
  • FOX Sports has recorded its two most-watched days of the 2018 FIFA World Cup over the last weekend with an average viewership of 3,875,000 on Saturday and 3,158,000 on Sunday. Sunday’s Colombia/Poland match was the most-watched match of the day and drew 4,555,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network and FOX streaming sources.
  • Forbes has announced that FC Barcelona is the greatest football club in the world in terms of the quality of its sponsorship deals. The club’s annual income of 247 million US dollars is 45 million more than that of Manchester United and 47 million more than Real Madrid, who are ranked second and third. While FCB’s income was up by 15 million US dollars, Manchester United’s was down by 12 million in 2017, and Real Madrid’s by 16 million. These figures include both kit and stadium sponsorship agreements.

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  • Telemundo Deportes’ Spanish-language presentation of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia has now reached 25.7 million viewers in the first 10 days of the tournament’s Group Stage through Saturday, according to Nielsen data. Telemundo Deportes’ digital presentation also scored records, surpassing one billion live minutes streamed last Saturday.
  • Rwanda is defending its multi-million dollar deal to sponsor the Arsenal soccer team, by telling politicians from European donor countries it is “none of their business”. Rwanda reportedly paid the London club $40 million to have Arsenal players wear the “Visit Rwanda” tourist board logo on one sleeve.

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • SportsManiasTelemundo is planning on partnering with SportsManias to create a World Cup-themed keyboard, providing fans with animated soccer emojis for this summer’s FIFA World Cup. According to the broadcaster announcement, the keyboard will feature animated emojis of players scoring goals and celebrating, referees pulling out red cards, fans waving their country’s colors, and more.
  • According to Nielsen, the FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid game last May 6 made beIN SPORTS’ ratings spike. “El Clasico” matchup between LaLiga archrivals averaged more than 1.4 million total viewers across both networks.
  • Post Cereals Kicks-Off Major League Soccer Support, as the Official Cereal of MLS. Starting in June, limited edition MLS cereal boxes can be found at grocery stores nationwide, featuring collectible Topps MLS player trading card cut-outs. In addition, more than 20 events will be held in grocery store parking lots across the country from June through August.
  • GoGo squeeZ has been named the official applesauce and yogurt sponsor of the 2018 Kick It National Tour. The Tour officially begins on June 2 and will involve more than 30,000 youth soccer players across more than 70 events in 2018.
  • FC Diez Media, IMG and Perform’s joint venture set up to advise CONMEBOL on their commercial rights for club competitions from 2019-22, is now tendering media rights for CONMEBOL Sudamericana and CONMEBOL Recopa until June 6. This is the first time Sudamericana rights have been made available through a tender process and sold separately to the CONMEBOL Libertadores competition.

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  • FC Bayern USESPN and the FC Bayern Munich have reached an agreement for the broadcaster to use and share content directly from the German Bundesliga club across its digital and linear platforms. With this deal, Bayern Munich will make available its content – behind-the-scenes video, access-driven features, pre- and post-match reports, press briefings, team travelogue, and more – for use across different ESPN programs in the United States, Canada, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Minute Media has raised $17 million in a Series F funding round, with new investors, including Goldman Sachs and Vintage Investment Partners, and existing investors such as Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital and Qumra Capital. This adds up to a total funding of $77 million to-date.
  • FOX is preparing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup by using heavy weight influencers like David Beckham, Ryan Reynolds, Joel Embiid, Alex Morgan and Evander Holyfield, who all play featured roles in FOX Sports’ The World Becomes the FIFA World Cup campaign. Also appearing are FOX Sports Lead Studio Host Rob Stone and Lead Studio Analyst, Alexi Lalas. “It doesn’t get any bigger than the FIFA World Cup. It brings together the worlds of sports and celebrity for an incredible month-long pop culture event,” stated Robert Gottlieb, EVP of Marketing, FOX Sports.“It was a natural fit to have movie stars, musicians and championship athletes as part of our campaign.”

What: Tech newcomer Tronsmart has signed Uruguay National Team star Luis Suárez as brand ambassador in advance of the FIFA World Cup next month.
Why it matters: Brands that don’t have the wherewithal for official FIFA World Cup partnerships can still find under-the-radar ways of promoting their products during the time when soccer fever is highest across the world.

The FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCupis nearly upon us, with Group Play in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities just six weeks away. Global brands are finding their way into the games, whether through official sponsorships or back-door via deals with individual athletes as spokesmen.

Upstart Chinese tech firm Tronsmart (@Tronsmart ), founded less than five years ago to take advantage of the burgeoning global live streaming TV box market, has kicked off marketing to soccer fans by signing Uruguay National Team star Luis Suárez as brand ambassador in a deal announced this week. While not thought of by some fans in the same breath as other South American countries like Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay has a deep, strong World Cup history and is considered a solid contender to advance out of Group play by many prognosticators.

With World Cup sponsorships coming fast and furious leading up to and through the summer, a brand like Tronsmart may have found an under-the-radar way to reach sports fans.

The prolific goal scorer (@LuisSuarez9), who also stars for FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona), is an inspired if perhaps risky choice for the Shenzhen-based firm’s first real foray into sports marketing. The Salto native made headlines in the last World Cup in Brazil, having been found to have bitten Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during a match. That cost him a sponsorship with fledgling online poker company 888poker thereafter and was suspended for a time because of the action.

But Suárez has bounced back, leaving Liverpool and the Premier League after the incident and moving to La Liga, where he’s been a consistent scorer for Barça. He was able to keep his Adidas sponsorship and is still active with numerous partners in his native Uruguay, including telecommunications giant Antel.

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“Mr. Suárez is an international icon that has won fans all around the world,” said Mr. Eric, Chairman of Tronsmart, in a statement. “He is an extraordinary football player and a wonderful family man. I am looking forward to watching Mr. Suárez compete this year and will be rooting for him!”

With World Cup sponsorships coming fast and furious leading up to and through the summer, a brand like Tronsmart may have found an under-the-radar way to reach sports fans in its target markets in the Americas as well as Europe, Middle East, and Asia.

Cover image courtesy of Tronsmart.

What: We talked to Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding at Rakuten Group, about why the Japanese e-commerce company chose FC Barcelona as a key partner to pursue the objective to globalize its brand.
Why it matters: Rahul Kadavakolu will be participating in next week’s Portada Sports Marketing Forum on September 13 in New York City. Kadavakolu and Carlos Perez, CEO of La Liga USA, will discuss the enormous appeal of European soccer leagues in the U.S. and provide insights to sports marketers.

At the end of 2016, Rakuten signed an agreement with FC Barcelona valued at nearly $260 million to become its Main Global Partner, along with Nike, for the next four seasons, as well as its first Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner. The agreement started over a month ago when Rakuten made its debut during the “el clasico”  match Real Madrid-Barça, played in Miami during the ICC Tournament on July 29.

We are a global organization and soccer is as global as it can get.
Rahul Kadavakolu
Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding at Rakuten Group.

“We are a global organization and soccer is as global as it can get,” says Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding at Rakuten Group. When the company decided that it wanted to incorporate sports marketing as part of its expansion strategy, soccer’s global appeal made the sport an obvious match.

“Once we chose soccer, we looked for a partner, with a similar philosophy to ours in order to provide a community driven and positive  message,” he adds. Rakuten decided that a FC Barcelona sponsorship would fit the bill.

With the FC Barcelona partnership, Rakuten’s main objective is to generate brand awareness through a global reach. “In Japan, our brand has a presence in almost every household; now we want the same thing to happen in the rest of the world,” says Kadavakolu.

According to the executive, Barça is a team that has focused on boosting its relationship with technology. “Barça is very technological—this lets us really leverage on what they already have and work on new communities.”

In Japan, our brand has a presence in almost every household; now we want the same thing to happen in the rest of the world.

Rakuten GlobalFrom communicating with their fans on social media, to their own websites and mobile applications, the team’s platforms offer a good opportunity for Rakuten to optimize its investment through exclusive content.

“We don’t see this relationship as a sponsorship, but rather a partnership,” explains Kadavakolu. Among the more than 70 services offered by the Rakuten Group, its online telephony platform Viber is at the top of the list of what the company wants to promote with the FC Barcelona partnership. Viber is the official communication channel for the team.

Kadavakolu explains that in addition to some recent activations in stores and around the Barça game, the brand will take advantage of its base of more than 1.1 billion users to offer them exclusive team content and bring together Barca fans with Rakuten’s customers. “We have a lot of data from our users and we want to take this knowledge to the fans,” says the executive.

We have a lot of data from our users and we want to take this knowledge to the fans.

Eye on the Hispanic market  

Rakuten is also very interested in going after the Hispanic consumer. The company’s streaming platform, Viki, has been very successful in the Latin American market, mainly because of its portfolio of Korean novels.

Kadavakolu is confident that soccer content will become another major driver for Rakuten to engage U.S. Hispanic and Latin American consumers.

Ten shortlisted nominees for the Golazo Awards pitched their campaigns to the Golazo Award Jury at PortadaLat. Three 3 U.S. contenders were selected. They will be at the final contest  at Portada’s Sports Marketing Forum in New York, on September 13th. The jury also determined the winner of  the Golazo Latin America Award.

During PortadaLat’s first day in Miami, finalists, and semifinalists pitched their campaign to a highly specialized jury, integrated by Felix Palau, VP at Tecate, Heineken, Ed Carias, Sr. Brand Manager at El Jimador Tequila, North American Region, Brown-Forman, Vicente Navarro, Business Development Director, ACM Connect, and Andres Polo, VP Digital Marketing, Visa. The Golazo Awards were sponsored by Soccer.com.

After asking questions and deliberating how to cast their votes, the jury announced the winners.

The 3 U.S.  finalists are:

  • “My Inter Jersey” / Gravity
    Represented by: Evgenia Novikova,
    Managing Director of Gravity Europe and an account lead for Inter.
    Description: Fans of Inter love to wear their team colors loudly and proudly. Digital natives enjoy generating their own content, especially if they can put their name on it. Our goal was to drive awareness and sales of the new Inter Milan jersey by Nike.
  • Audi Summer Tour/FC Bayern Munich LLC
    Presented by: Benno Ruwe,
    Head of Partnerships, Bayern Munich
    Description: The 2016 U.S. Audi Summer Tour campaign gave fans that haven’t been to Munich the chance to see their team on home soil. Fixtures in Charlotte, Chicago, and New York, appealed to general sports and soccer fans, including the large Hispanic Bayern fanbase and population there.
  • AT&T/MNT/The Marketing Arm
    Presented by: Roberto Saucedo,
    VP Integration, and Andres Reyes, President Multicultural.
    Description: In efforts to connect with Hispanic Millennials, The Marketing Arm (TMA) launched the Expresa Tu Pasión soccer campaign, a collaboration between AT&T and the Mexican National Soccer Team (MNT). This campaign engaged Hispanic Millennials, both socially and in the real world through exclusive experiences and activations.

The Golazo Award Latin America winner:

  • Pepsi “Momentos”/UEFA Champions League/BBDO
    Represented by: Carlo Espinoza, Sr. Marketing Manager,
    Description:
    In 2017, in its second year as a sponsor of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Pepsi launched its first global campaign based on a “Moments” creative platform. The campaign is active in nearly 75 countries including most of Latin America and the U.S. The #PepsiMoment campaign, which features football/soccer stars Sergio Agüero, Alexis Sánchez and Vincent Kompany, looks to build on and associate the Pepsi brand with fans’ excitement in the lead-up to the UEFA Champions League Final on June 3 in Cardiff, Wales.
Feature Image: Carlo Espinoza, from Pepsi, and Fernando Fiore

Soccer’s popularity in the United States and the rest of the world has given rise to an alternative new business that has mushroomed in the last three years: soccer summer camps and soccer academies.

Teams such as FC Barcelona, German club Bayern Munich, and British clubs Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United, are the first seeking to set up US outposts through football academies, which enroll about 300 children each year at an average cost of $2,000 each.

FC Bayern and Global Premier Soccer (GPS) have an extensive youth partnership that brings the knowledge and expertise of FCB’s notable Youth Academy. The partnership, which began in 2014, aims to grow the level of the game in North America, bringing the FC Bayern coaching philosophy and curriculum to now over 85,000 children and 6,000 coaches into 101 soccer clubs in over 22 states.

FC Barcelona, one of Europe’s most popular teams, has 25 academies and dozens of summer camps in more than 60 countries on five continents, which together enroll more than 30,000 boys and girls each year. They represent small regiments of brand loyal consumers who will further expand the team’s fan base among their close circles of friends and family.

Luis Ramón Carazo
Luis Ramón Carazo. (Photo: Twitter)

In the US, Barça got its start with camps run by the ISL Futbol company. Nowadays, the club has a presence in 25 cities, four of them with academies for kids ages 6-14.

Increasing merchandising sales for their clubs is the big draw for teams looking to establish a presence among their younger sports fans, said Luis Ramón Carazo, sports business specialist and columnist for Mexican newspaper Reforma. By increasing brand recognition and engagement, clubs increase their sales of team-related merchandise, such as jerseys.

Increasing merchandising sales for their clubs is the big draw for teams looking to establish a presence among their younger sports fans

In addition, the strategy helps clubs find talent at an early age and develop young soccer talents who have the potential to become future professional soccer players.

Alex Isern
Alex Isern, Director of ISL Futbol. (Photo: LinkedIn)

In addition to enrollment income, the soccer camps and academies welcome sponsors looking to establish a presence on the pitch and make activations. “The sponsors are the same ones who’ve signed on with the club in each region. In the US, we have the support of Gatorade, Gillette, and Black & Decker,” said Alex Isern, Director of ISL Futbol.

The sponsors are the same ones who’ve signed on with the club in each region. In the US, we have the support of Gatorade, Gillette, and Black & Decker.

“FC Barcelona has one of the most important sports brands, with millions of fans around the world. In addition, it has a highly recognized training method, not only for its sporting successes, but also for the values it instills”, said Eduardo Celorio, Director of FCBEscola, Mexico.

A multinational future

In the long run, having foreign soccer stars playing on European teams increases the TV rights paid by international broadcasters, explained Carazo. “In Mexico, for example, we follow Bayern because Javier ‘El Chicharito’ Hernández plays for them.”

European teams are also training their sights on Asia, to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and China. Latin America is not far behind, with Brazil and Colombia among the countries where FC Barcelona has already inaugurated its first soccer schools. Mexico will be next, with the arrival of its first soccer academy slated for September 2018, stated Celorio.

The new “Early Morning Classic”

The European influence on American soccer is evident. The International Champions Cup, previously known as the World Futbol Challenge, is the most important international friendly tournament in the world. It has already created a new soccer classic: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, which will be held this year on July 29th in Miami.

Tickets for the “Early Morning Classic,” as it known in Spain because of the early morning match time in that country, went on pre-sale in March at $125-$500 each, and sold out within a few days. Resale prices for the tickets go from $500 to almost $3,000 each.

Text written by Gabriela Gutiérrez M. @gabytronica

Feature image: sxc

What: Portada spoke with Arno Trabesinger, FC Barcelona’s Managing Director Americas, about the Spanish club’s expansion plans for Latin America.
Why it matters: Last September, FC Barcelona opened new offices in New York, in an effort to boost its growth throughout the American continent, with a special focus on Latin America.

Arno Trabesinger

Since FC Barcelona Director Ramón Adell’s arrival two years ago, the team has embarked on the road to globalization. “We want to be the most global team of all sports, and Latin America is the base because soccer here is already [the] number one [sport],” said Arno Trabesinger, FC Barcelona’s Managing Director Americas.

To fulfill this goal, FC Barcelona is looking to solidify its presence in Latin America in 2017 through strategic efforts. “Latin America is very important for us, due to the fact that we have so many fans following the team in the region,” added Trabesinger.

Latin America is very important for us, due to the fact that we have so many fans following the team in the region.

According to the team’s social networks analysis, Mexico is the second largest country with the largest number of followers worldwide on the club’s Facebook page, surpassed only by Indonesia. In Latin America, Mexico is the largest, followed by Brazil and Colombia.

COUNTRYCONTINENTREGIONFACEBOOK FANS (21 mar – 2017)
IndonesiaAsiaAsia Pacific9,611,980
MexicoAmericaLatam6,128,601
BrazilAmericaLatam5,858,192
EgyptAfricaMena / North Africa3,639,034
IndiaAsiaAsia3,553,152
United StatesAmericaNorth America3,478,937
BangladeshAsiaAsia2,620,188
ColombiaAmericaLatam2,464,470
ArgentinaAmericaLatam2,373,952
TurkeyEuropeEurope / (Mena)2,359,360
SpainEuropeEurope2,327,154

In Mexico, football fans follow their favorite local team, but also support and follow one or more European teams, explained Trabesinger. “That’s where we want to be number one. In addition, we have nine Latin American players on our team, so that gets us more fans in the region.”

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The goal now is to take advantage of the attention that the club already has to keep it growing. In addition to its social networks strategies, which are dictated from Barcelona, “a relevant marketing tool for Latin America is the team’s soccer schools for children ages 8-16. We have several already in Peru, Guatemala, Brazil, and Mexico, and we want to open more throughout the year,” he added.

A relevant marketing tool for Latin America is the team’s soccer schools.

These schools represent an opportunity for brand development and brand building among children and young soccer fans.

Looking for more sponsors

Growing its network of followers is undoubtedly one of Barça’s objectives, but “growing our business opportunities” is also a goal, said Trabesinger.

In 2015, the team signed a regional agreement in Latin America with Canada’s Scotiabank, which will run through the 2018-2019 season. It also has local sponsorship deals with foot deodorant brand Baruel Tenysa Pe in Brazil, and with Tecate beer in Mexico, in addition to its global sponsorship agreements with Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, and Stanley Black & Decker.

“We are looking for partnerships in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Brazil. That’s why we came to New York, to strengthen our LatAm efforts from here,” he explained.

The club seeks to add marketers to its New York office who know the Latin American market well, and know how to bring together partners in this region.

When adding brands, the most important thing is that they support the philosophy of the club. “We want sponsors who are proud to be part of the family, and are interested in activating at the local level,” said Trabesinger.

Register, nominate, and participate in the Premio Golazo Best Soccer Campaign Award!

In addition, the team wants to sign agreements lasting a minimum of three to four years. “We want partners who will stay with the team in the long run,” he said.

We want partners who will stay with the team in the long run.

Sports Marketing will play an Important Role at Day 1 of PortadaLat: We have added new Ticket Types to Meet Your Needs!

GENERAL PASS: Attend the overall PortadaLat event on June 7 and June 8. All sessions, keynotes, networking, food and beverage included! (US$549)
VIP ATTENDEE: Meet up to 5 high-level brand, agency or media executives of your choice attending or speaking PortadaLat. These 10 minute meetings will take place in a separate room during the first and second day of PortadaLat and are designed to help you build valuable relationships. General Pass offering is included. (US $ 1,999).
DAY 1: SPORTS AND TRAVEL MARKETING DAY (June 7):
The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
DAY 2: BRAND INNOVATION DAY (June 8)
The second day at PortadaLat will celebrate Brand Innovation and showcase how leading companies are boosting brand equity and increasing their relevance in a disruptive environment in Latin America and the U.S. Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Reception Food and Beverages included. (US$ 549!)
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What: The two Spanish soccer clubs surpassed the 100-million-fan mark on Facebook within hours of each other.
Why it matters: The rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has extended from the soccer pitch into social media, and although the Colchoneros were the first to break the 100 million followers mark, a couple of days later the Blaugrana showed that they were up to the challenge, matching their follower record.

Real Madrid and FC Barcelona surpassed the 100-million-fans mark on Facebook within just a few hours of each other, making them the first brands to achieve that record.

In so doing, Real Madrid demonstrated its extraordinary social dimension and its leadership in the digital field, thanks to a global strategy to position itself that focuses on social networks, mobile, and audiovisual content.

The Madrid club was the fastest growing sports brand, not only on Facebook, but also on all social networking platforms in 2016.

Real Madrid generated more than 1.6 billion video views last year, more than any sports organization in the world. In addition, it had 9 of the 10 best postings on Facebook in 2016, establishing its leadership on the platform.

“The extraordinary global audience of Real Madrid is reflected in this historic milestone and encourages us to continue working to consolidate our leadership on social networks,” said club general manager José Ángel Sánchez.

We have a fantastic relationship with Facebook and its strategic direction, which has allowed us to build a powerful and highly committed audience.

Meanwhile, FC Barcelona reinforces its position as the most admired and beloved global sports club, as reflected in its 2015-2021 Strategic Plan.

With this record FB fan following, the azulgrana club maintains its leadership above all the other soccer football clubs and professional sport franchises in the United States.

The follower figure achieved is the equivalent of filling the team’s 98,000-seat Camp Nou 1,000 times over.

Images: @RealMadrid and @fcbarcelona official Facebook pages.

What: The partnership includes support of the FCBarcelona Foundation in all Latin American and Caribbean markets through 2019.
Why it matters: Because it will support young people from Colombia through various programs sponsored through Banco Colpatria. The winners of the Scotiabank-organized championship will be able to travel and attend training events in Barcelona, Spain.

FC Barcelona and its Foundation announced an official partnership with Scotiabank that designates the Canadian bank as the Official Bank of FC Barcelona in Latin America and the Caribbean. This agreement will allow Banco Colpatria to sponsor youth-focused programs in Colombia, as well as participate in events and offer soccer experiences to its clients.

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Banco Colpatria will also have the chance to take some of its clients to Camp Nou (FCBarcelona’s stadium) to accompany the Spanish team to one of its matches, and distribute official souvenirs through various activities.

Scotiabank, in association with its Colombian partner Banco Colpatria, will host a four-day FutbolNet Festival, in which a thousand young players will train and learn important sports and life skills.

“Very few sports teams can awaken the passion of their fans around the world like FC Barcelona, and we are delighted to become the Official Bank Partner of one of the best sports teams in the world,” said Ignacio “Nacho” Deschamps, head of Scotiabank’s International Banking and Digital Transformation Group.

This partnership is about soccer and the passion we share for the game with our customers and employees.

“We are proud of Scotiabank’s confidence in the FC Barcelona Foundation and in our FutbolNet program,” said Jordi Cardoner, First Vice-President and head of social impact at FC Barcelona.

Scotiabank’s support will enable us to expand our reach in Latin America and help us build a fair and accessible society in which children and young people can reach their full potential.

What: FC Barcelona decided to eliminate its communications department.
Why it matters: Because the new department, led by Guillem Graell, merges areas such as strategic marketing, operational marketing, sports communication, corporate communication, public relations, and protocol, in a joint effort to overhaul the positioning of the popular club’s identity and image with its millions of followers around the world.

In an innovative move, FC Barcelona has dismantled its communications department in favor of the new Marca FCB, which will be led by Guillem Graell.

The club’s marketing, communications, institutional relations, protocol, and museum content components, among others, will now be united under the new department headed by Graell, who will report directly to club CEO, Oscar Grau.

Graell has a solid background in marketing and communications, having worked for companies such as Grupo Codorniu Raventós, Perfetti Van Melle, Reckitt Benckiser, and Procter & Gamble, among others.

Graell and his team are now charged with the challenge of conveying Barça’s unique essence, to make it the world’s most beloved soccer club with the most fans on the planet.

According to team executives, Barça’s new positioning will lead to an increase in TV audience and sponsorships of greater value.

In addition, team revenues are expected to grow to 1 billion euros, which will allow the club to maintain the competitive excellence that has set it apart in the past.View original translation

What? David Rosa, head of business intelligence at FC Valencia, speaks about the club’s biggest mistakes, and the lessons that he learned when getting the team back on its feet.
Why does it matter? After finishing as the best club in the world in 2004, FC Valencia is losing millions of euros a year because of a combination of bad decisions. Today, the club holds the 16th place in its league, and plans to act on the lessons its learned.

15 years ago, Valencia Football Club was one of the greatest Spanish clubs. While not at the same level as Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, the quality of its game was on an equal level. In 2004 the club was named the best in the world according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics. This was the last year that the club won a title.

A combination of bad decisions and an economic crisis took FC Barcelona to the 16th position in the Spanish league. During the Sports Innovation Summit 2016, held in Mexico City on March 2nd and 3rd, David Rosa, head of business intelligence at FC Barcelona, spoke to us about the biggest mistakes that the club has made, and how it will learn from them.

“In the last ten years, we’ve lost a social mass of 12,000 subscribers and more than 10 million euros that came directly from them.”

“We have started to gain back our followers, but we are very far from fixing the economic situation that we were in. Today, we have an average of six or seven thousand subscribers that have season tickets, but don’t come to half of the games.”

“We have 39,000 subscribers and our stadium has a capacity for 50,000, which does’t sound that bad. But in reality, those 39,000 give us 12 million euros in revenue. The key is that in good times, when we had a waiting list, people paid 470 euros a seat, and we’ve come to a limit of 303 euros per seat. We lost subscribers, but we also reduced prices.”

LESSON 1: Know Your Clients

“We had a mistaken idea that if we lowered prices, more people would subscribe. But it didn’t occur to us thasis_VFt we should inform ourselves about them, and understand their problem
s and why they weren’t renovating. That was one of our big mistakes. I found that three years ago.

We need to manage our principal clientele well – the subscribers or people who buy tickets – and integrate them into our business decisions.”

LESSON 2: Have a Method

“It’s important to have a work method in place, because without it, ideas come and go, but aren’t correctly implemented. Some will triumph by accident, and others will be lost along the way. It’s important to see it as a legacy that we leave for those that come after us. If you don’t leave a structure in place, you aren’t leaving them tools to work and advance with.”

LESSON 3: Adapt

‘We planned on inaugurating our stadium in season 19-20. Before, we have to consider that construction on it began more than 10 years ago, and we had to stop the operation because we couldn’t pay for it. Now that we want to restart the project, the problem is that the project is 14 years old, and it’s completely obsolete. We have to make use of what has already been built, which is the bleachers, and create a sustainable and viable model according to the club’s technological expectations today.”

LESSON 4: Segment Useful Information

“We had enormous sources for data, video games, a ticketing system, stadium consumption, digital platforms, etc. The problem is that we haven’t discovered which data will help us grow revenue. Converting our followers into euros. Data from two years ago is obsolete. Data changes so rapidly, and in such a large volume, that knowing what to do with it is a big problem. Much of the information that we manage doesn’t allow us to maximize our returns.”

“We have to manage the information, because information is valuable. But we must manage it smartly, and not just collect data to collect it.”

LESSON 5: Have a Transversal Data Strategy

“Defining indicators that we use (data and KPI) must be transversal in all of the company, not only on the marketing level. If finance or operations doesn’t believe in our KPIs, we can’t do anything, because Ifc-valencia‘m not going to convince them to give me money to invest in them. As the marketing department, I am the one that brings the most money in, but I am also the one that spends it the most – after the sports area, of course.”

LESSON 6: Get the Rights

“Databases are useless if the user doesn’t give you permission to use them for commercial motives, according to the Organic Data Protection Law in Spain. We have more than three million registries in databases, but we only have access to 62,000 people. My commercial capability is defined by that.”