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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.

  • The San Jose Earthquakes hired Matías Almeyda as the team’s new coach. Almeyda was leading coach of the Chivas from Guadalajara during the team’s CONCACAF Liga de Campeones 2018 final. Almeyda will start his new position in 2019.

  • The South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) has signed its Copa Libertadores streaming rights over to Facebook. The deal will run from 2019 until 2022. Facebook will make the streaming available to all ten of Conmebol’s member nations.

 

  • Los Angeles FC Banc of California Stadium revealed a new virtual reality (VR) mobile app. The app allows LAFC fans and other customers to explore spaces within the stadium from anywhere in the world. Users can even select different camera angles to help visualize the various uses for each space.

 

  • Liverpool has signed a deal with AXA. Through the multi-year agreement, the insurance company will become the club’s first global insurance partner. AXA will host a range of Liverpool-themed mass participation events worldwide, as well as offer fan experiences.

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  • Brasileirão Serie ACampeonato Brasileiro Série A streaming rights were acquired by new sports technology startup Fanfoot for US$150 million. Fanfoot says it combines live streaming with a built-in online social community across any device in order to provide fans with high-quality video, engagement opportunities, unique content, and special promotions. The platform will be available to fans in early 2019.

 

  • Arsenal inked a new kit sponsorship deal with Adidas which is speculated to be worth around $78 million per year. The deal replaces Puma as the club’s partner and will go into effect on July 1 next year.

 

  • FIFA launched its first-ever global strategy for women’s soccer, “to realize the full potential that exists within the women’s game.” This Division will work closely with MAs around the world via workshops and special initiatives to assist them in bringing together key stakeholders to discuss, develop and implement their respective women’s football strategies and to ensure the greatest impact possible of their efforts to develop and grow the women’s game.

 

  • Perform Content has extended its exclusive betting partnership with LaLiga. Perform Content will remain the exclusive LaLiga betting video streaming provider until the 2022/23 season. The deal covers 848 matches per year.

What: La Liga has entered into a 15-year deal with U.S.-based promoter Relevent Sports to form La Liga North America, to bring the circuit’s matches to the States.
Why it matters: European leagues have held “friendlies” in the U.S. for years, but La Liga North America represents the next step: bringing regular league matches here, with huge fandom and marketing possibilities.

For over a decade, the elite football clubs of the world have made the trek across the pond or up from South America for summer friendlies—training matches for the most part as they prepped for their regular seasons. All have seen the growing market in and around American football, and look for ways to exploit brand and build fan bases not just for those one off matches, but for a growingly savvy American football fan that starts from the grassroots and now, due to the infusion of regular broadcasts on networks like NBC and FOX and ESPN and to some extended beIN (@beINSPORTS) and others, are regularly engaged on a weekly basis, year round watching their favorite clubs.

You cannot walk more than a few blocks in Manhattan these days without seeing a random kit from everyone from Roma (@OfficialASRomaand Real Madrid (@realmadridto Flamengo (@Flamengo). The growth of appreciation for the elite soccer clubs of the world has been quite amazing to watch.

To grow the brand awareness effectively you need to have those global fans not just see an exhibition, the need to experience the real thing.

Those clubs have also seen not just the development of the game with knowledgeable fans, but the potential for marketing dollars as well. By some counts, there are as many as 10 global clubs with a commercial office looking to do deals now set up in the United States. Arguably the most successful thus far has been FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernUS), whose smart digital-first approach led by Rudolf Vidal has established supporter groups in all 50 states, something which mist NFL teams can’t even say they have. They have also done a great job of taking advantage of partner sponsorships like Audi (@Audiand Adidas (@adidasUSto grow brand marketing opportunities in the States, especially in and around summer tours like the one they just completed. They have done all of that without having a mature American marketable star just yet, but they have made their brand, and their elite players, very recognizable in the States.

Other clubs like City Football Club (Tom Glick, Chief Commercial & Operating Officer – Manchester City will be one of the star speakers at Portada New York on Sept. 25),
Chelsea (@ChelseaFC(with their brand building events last fall), Roma (with their American ownership group and recent Serie A success), and Liverpool continue to also scale up in the marketplace, even when the clubs are a continent away.

The recently completed International Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCup), the most ambitious ever in markets big and medium-sized, again showed that the power of the names of elite soccer clubs to draw in the U.S. and Canada was not waning. However to make the jump from just casual events, which often lacked star power and as the matches went on, became more and more like glorified practices as clubs sought to diminish the risk of injury and fatigue to key players just preparing for a season to come, the increasingly interested American fan, as well as loyal expats living and working in the States, there needs to be a next step.

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It is a step which American leagues like the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and MLB, realized several years ago. To grow the brand awareness effectively you need to have those global fans not just see an exhibition, the need to experience the real thing; regular season events with all on the line, not just marketing trips where the effort, and the stars may be waning. The regular season matchups don’t just add value to fans, they show true commitment that the league or the brand of a team, is invested in giving fans the best.

Recently we have seen some efforts in sports like rugby (the Aviva Premiership brought a match between London Irish and Saracens to the States), and even football (when the French Cup was played at Red Bull Arena five years ago), but no real consistent proposal has been out forth to bring the real thing to America and its growing marketplace. Whispers of Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) finals to be played in America? Yes. Dreams of the Premier League expanding and adding two clubs in the U.S.? Dreams indeed, which have been quickly dismissed time and again. The friendlies, it seems were enough.

Until this week, when La Liga took a next bold step.

On Wednesday, Spain’s top-flight soccer competition, and Relevent, announced a first-of-a-kind 15-year, equal joint venture which will include plans to bring a regular season club match to the United States, the first to be played outside of Europe.

Called La Liga North America, the newly founded organization will work to cultivate soccer culture in the U.S. and Canada. LaLiga North America will support the league’s growth in the U.S. and Canada through consumer-related activities including youth academies, development of youth soccer coaches, marketing agreements, consumer activations, exhibition matches and plans to have an official La Liga Santander match played in the U.S. While there is no timetable yet, and one would not expect El Clasico to suddenly end up in Philadelphia or even Miami (where the offseason matchup between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona was staged last summer) you will get to see some of the elite clubs of La Liga who are willing to give up a home match and grow their brands in America in the fall or winter or spring, not summer before too long.

“This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America,” said Stephen Ross, chairman and co-founder of RSE Ventures, parent company of Relevent in a release. “This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world.”

La Liga President Javier Tebas added: “We’re devoted to growing the passion for soccer around the world. This ground-breaking agreement is certain to give a major impulse to the popularity of the beautiful game in the U.S. and Canada. Relevent has filled stadiums across the U.S. with the International Champions Cup, we’re thrilled to partner with them on a joint mission to grow soccer in North America.”

The move by La Liga makes good business sense for a number of reasons. They are looking to a market that is growing where Spanish is already the dominant second language, where they already have brands involved in sports well engaged, and where the Anglo soccer fan has enjoyed the growth of elite football. They also can use this to potentially exploit a new bigger broadcast agreement as well as continue to grow their streaming opportunities in a market that is very digital savvy, and has young engaged fans who think mobile first. It also will give La Liga “first in” with some brands who may be looking to grow their soccer footprint abroad, but were not sure exactly how. Bringing exhibitions to the U.S. was a nice first step, bringing regular-season matches gives brands a real platform to embrace consistently every year, which is very appealing. There is also the aspect of women’s soccer, which has been growing on the La Liga radar. With women becoming more and more engaged in the game, and La Liga expanding its professional women’s league, the opportunity to exploit the female playing, as well as consuming, demo can also be part of the plan.

Now what does this mean for North America’s standing soccer leagues, Liga MX (@LIGABancomerMX), which draws more viewers than anyone, and Major League Soccer (@MLS)? It certainly is not a surprise, and should help to again bolster the interests and the buzz around soccer as a brand in the United States. The match will also probably be in the MLS offseason, which also helps to keep “brand soccer” vibrant in America, and that can lead to more fan exposure and can uncover new brands looking to engage in the sport.

Where and what all this will mean will unfold in the current months, and will probably lead to a new level of year-round experiential soccer in the U.S. and Canada for leagues looking to grow brand and disrupt the current model. The who—namely which clubs—and the when—will be key for a next step for La Liga. There are already stories of players balking at the announcement which will probably be part of a negotiation to move this forward. Regardless being first is always better than not.

If you are involved in the soccer business, this move is a good one, if you are looking to get in, a new opportunity has arisen.

Cover Image: Wikimedia Commons/Andres Bustos

What: LaLiga World Challenge continues its fourth year with RCD Espanyol De Barcelona’s friendly with the MLS Richmond Kickers, associated community activities in Richmond and a subsequent game against FC Cincinnati.
Why it matters: Consistent programs like LaLiga World Challenge can help boost the presence of international clubs in the U.S. and Latin America, in particular with the Hispanic fan base.

With more opportunities for U.S. and Latin American fans to tune in to matches and connect with their favorite clubs and leagues, European soccer is more popular on this side of the Atlantic than ever before. Looking to enhance that, and grab as much of that fandom as well as build new followings, those organizations have implemented various initiatives. Programs like Chelsea FC’s Premier League victory tour through New York last November and ongoing partnership with FC Harlem (@FCHARLEM), the International Champions Cup (@IntChampionsCupand various other friendlies are among the most visible.

Consistency in these programs—returning year over year or maintaining a presence in the market like Chelsea (@ChelseaFChas—is vital. One excellent example is the LaLiga World Challenge, now in its fourth year of raising awareness of the top Spanish league across the globe, with Richmond, Va., its most recent stop in July. Supported by the Spanish government, The World Challenge includes friendlies in every city, but, according to organizers, connecting with fans, particularly youth, is the biggest goal.

“Teams like RCD Espanyol De Barcelona participate in a variety of local activities to meet the fans where they’re at; in their stadiums, with their local leagues and alongside their local athletes,” said Nico García, LaLiga’s (@LaLigaEN) Institutional Spokesperson for International Development. “The most important aspect for the teams is really getting close to the fan and therefore having an impact on the community where they’re present. They truly give the community something special- the availability of every single Espanyol player giving their time to Richmond’s kids is a perfect example.”

We want to grow our fanbase in the U.S. and part of that is being accessible to those who support us.

More than 7,000 fans came out to Richmond for RCD Espanyol’s (@RCDEspanyolfriendly with the MLS Richmond Kickers (@RichmondKickerson July 25, a 4-2 victory for the Spaniards but an even bigger win for the kids who participated in pre-event clinics and for those in the region that, save a trip up I-95 to D.C. for the International Champions Cup or a Team USA friendly, may not have had an opportunity to see a top international squad in action.

“It allowed RCD Espanyol de Barcelona to make a lasting impact on Richmond’s youngest fans,” added Garcia, “when the entirety of the RCD Espanyol team coached a clinic alongside several bilingual Richmond Kickers players in their home stadium.”

And while Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga can make an impact in these visits, LaLiga has the commonality of the Spanish language that can make connections with Hispanic fans even greater.

“A huge amount of U.S. cities have Hispanic populations, and LaLiga has amazing fans from those populations-Spanish being a natural connection,” noted Garcia. “However, fans of all types come out for LaLiga World activations in both the U.S. and Latin America. As the league has grown in popularity, because of its entertaining style of play and atmosphere, more and more fans are well-versed in our clubs and players and can’t wait to meet them in person.”

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Nico Garcia (L) and Toni Alegre (R) with Fox19 Richmond’s Alison Montoya (via Twitter)

For Espanyol Director of Marketing Antoni Alegre, the team’s participation is a natural fit, even as the 2018-19 league season looms.

“Pre-season is important, but using our summer time to visit other parts of the world is also important,” said Alegre. “We are nothing without our fans, and our international fans also deserve our full attention. We want to grow our fanbase in the U.S. and part of that is being accessible to those who support us.”

Alegre adds that it’s one the players look forward to as well.

“Some of our players had never been to the U.S. before—to go to a country where they’ve never been and hear a fan yelling out their name after a match is something special,” he explained. “Our club is grateful that LaLiga World challenge gives us what we need to expand our brand internationally, letting us maintain and grow fans.

As with any program like this, it’s what is left behind and the next steps for both LaLiga and Espanyol that are critical. For Garcia, the unique experience, for both fans and players, is key.

“LaLiga clubs have left behind once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the fans they’ve touched,” he said. “We feel confident that every child who’s gotten a chance to play, chat, get an autograph and get to know LaLiga players will go on to be lifetime fans of the club. Every single one of these new fans, more than 7,000 in the stadium in Richmond and more than 16,000 in Cincinnati, is essential. Clubs like RCD Espanyol de Barcelona also look for synergies with local clubs to help develop knowledge-sharing agreements; sharing knowledge about things like youth development and academies in Spain. The clubs often hope to develop further long-term sports projects with the local clubs with whom they collaborate.

cover image: via Richmond Kickers (Facebook)

A summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the market and/or targeting Latin American consumers right now.

2018 NETWORKING SOLUTIONS. To find out about Portada’s new networking solutions targeting the decision makers of the below campaigns, please contact Sales Manager Isabel Ojeda at isabel@portada-online.com.

For prior Sales Leads LatAm editions, click here. 

 

 

  • Samsung

Samsung Electronics announced the opening of its first Samsung House in Latin America. Built in an historic mansion in Buenos Aires, Samsung House is a two-story, 400-square meter, space for experiences and specialized services for consumers.Inspired by the iconic Samsung 837 located in New York, the facade preserves the original architecture from the early 20thCentury and combines that with a modern, open interior. Visitors can try out the latest of the brand’s products and consult with experts on how to best use Samsung’s technologies. The second floor is set up as the intelligent home of the future, to allow visitors to experience the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT). This area presents Samsung’s intelligent devices, as well as prototypes of future products.”Samsung House is a sign of our commitment to our consumers in Latin America. It brings us and our brand even closer to the Latin American society,” said Mario Laffitte, Corporate Marketing vice-president of Samsung Latin America.

 

 

  • Marriott Caribbean & Latin America

Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts has launched “Portal To Paradise,” the new augmented reality app that gives user the opportunity to explore eight off its resorts. Rolled out on iOS June 19, the app allows users will to walk around Marriott resorts across the Caribbean and Mexico, receiving 360-degree views of the properties.Once the app is downloaded and opened, users will be asked to aim their phone at a flat surface. After doing so, they will be prompted to pick the resort they would like to visit. A door will then appear for users to ‘walk’ through and explore their chosen destination. Each resort offers views of the pools, restaurants, beaches, rooms and spas.The app, created with the marketing agency Nobox, opened up new opportunities for potential customers to pick a destination. Alex Fiz, Regional Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Caribbean & Latin America, Marriott International, said the app was not just about vacation-planning and daydreaming, but also eliminating prior misconceptions about destinations.

 

 

  • Walmart Brazil

The Administrative Council of Economic Defense (CADE), Brazil´s antitrust agency, has approved the purchase of  Walmart Brazilian operations by Advent Internacional.Earlier this month, Walmart agreed to sell a 80% stake of its Brazilian unit to Advent, partially withdrawing from a poorly performing business.Advent plans to convert unprofitable supermarkets into wholesale self-service stores and expand brands developed by Walmart in Brazil such as Maxxi and Todo Dia.

 

 

 

 

 

  • LaLiga

Jaime Janez, DG at Blackshark Sports Marketing & Advertising, has announced throught its´ Linkedin profile that Blackshark Sports Marketing & Advertising is LaLiga´s  new agency in Mexico and LatAm.

 

 

 

2018 NETWORKING SOLUTIONS. To find out about Portada’s new networking solutions targeting the decision makers of the below campaigns, please contact Sales Manager Isabel Ojeda at isabel@portada-online.com.

  • Yuyo

Shaftesbury-based drink brand, Yuyo, has announced it will export its innovative range of Latin American-inspired drink infusions to Brazil this year as part of its exporting growth plans.The business, which already exports to 7 countries worldwide, boosted its international orders by 42% between 2015 and 2017.Yuyo was founded in 2016 by Rosie Marteau and Charles Grummit after they travelled to Latin America and discovered yerba mate, a ‘super herb’ that is used in many traditional South American drinks. The company now stocks a range of yerba mate drink infusions across the UK through retailers like Ocado, Whole Foods and Revital. It also has its own e-commerce site.

2018 NETWORKING SOLUTIONS. To find out about Portada’s new networking solutions targeting the decision makers of the below campaigns, please contact Sales Manager Isabel Ojeda at isabel@portada-online.com.

What: The fourth annual LaLiga Promises international tournament was held in Hoboken, N.J., last weekend.
Why it matters: International youth events like LaLiga Promises are critical for international clubs in their effort to gain new fans, in addition to promoting the positive values of soccer as a whole.

For the fourth consecutive year, under-12 youth teams including LaLiga Santander clubs and international clubs competed in the prestigious LaLiga Promises, at Sinatra Park soccer field in Hoboken, N.J. The teams, selected by LaLiga (@LaLigaENand the Jose Ramon de la Morena Foundation (@fundacion_JRM), had its largest field ever of 16, with squads from Spain, Japan, U.S., England, Italy, Portugal, and Mexico.

The goal for the Spanish football league’s top division, according to organizers, is to support its New York presence and share its passion for soccer. The three-day event featured group play followed by semifinals and finals.

We were impressed by how many young kids and families turned up during the weekend.

“Grassroots projects and know-how transfer is one of our strategic pillars for the U.S. market,” said Rebeca Diaz Gonzalez, LaLiga International Business Development. “Such an event showcases the good and hard work that LaLiga club academies are doing with their youth in Spain. This has led to outstanding youth development and experience at progressing players towards first team.”

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International youth events like LaLiga Promises, which was free to the public and gained huge exposure via select matches broadcast live on Univisión (@Univisionand Televisa (@Televisaas well as on the official LaLiga channel on YouTube and on LaLiga TV, are critical for international clubs in their effort to gain new fans, in addition to promoting the positive values of soccer as a whole.

“LaLiga has a distinguished presence in the U.S., having trained over 1,200 coaches here as part of our partnership with U.S. Club Soccer in addition to another 4,000 coaches we’ve trained across five continents,” noted Juan Florit, Sports Projects Coordinator at LaLiga, in a statement. “We are excited to show off some of the most talented youth that have learned from LaLiga coaching methodologies at this highly regarded tournament.”

The vibrant urban community of Hoboken, hard against the Hudson River with the New York skyline as the backdrop, was also an ideal choice for the venue, with a large Hispanic population within a short distance.

“Hoboken has a great soccer culture” added Diaz Gonzalez. “We were impressed by how many young kids and families turned up during the weekend.”

Cover photo: credit LaLiga

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

  • MLS and Twitter announced a three-year agreement to stream weekly games and generate additional content, including exclusive highlights and programming on teams, players and major events. Univision will keep the Spanish language broadcast, while Twitter makes an English simulcast streaming.
  • On Monday, FC Barcelona and Nike launched a new campaign, The Ball Makes Us More, featuring stars from the men’s and women’s teams together with fans of the club. This year Nike and FC Barcelona celebrate their 20th partnership anniversary.

  • ESPN has become the Chicago Fire Soccer Club exclusive media rights holder, on a three-year rights agreement. ESPN+ will cover live local matches in both English and Spanish beginning this season.

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  • Heineken USHeineken USA is partnering with Copa90 on a documentary and original six-part series showing the culture of soccer fans. The series is available to stream on Copa90’s social channels.
  • MLS and Liga MX signed a long-term partnership, bringing together the three nations involved in the United 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting bid. The alliance will focus on creating new competition to extend the rivalry between the countries that will include an annual Campeones Cup between the champions of each league. In addition, the annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer will include Liga MX Under-20 club team as the opponent.
  • Spain’s La Liga partnered with McDonald’s for McDonald’s Virtual La Liga eSports. The first stage of the online qualification process begins March 19 and will be played on ArenaGG.

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

What: LaLiga has formed a new partnership to promote soccer development in Malaysia
Why it matters: This deal is mutually beneficial in that LaLiga can expand its reach while Malaysian football can learn from Spain’s success.

Malaysia Matches Up with LaLiga

LaLiga, the association in charge of Spanish soccer’s top division, has stuck a partnership with Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) to create a 50-year plan to grow the sport in this robust Asian nation. Over the three years of the deal, LaLiga will advise the FMLLP, Malaysia’s privatized footballing association, on various ways to create a healthy infrastructure in which football can flourish. For example, LaLiga will help Malaysian clubs get their finances in order, improve social outreach, expand marketing initiatives, and improve day-to-day operations such as security. As FMLLP chairman and Football Association of Malaysia president Tunku Ismail indicated after the signing ceremony, the goal is to put in place a plan that draws upon the experience of a top league like LaLiga and sets guidelines for Malaysian football for subsequent federation heads to follow. Utilizing a proven league as a consulting service seems like a logical step forward for this budding footballing nation, and it would not be surprising to see other countries collaborate in the same manner.

These initiatives show how LaLiga is off to a great start in terms of exploring new markets with growing soccer awareness and economic promise.

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LaLiga Looking Abroad

For LaLiga, this deal marks a further step in the league’s mission to expand its reach across the globe. Prior to the Malaysia deal, LaLiga struck a similar agreement with Japan’s J-League to exchange information and help each other grow. In addition to pooling together ideas on best practices, it is clear that another principal goal of LaLiga with these moves is to increase brand exposure in new markets. LaLiga president Javier Tebas recognized the value in working with local football officials to reach new markets when he lauded LaLiga’s new ability to understand the Malaysian market as a result of the partnership. Though LaLiga is attempting to tap into passion for soccer in East Asia, its sights are set far beyond just this part of the globe: the league has an office up and running in the United States and has expressed a clear goal of increasing its influence in India. These initiatives show how LaLiga is off to a great start in terms of exploring new markets with growing soccer awareness and economic promise.

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