This article was produced in association with LaLiga
The LaLiga Global Network will build on a productive first year by continuing to explore fruitful partnerships around the world, according to Oscar Mayo, LaLiga’s director of international development.
Mayo says that the innovative Global Network tallies with LaLiga’s global ambitions, with Spanish football’s top competition attracting an increasingly committed following in new and emerging markets.
Here, Mayo reflects on the first 12 months of the initiative and looks to the future of the Global Network in the context of LaLiga’s broader strategic plans.
Why is the Global Network important to LaLiga’s broader development strategy?
“One of the fundamental aspects of LaLiga’s strategy is increasing its involvement in international markets, and the LaLiga Global Network is the cornerstone of this movement. Having representatives on site in these countries allows us to be closer to our fans and work more closely with our customers, mainly international broadcasters.
“In addition, the representatives work in conjunction with our international branches to spread the word about and knowledge of LaLiga across the world. As a global competition, it’s really important for us to have this presence.”
What is the Global Network building on, in terms of LaLiga’s worldwide reach?
“Currently, LaLiga matches are broadcast in 182 countries through 90 different operators. We’re required to know as much as possible about every market, to protect our brand image, and to foster and promote our product. In addition, on the commercial side of things, it brings us closer to our international sponsors.
“It’s really important for us to share the value and knowledge of each one of these international markets with our clubs, with whom we work in order to jointly establish an international strategy and bring them commercial opportunities.”
How did LaLiga decide on the strategic locations worldwide?
“We were in need of reaching out to the countries which were most relevant to our business plan, besides the locations where we have branches. To achieve this, we monitored our presence and interest levels in each country on a daily basis in order to decide on the 34 countries where we’d set up branches.
“Aside from these countries, it’s worth pointing out that some of these representatives also manage more than one country under their mandate. For example, the representative in Mexico also works with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Haiti.”
What sort of partnerships can be established with other leagues?
“We’re keen on making a big effort to work closely with all the local institutions in the countries where we have representatives, and we’re especially interested in collaborating with the football leagues in every country. They can offer us a great deal of knowledge on the local footballing market and we likewise can share all of our experience and knowledge with them. We’ve already forged some fantastic partnerships with institutions in various countries, and the results are bearing fruit.”
How important is it to have people on the ground in the respective markets?
“It’s vital; it’s really important. We’re convinced that by being close to the respective markets and working with them on a daily basis, everything will become easier. This includes customer contact, promoting LaLiga, finding commercial opportunities both for LaLiga and for its clubs, establishing commercial and institutional agreements and keeping a close eye on them, as well as maintaining our broadcasting standards.”
How does the Global Network fit into LaLiga’s broader international development projects?
“Our international development model is carried out through two different channels. On the one hand, there are our branches led by country managers, who have their own structures into which a representative has been integrated, and on the other hand, there are the other Global Network representatives in each target country.
“Both the LaLiga branches and the representatives of the Global Network are coordinated from LaLiga’s headquarters in Madrid by the international development team. In turn, the work is carried out in conjunction with the other LaLiga departments in order for each market to receive collaborative help and support.
“An example of the workflow would be what the digital and communication teams are carrying out. Both departments set out a common strategy in line with each country’s objectives, and from this starting point, a specific plan of action is devised.”
Could you tell us a bit more about the flow of information between the Global Network’s representatives and Madrid?
“The representatives are in constant contact with their coordinator, with the head of Global Network, Nico Garcia, and myself, as well as the different departments of the organisation in order to get projects moving on a daily basis. What’s more, every Friday both the international branches and the representatives issue an in-depth report containing the most relevant progress information and the current status of each market.
“These reports are studied by the coordinators and by Nico, as he’s the director of the project. They’re also given careful consideration by Javier Tebas and Javier Gomez, LaLiga’s corporate managing director. A comprehensive review is carried out of each country and each project from all the branches and representative offices.”
What financial returns are being generated through the Global Network?
“The return on the investment in this project is based on the information that we receive on a day-to-day basis. This information is a real asset to us when it comes to management, strategy and decision-making, supervising brand protection and promotion, and crucially, boosting the value of our television rights and sponsors.
“We’re convinced that the LaLiga Global Network will become a self-sustaining project within a short amount of time. This prospect is not just because of the value of our television rights, but also because of the projects that are already coming together, in the same way that our branches manage their own budgets and investments to spread the brand, yielding positive results.”
What are the long-term prospects for the Global Network?
“Every branch and country with representatives has a strategic and business plan, through which we’ll be able to witness the accelerated growth of LaLiga across the world in the coming three years. This is no doubt down to the hard work carried out by the representatives and the rest of the LaLiga departments with whom we work closely, and of course thanks to the hard work, results and entertainment brought to us every matchday by our clubs.”
So, the future looks exciting for this initiative?
“I can tell you for sure that the future’s bright and the best is yet to come; there’s no doubt about it. So far, the representatives have been at their respective postings for between six to nine months. There are some really ambitious projects that are being worked on which are taking time to get going, and every week the amount of activity in each country is increasing exponentially. So, the representatives and international branches’ efforts have paid fantastic dividends for us so far and they are on course to continue doing so in the medium term.”