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Alfredo Bermejo | Digital strategy director, LaLiga

Alfredo Bermejo was among the 10 executives whose work in 2018 we believe indicates the direction of the sports business in 2019 and beyond.

Former Facebook executive Alfredo Bermejo was the man behind the impressive growth in LaLiga’s digital presence in 2018, leading a strategy that added 25.8 million new followers and increased engagement by 683 million across the league’s social networks.

Localisation was the watchword as the league set up new Twitter accounts in French, Japanese and Portuguese and created new accounts on native social media platforms in Russia and China. Unlike a lot of clubs and leagues which often translate social media content generated from a central hub, the league has invested heavily in local content teams to produce a more market-friendly output.

“There’s a whole journey they’ve taken over the last two, two and a half years in which they’ve identified a particular market, they’ve invested in it and it’s now delivering returns – both in terms of delivering a new audience but also very real commercial returns,” says Charlie Beall, a consultant with digital agency Seven League.

The best example of this was in Russia, where LaLiga started developing content tailored to local audiences on Facebook and then launched a channel on VK, the country’s largest social media network. This subsequently led to the league signing a broadcast deal with VK and its first Russian market sponsorship deal with Russian bookmaker Fonbet.

Bermejo also negotiated the innovative three-year deal with his alma mater Facebook that will see the social media giant screen 380 LaLiga matches to users in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“It’s a financial deal, but they’re not just looking at it in terms of the money it brings them. It’s also the data that it’s bringing them,” says Beall. “It won’t provide people’s email addresses and contact details but it will provide more insights into the way global consumers are consuming LaLiga content that they can then aggregate and make further content decisions around.”

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Our other nine trailblazing executives are:

Adam Silver | Commissioner, NBA

Barney Francis | Managing director, Sky Sports

Darren Eales | President, Atlanta United

David Szlezak | Managing director, EHF Marketing

Joanna Adams | Chief executive, England Netball

Kerry Bubolz | President, Vegas Golden Knights

Laura Froelich | Senior director, head of US content partnerships, Twitter

Sean Jefferson | Director of partnerships, Man United

Simon Denyer | Chief executive, DAZN Group

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