LaLiga signs landmark deal to stage matches in US

LaLiga, which operates the top two divisions of Spanish football, has partnered with sports and entertainment agency Relevent on a first-of-its-kind promotional agreement that will see regular-season matches played in the United States.

The 15-year joint venture will seek to promote football in the US and Canada, and will lead to LaLiga staging its first-ever regular season match outside of Europe. According to the Financial Times newspaper, LaLiga matches could be played in the US as early as this season.

The newly-founded LaLiga North America organisation will use LaLiga assets to further grow the sport in the US and Canada. LaLiga said today (Thursday) that the deal represents an “inflection point” for football in the US and Canada.

LaLiga North America will have exclusive representation rights to LaLiga in the US and Canada for all business and development activities. The operation will organise consumer-related activities, including youth academies, development of youth coaches, marketing agreements, consumer activations, exhibition matches and regular-season fixtures.

Stephen Ross, chairman and owner of Relevent, said: “This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America. 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.”

LaLiga 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 US and Canada. Relevent has filled stadiums across the US with the International Champions Cup, we’re thrilled to partner with them on a joint mission to grow soccer in North America.”

LaLiga North America will be led by chief executive Boris Gartner, a media executive with experience in the US Hispanic and Latin American markets and a former head of strategy and operations at Mexican pay-television operator Televisa.

Gartner will be supported by LaLiga North America’s vice-president of business development, Nicolás García Hemme, who previously worked in international development at LaLiga in Madrid. The new venture’s board of directors will also include Ross and Tebas, as well as Daniel Sillman, chief executive of Relevent, and Oscar Mayo, LaLiga’s director of international development.