The 2019 edition of Sports Summit MX, the event on content protection and innovation in the sports industry, came to an end on Thursday, Feb. 21. Up next, an overview of what Day 2 left us.
Day 2 of the first Sports Anti-Piracy Summit reprised the large turnout of the first day, wrapping up with an attendance of over 1,500 people together with a lineup of 70 speakers representing 15 football leagues and tournaments, 40 clubs and more than 90 businesses and sponsors.
Focusing on content protection and innovation in sports, the event was organized by TodoTVMedia and hosted by FOX Sports. LaLiga, Bundesliga, Genius Sports, LTA Hub and Directv were among the main sponsors of the Summit.
Held from February 20-21 at Mexico City’s World Trade Center, the Summit featured top-level conferences and, simultaneously, two days of workshops by sports authorities and technology experts.
Up next, a summary of what was discussed during the second and final day of the event.
The future of Latin American football lies overseas
Day 2 started with the panel titled “LatAm Football Clubs: the vision of sports management executives and strategies of sports rights’ protection in global times.”
The panel featured Jesús Martínez Patiño, president of Grupo Pachuca (Mexico); José Luis Higuera Barberi, president of Club Chivas (Mexico); Jorge Barrera, president of Club Atlético Peñarol (Uruguay); and Juan Fernando Mejía, president of Club Deportivo Cali (Colombia).
Martínez Patiño’s words dealt mainly with the significance of club supporters: "We must pay attention to consumers, to everything they do that is adjacent to the game itself. Consumers are once again the backbone of football clubs,” the exec stressed. “Before, football ticket sales were the main source of revenue, there were no ad banners nor sponsors on the players’ jerseys. Nowadays, 35-40% of the revenue generated by Spanish and English clubs derives from licensing broadcasting rights.”
Next, Higuera agreed: "My role as a strategist is to know what supporters want. As a management executive, I must work toward getting the club to accomplish things. There must be plenty of situations that instill a sense of belonging. You must unfold the experience. Because it trascends being at the stadium,”
Meanwhile, Mejía said that the goal is to “build loyalty among fans via social media and technology” so that sponsors “can use everything that surround the game in their advantage.”
In addition, the Colombian exec claimed that “the future of Latin American football will be extremely dependent on what happens overseas because of sports betting and the export of footballers and supporters, something that big football leagues have accomplished while we are only about to start working on it.”
For Jorge Barrera, the three main responsabilities of a sports management executive are: “leading through values, thinking big, and working to narrow the gap between big ideas and their execution.”
"Globalization propells us forward. There’s a great opportunity for growth,” added the Uruguayan exec. "Technology is the key for building loyalty, creating content and internationalizing the brand. It won’t happen overnight. We will be launching our own app within the next few days, and we have a lot of work ahead of us building brand loyalty among supporters. The app is one way of doing it,” he added.
Importing the Europol model
The next panel of Day 2 was “Latam authorities: fighting online piracy (experiences in enforcement),” which was moderated by Ygor Valerio, CEO (LtaHub).
Taking part in the panel were Irely Aquique, divisional director of Intellectual Property Protection at the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property (IMPI), Dolores Sánchez, penal judge specialized in organized crime (Uruguay), María Pilar Rodríguez Fernández, chief prosecutor of Madrid (Spain); and Ivo Gagliuffi, president of the Board of Directors (INDECOPI)
Aquique explained that when a judge orders blocking a website, “it has to be exclusively in connection with the proprietary content that is allegedly being infringed.”
In this respect, she brought up the notorious case of pirate streaming site Sportflix. "Two years ago, a complaint was filed. The streamer had access to all live sports. We started the legal proceedings. In part, due to the use of official logos. The site featured league logos. It was a big case for IMPI,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Sánchez said that taking down Rojadirecta.com was a major challenge for the Uruguayan justice. "There were no records of a case like this in Uruguay.”
Spanish prosecutor Rodríguez Fernández warned about the issue of going after stolen content hosted in the cloud. “Said content is replicated in delocalized servers. We don’t know where it actually is.”
Nonetheless, the expert pointed out that Europe is lucky to have Europol. “Latin America should import this. It would entail putting together investigation teams in every country so that the evidence found is admissible everywhere.”
In Ivo Gagliuffi’s view, piracy is a cutural issue. "Public resources must be destined to educating consumers.” He announced Peru is promoting a project with a three-pronged approach to policy-making: education, persuasion and reaction.
"We must come up with dynamic injunctions. Strike while it’s hot. Just like with Sportflix. A Dynamic system to strike back promptly," he summed up.
Safeguarding sports-related passion
The Summit also featured a European perspective on sports rights protection through the panel “European competitions: sports rights licensing in Latin America, the fight against content theft through illegal apps and IPTV,” moderated by Marta Ochoa, Assistant Vice President – Senior Legal Counsel (DIRECTV Latin America) & Executive Director (Alianza Contra la Piratería de Televisión Paga)
In this case, the panelists where Arne Rees, EVP Strategy (Bundesliga International); Seong Sin Han, Head of Marketing Legal Services (UEFA); and Julien Taieb, Head of Legal and Public (French Professional Soccer League - LFP)
Rees said that Bundesliga brands want to “expand” into new markets like the Americas. "The challenge is to offer fans the best quality and protect -alongside our partners- their passion for the sports,” he stressed.
Taieb in turn said that, should piracy remain so widespread, people will have easy access to content. “For us, it is very important to send the message that we are protecting the League against piracy.”
Seong Sin Han, finally, explained that the challenge for UEFA is to increase the number of “consumers” and distribute “what we believe is the best of the best” content-wise. “We distribute the big-club-playing-a-final experience.”
Sports, marketing and positive impact
During the keynote "Sports as development source” by Enrique Arribas Alcolado, Brand and Content Marketing director, Brand and Communication at Santander; and Guadalupe Lucero, Senior VP of Corporate Communication at Fox Networks Group Latin America, the vision of each company was presented.
"Sports are a fundamental marketing tool," said Arribas Aloclado. “Since 2008 we have sponsored countless sports. We sponsor LaLiga Santander, the best league in the world. I daresay Santander is the bank of football,” he stressed.
"It is crucial to have a positive impact. Over the last few years, under the brand FOX Por Ti, FOX Networks Group has conducted -under three pillars- social responsibility campaigns,” explained Lucero. "Sports cut through these various initiatives," she added.
Furthermore, the Group carries out campaigns such as Club Social FOX. "An audiovisual segment in the form of four-minute capsules to inform about the socially-oriented work performed by clubs,” said the exec. “We surveyed 40 initiatives and selected 11.”
She also mentioned the example of the Anti-piracy League. "It is our first campaign destined to educate children from an early age to value their own creations,” she explained. “Four animated characters fight content theft,” she concluded.
Javier Tebas: "We have geolocated the fight against piracy"
The most eagerly awaited keynote of the day, titled “LaLiga: Becoming a world-class property – Content protection strategies,” was delivered by Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s LaLiga.
Tebas shared details about the supporter-oriented strategy pursued by LaLiga, which has allowed it to grow exponentially around the world. “The notion of supporter should encompass not only the fan that goes to the stadium but also the one that watches the game from home. Today, in most countries, LaLiga is show on pay TV. We don’t get paid by broadcasters but by viewers,” he expressed.
"In five years, we have increased attendance to stadiums by 20%. We went from a workforce of 57 in 2013 and 2014 to the 560 we are today," said Tebas.
In this respect, Tebas explained what the three strategic pillars of LaLiga are: Data (Big&A), Strategy (glocal) and Product (Anti-piracy).
With regards to piracy, LaLiga loses 300 million euros a year only in Spain because of it. “Football leagues have to make the most sizeable investment in content protection against piracy,” said Tebas.
In this respect, LaLiga has invested millions of euros in developing technology and tools to fight this evil. “We spent millions of euros on tools like Blackhole, launched in 2018. Or Marauder, a social media-tracking tool,” added Tebas.
"We have 22 hackers working for us. In every country we look for a law firm to work with. We have geolocated the fight against piracy,” he underlined.
In addition, he explained that agreements entered into by LaLiga set forth an obligation for the other party to implement defensive measures. "Unless we protect our content, it will get stolen and streamed across the world.”
"To go against piracy you must understand it first. We are learning about technology to take down all those IP addresses that host them,” he concluded.
Networks team up to fight piracy
The event also had the point of view of sports networks on the issue of piracy in the panel “Sports networks: evolution of sports rights, live broadcasts, integration of digital platforms and interaction with audiences,” with the presence of José Aboumrad, executive director of Claro Sports; Rodolfo Ramírez Márquez, managing director of Azteca Deportes; Alberto Sosa, director of Televisa Deportes; and Javier Arnau Ávila, director Ad Value of Imagen Televisión.
The four speakers agreed on networks having to come together to communicate the issue of piracy and look for solutions later.
"As an industry and guild, we must stick together, but we have not communicated how to offer solutions. If we start by communicating what the the problema is properly, then we can tend to everyone’s needs and offer solutions,” Alberto Sosa said.
"We’re in the right path, but it is still a long way before we get to viewers and make them understand the trouble they cause when they click on unlicensed content. And we must explain sponsors to whom they must associate their brands, because sometimes they lack information,” added José Aboumrad.
"Unless you make a significant effort in communicating your message, most people do not see it as a big deal,” concluded Javier Arnau Ávila.
Thus, for Rodolfo Ramírez Márquez, part of the solution lies in “narrowing the gap between viewers and us.” "If you reach out to your audience, you force them to come to you. We must create well-defined content so that viewers demand that and not other options,” he expressed.
Regarding the present of the industry, the rise in competition was something that the sports networks’ representatives could agree on.
"I feel there are more of us. People have access to 300 channels, so they can choose whatever they like. Opportunities, and healthy competition, arise when we come up with differentiating elements. This drives you to be better and more creative every day,” said Alberto Sosa.
"There didn’t use to be this degree of competition. There is a wider choice of entertainment that didn’t exist in the past,” added José Aboumrad.
Last but not least, Javier Arnau Ávila lamented the drop in viewership that, in his opinion, is due to “us not delivering a quality product.”
E-sports and social media: The future of the industry?
The event wrapped with two panel on the growing digital sector, propelled by social media and E-sports.
Thus, the panel "Social Media in Sports: sports in digital platforms and social media interaction” featured Luan Knaya, director of Sports Content Alliances at Twitter LatAm; Jon Anthony Cruz, Sports Content Partnerships at YouTube; and Leonardo Lenz Cesar, Head of Sports Partnerships and Programming / Latam at Facebook.
The three companies are currently leading a revolution on the broadcasting media, with resounding instances of sports rights licensing which are eating into traditional media’s cake.
In this respect, the three highlighted the size of their audiences, interaction opportunities and proneness to community building.
"The most valuable audience is in Twitter and it is extremely receptive. It’s so much more that 140 characters – it’s audience-defined video, " stressed Luan Knaya.
"With decent content and engagement you get a community and that leads to monetizing. Facebook is crucial because at the end of the day your monetizing ability relies on your community," added Leonardo Lenz Cesar.
With regards to e-sports, the first Summit closed with the panel titled “E-sports: key aspects of this global phenomenon – they fill stadiums and draw massive audiences," by Raúl Fernández, Latin America Manager of Riot Games; and Rodrigo Ulibarri, top FIFA and e-Sports athlete.
"Despite not demanding movements that are as impressive as those in traditional sports, e-sports do require a fair modicum of eye-hand coordination skill and practice which cannot be achieved by chance. There is also the traditional mental exhaustion you would expect in a competition of this kind, which kind of resembles the physical exhaustion a traditional sports competition entails,” said Raúl Fernández when asked why they are deemed sports. “There are teams that compete against one another, there is strategizing, events. These kids hire coaches, physios, agents, nutritionists. And they are paid a similar amount to traditional sportspeople,” he added.
Fernández highlighted the growth of e-sports, capable of selling out a 40,000-seat arena
"League of Legends started i Sweden in front of a crowd of 300 personas. We went from there to filling out the Los Angeles Lakers stadium three seasons in a row. We have played to full houses in Corea and Germany.”
In 2018, e-sports generated 906 million dollars in revenue, a figure which is bound to reach to 1.65 billion by 2021.
Second edition confirmed
After the last conference, the organizers confirmed that in 2020 the Summit will return for a second edition.