Spain's LaLiga has become one of the most important football tournaments in the world, in addition to an entertainment brand with other products created through an international marketing and positioning strategy.
According to Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, the bidding for the three upcoming seasons' rights could mount up to 2.3 billion euros, being 1.3 billion for the national rights and one billion for the international ones. The tender will take place in April.
In an interview with ttvnews, Tebas explained the strategies used to develop a global brand and spoke about the bidding for its broadcasting rights, strategic alliances, the role of digital platforms and new consumption habits, piracy and the launch of an OTT platform.
Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga
"The main thing has been understanding we work in a global market and thus, we needed a global brand," he explained, adding that in order to accomplish this goal, they had to "be more than just football."
And that's precisely the reasoning behind the brand's new slogan: "It's not football. It's LaLiga."
The new strategy, Tebas explained, is about addressing the fans and highlighting the value of the competition, "which has the best teams and players in the world, as well as the latest technological advancements to show it worldwide."
The tournament currently has offices in Brussels, Dubai, New York, New Delhi, Abuja, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Johannesburg, with delegates from LaLiga Global Network in dozens of countries.
LaLiga has carried out this strategy through a rebranding process and expanding the brand across the international market, working with broadcasters, sponsors and media. "We made the brand known outside of Spain," he said. "We've also worked on franchising and licensing models to use the brand through merchandising, stores, restaurants and more."
And when it comes to potential partners, names like Mediapro, Movistar and Amazon are just some of the giant companies on the list, all of whom have shown interest in acquiring the league's broadcasting rights, which will be licensed in April.
"Telecommunication operators continue to be the main contenders in the race to acquire our rights, based on our commercial model," he said. "We want OTTs to enter the bidding, but right now, I don't see it possible for Amazon or Facebook to buy the rights for the next three seasons by themselves, but rather acquire certain packages or special content."
And speaking of OTT, LaLiga announced the launch of an OTT platform, meant to offer "between 10 and 12 team sports with top quality, that can coexist with our own contents," Tebas revealed.
"We must offer sports that are not present on mainstream networks. They will be offered both on demand and live," he added. The platform will be launched for free for the first two years, demanding only a registration from its users.
Aside from this launch, LaLiga already has a solid online presence through alliance with social media and digital companies like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, with whom it has "a tight relationship".
In addition to offering added-value content for the group, these platforms aid LaLiga in ensuring the correct use of its contents and its fight against piracy, an area they've making strong efforts on over the last few months.
"In Spain, LaLiga collaborates with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Government of Spain, to fight the violation of intellectual property rights," he said. "In this sense, LaLiga adapted its software, which has been assigned to the Ministry and has been named Lumiére, with the goals of facilitating, automating and expediting the research of illicit downloads of content."
"Similarly, LaLiga also actively supports campaigns against Internet piracy promoted by the Government of Spain and awareness campaigns for students in schools," he added.
On the international side, the league is a member of several organizations which fight against audiovisual piracy. "Within these forums, LaLiga leads projects aimed at the protection of content through its tech resources. We are also making big efforts to support our international licensees, both by helping them solve potential problems, as well as the construction of a more sold legal framework in terms of intellectual property laws," he concluded.