The Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División (LaLiga), or the top division of the Spanish football championship, is one of the most popular soccer competitions among Hungarian sports fans. Elisa Alvarez Martin, LaLiga’s representative for Hungary and the Balkans seeks to boost the popularity of the championship in this part of the continent.
Elisa Alvarez Martin is a Delegate of the La Liga Global Network in charge of Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Serbia. Her job is to help maintain and strengthen “our position as one of the global leaders of the entertainment industry. For this, we use what we call a ‘Glo-cal’ (global-local) strategy,” she tells Diplomacy&Trade. She notes that the mandate of the organization is to “ensure greater presence and exposure by such activities as public or private viewings and seek opportunities and alliances in various sports projects. We try to build brand awareness by preparing specific content in the communication and digital areas. Our goal is to create local presence; to this end, we have established relationships with local partners such as Spiler TV (our broadcaster), the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) and its clubs, Spanish Institutions like the Spanish Embassy and Instituto Cervantes as well as La Liga supporters’ clubs and local media. We have organized a workshop in Madrid together with the MLSZ and we also have high-level engagement with other organizations in Hungary. Additionally, we collaborate with the Instituto Cervantes in Hungary on managing the fan clubs of the different teams of the championship.” La Liga also signed a cooperation agreement with the Corvinus University of Budapest as part of the La Liga Business School project. The two sides are cooperating on several projects, including conferences and workshops.
La Liga experience
The television broadcasting rights of La Liga games in Hungary are currently held by Spiler TV, which is supported through promotions and campaigns. “They (Spiler TV) know they have a person of contact living in their country who is always available to give them support and act as a key contact person with the Madrid headquarters.” Spiler TV has launched a sweepstakes campaign via social media as part of the La Liga Experience. Spiler receives football shirts from all the clubs in La Liga Santander (the name of the sponsor) and spectators are invited to participate in a game to win the jerseys. The campaign features a weekly video of noteworthy developments related to the championship and viewers who answer questions correctly about the video enter a raffle to win the shirts.
“Our aim is to lead the international expansion of La Liga, increase its value internationally, boost the number of followers around the world and generate business opportunities for La Liga and its clubs. Our primary objective is to get as close to the fans as possible and prove that La Liga and our clubs are much more than just a competition. We care about the expectations of the fans and take concrete steps to meet these expectations. Establishing an international presence for clubs has a series of positive long-term effects, such as commanding a larger TV audience and creating new overseas partnerships, which in turn lead to the creation of jobs and income as well as increased sports opportunities around the world.” In addition to football matches, fans also expect to be engaged in between games with personalized content. Social media channels are the primary means of communication with fans and Elisa Alvarez Martin and her colleagues ensure that this is done in the local language to an increasing degree. La Liga produces a wide range of regular content in English and Spanish, including virtual tours inside the stadiums of La Liga Santander, profiles of the league’s emerging young players, as well as weekly match previews and unique local stories.
It’s not football. It’s LaLiga
Football is Spain’s most important sport and an incremental part of Spanish culture. However, Ms. Martin points out that football is more than just sports. “Our slogan is ‘It’s not football. It’s La Liga’. We make use of the most advanced audiovisual techniques in our fight against piracy and the promotion of other sports or social initiatives. As a result, we have succeeded in significantly increasing the revenue of the clubs and created a foundation for further growth.” La Liga and its clubs are important Spanish international brands and the league seeks to set football standards worldwide. “We want to have the world’s best clubs, the world’s best players. We want to be the world best football spectacle there is,” she adds. ‘El clásico,’ the legendary contest between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona is one of the most anticipated football events worldwide. The clash between two of the world’s best teams that musters some of the greatest players on the globe – “is much more than just a game. Our aim is to be the second league in each market after the local one,” Elisa Alvarez Martin says.