LaLiga recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of its unique international structure that has driven the competition’s international expansion and made the Spanish league into a world-leading reference in the sports industry when it comes to internationalisation.
The LaLiga Global Network program was launched in 2017 and is now present in 41 countries boasting 44 on-site delegates, as well as another 11 professionals working from the LaLiga headquarters in Madrid. Another fundamental component of this internationalisation project are its 11 international offices and two joint ventures in North America and China.
The league’s ambitious international expansion strategy now covers 90 countries and has become one of the identifying traits of its growth; it is the main channel through which the passion of Spanish football has reached all corners of the planet, with more and more people falling in love with LaLiga and enjoying its spectacle week, week out.
At an event held in Madrid to mark the occasion, LaLiga Executive Director Óscar Mayo reflected on this transformation which has led LaLiga into a new dimension over these past five years: “Five years ago, we embarked on an ambitious mission to bring the entertainment and emotion of LaLiga to more fans around the world and to help grow football as a sport everywhere. We are very proud that LaLiga and its main protagonists, clubs, players, coaches, are closer today to more people around the world than ever before. That said, this is just the beginning, together with clubs and with the support of our new partner CVC we will give our international efforts a massive boost.”
The impact of this internationalisation strategy is clear to see, given the growth in the community of LaLiga fans around the world. In fact, with its 146 million followers, LaLiga is the competition with the largest follower count out of the five major European leagues. Regular content in over 20 languages across 17 different social media platforms ensures that Spanish football can be discussed and debated in any language.
In just the past couple of years, the number of international activations organised by LaLiga has doubled, reaching 1,222 across more than 90 countries. Such events help bring the competitive and exciting European league to supporters and media beyond Spain’s borders. Furthermore, as part of LaLiga’s objective of sharing its knowledge to help local football grow around the world, LaLiga currently has 37 agreements with leagues, federations and other institutions in more than 28 countries and another 24 educational alliances with international partners from 24 countries through LaLiga Business School.
“When it comes to football fans outside of Spain, we always say that we would like to be everyone´s second most popular league, after their local league. National leagues are the true engine of football and that’s why LaLiga is sharing the recipe of its own success with leagues, federations and clubs around the world,” added Mayo.
This growing interest in Spanish football and the greater visibility on the pitch has led to a 30% increase since 2015/16 in the global audiences for the broadcasts of LaLiga matches. This, in turn, has meant a rise of 247% in the value of the competition’s international audiovisual rights since 2013/14 and a boost to the value of LaLiga’s brand, with the number of sponsors growing fivefold in the same period.
“The growing number of commercial partnerships around the world is another sign of the increasing relevance of LaLiga and evidence that fans everywhere are closer to our league than ever before,” commented Mayo. “Our commercial partners are an important part of LaLiga fan engagement with activations in many parts of the world.”
The numbers confirm that Spanish football has captivated fans from all over the world, while they also attest to the success of the international expansion strategy rolled out by LaLiga over the past five years.
The viewing experience is another core element in LaLiga’s global reach. In the past years, LaLiga has invested significantly in an ever-improving viewer experience with technology such as drones, skycams and volumetric video powering 360-degree replays, all this delivered through an always growing and improving roster of broadcaster partners.
“We are on an exciting journey to entertain people around the globe. We will continue to make bold bets to bring Spanish football fans everywhere great entertainment and to introduce our competition to more people everywhere. We’re really just starting,” closed Mayo.