With major international tournaments taking place across three different continents this summer, the stars of Spanish football have been able to reach a huge global audience. At the 2019 Copa América in Brazil, 26 LaLiga players were representing their national sides, reflecting the strong links that exist between Spanish and South American football. These links were celebrated through an interactive fan space in the heart of Rio de Janeiro, offering a variety of free activities for fans during the middle week of the tournament.
Continuing its trend for creating a physical presence at the world’s major football competitions, LaLiga set up the interactive fan zone to help educate visitors about the Spanish top division via a series of immersive activities.
In the 250m² space fans could experience the sensation of being inside a LaLiga stadium or dressing room through VR headsets, could compete as Spanish teams on FIFA 19 and could learn about the competition’s 90 years of history through videos, graphics and a shirt wall displaying the 20 clubs of the 2018/19 LaLiga Santander season. There were also opportunities to play table football, Teqball and take photos with the LaLiga Santander trophy.
“Football is all about passion, excitement and entertainment and few regions reflect this as clearly as South America,” said Joris Evers, Chief Communications Officer at LaLiga. “This space allowed fans to get to know our competition better in a fun way while showing the great relationships we have been able to build across the continent. At the same time, we were able to share our story witch media from across the region and establish closer relationships with them.”
In total, more than 80 South American players are employed in LaLiga and many of the continent’s footballing legends, from Ronaldo to Maradona, have made their name in Spain over the years.
Two former stars of the league, Brazil internationals Marcos Assunção and Edmilson, took part in a round table discussion alongside LaLiga delegates Albert Castelló and Daniel Alonso Duarte to reflect on the influence that Spanish football has had across the region.
“The style of football played in LaLiga is very similar to the Brazilian style, with little physical contact and a lot of technical quality,” said former Real Betis player Assunção.
“LaLiga has always had the best players in the world,” added Edmilson, who spent time at Barcelona, Villarreal and Real Zaragoza. “Latin American players have helped LaLiga to have a great impact in this continent.”
As well as being the league that so many South American stars call home, LaLiga has many working agreements with football organisations across the continent to help strengthen football at all levels. Recent examples include partnerships with the LtaHub legal office to successfully close three illegal piracy websites in Brazil and an accord with Argentina’s National Sport Agency share advice on how to make the game as inclusive, diverse and fair as possible.
“As our fan base increases in South America we will continue to build strong institutional partnerships that allow us to share best practices and help the game to grow locally,” concluded Evers.
As part of these internationalisation efforts LaLiga has created physical spaces at major tournaments around the world such as the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. All events provided opportunities for LaLiga to get closer to fans, but also to strengthen relationships with institutions, broadcasters, influencers, media as well as commercial entities.