Spanning traditional and digital channels, influencers have made a huge mark on the media landscape in recent years, becoming celebrities in their own right. Creating strong influencer partnerships has therefore become a new way for brands to entertain global audiences and build their own following.
At LaLiga, a unique programme featuring broadcasters, influencers and football clubs led to global audience growth during the 2018/19 season and this year, it plans to go even bigger.
Last season, 13 LaLiga Santander clubs welcomed 47 influencers from 40 different countries, who were working in partnership with 37 international broadcasters. A total of 10 different cities were visited for 18 experiences, with these influencers producing special content that reached as many as 148 countries.
By surpassing all these metrics this season, the league intends to take its global profile to the next level.
“The main objective of LaLiga Experience is to help the international broadcast partners of LaLiga to have better broadcasts of the competition in their countries, boosting those broadcasts and the visibility for their followers and new audiences,” explained María José Silva, the head of LaLiga Experience. “It is about original content told in a different way through popular faces in each country.”
What makes the initiative distinct is its focus on much more than 90 minutes of football. The influencers’ trips span several days as they spend time getting to know the clubs before the games and exploring the cities and regions that shape the identity of the teams.
“We cover relevant aspects of each city that we visit, discussing their gastronomic culture and the idiosyncrasies of each region,” Silva added. “We combine football with the touristic, social and cultural highlights of our country.”
A unique offering for broadcasters
Each influencer – whether an actor, actress, comic, YouTuber, chef, musician or sports star – is carefully selected by the broadcast partner in their country or region, who then promote the trip with studio interviews, teasers and competitions while also holding live calls with the influencer during their stay in Spain.
The TV presenters will explain LaLiga Experience during various programmes and share online content with the hashtag #LaLigaExperience. Afterwards, when the guest has returned to their home country, they’ll be interviewed again by the broadcast partner to discuss all the interesting details of the adventure.
For the broadcasters, this is something that they value greatly. “By providing broadcast partners with unique content and participation of relevant influencers of their countries we find that they are able to increase their audience figures and further promote their broadcast of LaLiga Santander in the territory to different audiences,” said Melcior Soler, director of LaLiga’s audiovisual department. “LaLiga Experience is an initiative that builds our global following while bringing added value to our existing broadcasters.”
Silva agreed, adding: “The broadcasters themselves have told us that no other competition offers them these kind of events. The project has become a must in each channel’s planning for promoting the competition. It’s a win-win as far as we’re concerned.”
New for 2019/20
For the 2019/20 edition, there will be several new developments as the focus on storytelling grows. This season’s chosen influencers will be treated like new star players and content will be created based on the concept of them being signed, being presented and having their first sessions as part of the team.
The first activity for this season was centred around this month’s Leganés vs Barcelona game and featured Argentine YouTuber Fran MG, Dutch gamer Frank Slotta and former Georgia international Archil Arveladze. However the adventure is about much more than the 90 minutes.
In the build up to the game at the Estadio Butarque the influencers spent four days in Madrid, enjoying a food tour of the city, visiting Leganés’ training ground to see a session before the match, spending time with the club’s strikers Guido Carrillo and Martin Braithwaite, performing challenges, meeting Leganés mascot Super Pepino and attending the game itself.
The result of this activity is widespread and detailed coverage of LaLiga. Fran MG was visiting Madrid in partnership with DirectTV and shared content with more than 4.5 million subscribers, while Slotta was working with Dutch channel Ziggo and communicating with more than 80,000 subscribers. Arveladze was representing Silknet and creating content for nearly 90,000 followers across Instagram and Facebook.
Increased audience metrics
Beyond benefiting the competition itself, LaLiga Experience has become a firm favourite of the clubs. As Silva has pointed out: “Thanks to their participation, there will international visibility for the club, their players and the competition as a whole.”
During the preparation stage, there is significant collaboration with the participating clubs and plenty of communication to ensure everything runs smoothly during the trip. That way, the clubs and the players can get the most out of it and use the content as well.
“It’s an idea I like a lot,” Athletic Club player Raúl García said of the initiative, while Real Valladolid’s Jordi Masip noted “LaLiga Experience is good for the worldwide impact it can have for the club.” Celta de Vigo star Iago Aspas added: “It’s good not just for LaLiga, but for all of the clubs.”
The numbers show that LaLiga Experience brings tangible benefits too. After a thorough evaluation stage, where all the posts from the broadcasters, influencers and relevant clubs are analysed, LaLiga produces a report to demonstrate metrics such as engagement, reach and estimated value.
Tellingly, LaLiga found that the promoted matches have ended up commanding a greater TV audience or following on social media. Some videos have even gone viral and have been picked up by other media in the broadcast partners’ countries.
“Even though each attendee is different in terms of their country, language and culture, we’re all united by a passion for the best league and the best football,” Silva said in conclusion. “We’re creating personal and unique experiences based on the LaLiga brand and the clubs.”