The recent match between Real Betis and FC Barcelona, which was held during Matchday 35 of the LaLiga Santander season, was followed by millions of people around the world. Two of the competition's most historic clubs faced off at the Estadio Benito Villamarín for a duel that was as thrilling as expected in the race for European qualification. While the atmosphere inside the ground was vibrant and colourful, as the home crowd cheered on the recent Copa del Rey winners, the passion also spread beyond the stadium walls as LaLiga organised events in eight different countries across Europe.
Therefore, as well as the more than 45,000 spectators who took in the match at the Estadio Benito Villamarín, there were also many more football fans attending simultaneous watch parties organised by LaLiga, making it a fun day out for all who attended. These activations also provided added value to the sponsors and partners who collaborated with LaLiga in organising them.
The watch parties were put on in Italy, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Belgium, Denmark, United Kingdom and Turkey, with the broadcasters of each territory taking part in their organisation, as well as various Spanish institutions and local supporters clubs of Real Betis and FC Barcelona. In addition, LaLiga merchandising was given out at these events, while there was a raffle for the attendees to win official shirts of both clubs.
Gary Udhwani, the Head of the LaLiga Global Network for Europe, discussed this continent-wide activation, stating: “We no longer just look to reach fans in each market in a localised way, as we now do so on a regional basis. Creating eight simultaneous watch parties helps us to interact in a natural way with our fans and stakeholders on the continent, helping us fulfil our regional strategy. We want to build a story as a region and this kind of project helps us to do that.”
Although each event was held in a different location, all of them had the common theme of this being a 'Battle for Europe' between the Verdiblancos and Azulgrana, which conjured up excitement and regional impact. Udhwani added: “We knew it was an important occasion for our fans because of what was at stake and that is why we opted for this match. The assistance of local supporters clubs of both teams was key to making it a regional party.”
An extra relevant activation took place within these watch parties, as a competition was held that achieved a very high level of fan involvement, the 'LaLiga's European Champion' competition. The aim of this activation was to name a European champion, who would win a prize of flights to Spain and tickets for two people for a 2022/23 LaLiga match.
In each country where one of the watch parties took place, a quiz was held with questions about the tournament. Then, the second step has seen the winner from each country qualify for the continental competition, with the overall champion to be decided from the eight finalists. This final test to determine the overall winner consists of making the highest number of correct predictions for the upcoming Matchday 37 in LaLiga Santander.
As Udhwani concluded: “We wanted to generate a more regional interest and encourage participation among fans from different territories. The winners from each country have become 'representatives' or 'ambassadors' for their countries and will now try their best for their country to come out on top.”
This truly was a day to remember, thanks to the combination of a top LaLiga Santander match, which was won in the last minute to show just how competitive and exciting the competition is, the participation of broadcasters, local supporters clubs and Spanish institutions, and the great reception and engagement of the fans.