Spain’s La Liga competition have realised the power of digital storytelling and gaming, implementing strategies successfully to engage fans across the world.
Alfredo Bermejo, the director of digital strategy at La Liga, recently stated that building a connection with supporters is a priority, through the use of a variety of social media channels: “We need to know what the fans like, which platforms they engage with and what kind of content they like.
“Social media provides the possibility to go global and to have a scaled approach to the fans,” he said at the Social Football Summit conference.
Social media engagement data provides evidence that relevant stories of an international player at a modest club in the league, will have a bigger impact than posts about a superstar at Real Madrid or Barcelona.
“I think a common goal for all of us is to go beyond the big names and the big clubs and to try to tell stories and make other clubs and players become known by the audience,” Bermejo explained.
“We try to identify which stories are relevant within markets. Sometimes players from smaller teams have a bigger reach than the big stars because they belong to a certain territory where they are number one.”
As an example, Chinese international Wu Lei signed for Espanyol in January of 2019 with the club becoming the most-watched team on Chinese TV. La Liga’s follower count on social media network Weibo also soared by 82% in the second half of the 2018/19 season, due to Lei’s arrival.
Similarly, in the Japanese market, Eibar have utilised the signing of Takashi Inui in 2015 to tell appropriate stories about the player and continue to build the club’s profile in the country.
The competition’s social media metrics reach their highest during the matches of each round, therefore, the use of gaming to keep fans entertained for the whole week is vitally important.
Bermejo explained: “It’s an area where data gives us an advantage. With the traffic to our official website, we have big spikes during the weekend and then, during the week, we have lower valleys. What we try to do is to generate content abroad that helps us to minimise that.”
The league’s fantasy football gaming service, La Liga Fantasy Marca, has been a huge success.
“One of our biggest investments has been in our fantasy football game,” Bermejo stated. “When we created it, we had a belief that it would help boost consumption of more matches than just the traditional Real Madrid or FC Barcelona matches.”
“When you create a team, you have to select players from different teams so the biggest match for you during a weekend may not be one involving the biggest teams,” he continued. “It may be the match where you have the most players from your fantasy line-up.”
Fans can choose which team is their favourite before selecting a squad in the fantasy game, with the data portraying a broad spread of interest and engagement with different clubs in the league.
This is significant for La Liga and for its broadcasters, as information like this is shared between both parties in the best interests of strengthening their relationship.
“In the past, leagues used to sell the rights to broadcasters and then do nothing more,” he concluded. “Now, the model has completely changed. We’re moving from B2B to B2C business, where the relationship with the client and with the fans is getting more and more important.”
Other recent examples of La Liga connecting with the gaming world include Sevilla’s commercial agreement with Fortnite, where their kit will feature in the game along with more than 20 other football teams across the world.
As of May 2020, Fortnite has amassed over 350 million players globally, with Sevilla and La Liga tapping into the potential of the gaming giant through this beneficial partnership.