Uncategorised — 2017/10/24 at 15:50

Interview with Diego Sanchez, LaLiga Global Network Program delegate to Hungary


Diego Sanchez is a Delegate of LaLiga Global Network Program. He is living and working in Hungary and his job is to raise the popularity and awareness of the Spanish Football League. We asked him about his work, results and plans.

What’s the idea behind LaLiga Network Program?

The idea of the program was to select a pool of young professionals and send them all over the world, increasing our international presence and brand value, being closer to our fans and setting up strategic agreements in order to show that the Spanish league is the best in the world. We can proudly say that this kind of program is unique in the football business.

When did the program start and in which countries is it available?

The kick-off was around October 2016, we have grown very fast. We are available in almost every country of the world; the aim is to be closer to wherever there is a LaLiga fan. Even if we are not located in a specific country, we do take care of it (for instance, I’m based in Budapest but I take care of Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria). The physical presence is important, it helps to show the uniqueness and values of LaLiga.

How could you become a program delegate?

When the program started, it consisted in a very long, serious and professional selection process. More than 12.500 people from 127 different countries applied. LaLiga, Banco Santander and Universia chose 150 people for a final event at Vicente Calderón Stadium. After that, 60 of us were selected for a nearly 3 months training process given by the Management and experts of different LaLiga Departments. Finally, 57 colleagues were selected and we were sent to several countries, some stayed at our Headquarters and others are working for LaLiga clubs.

What were the requirements?

Young professionals, with university degree and high level of English. It was an advantage having international job experience, previous experience in the football business and an MBA, for instance, but it was not a must.

When did you start working in Hungary?

In May this year, not even half a year ago.

You have mentioned that the goal of the Network Program is to make LaLiga more popular. Why is it important?

The management of LaLiga realized that with the help of its strong financial background, the Premier League claimed to dominate the European football market, while we strongly believe that based on the players we have and the results of our clubs, the Spanish league is the best in the world nowadays. This program is one of the ways to try to show that we are different.

How? What are your concrete goals?

There are several concretionary goals. One of them is to co-operate with LaLiga’s broadcasters to support them with different promotions and campaigns. Besides that, we can create different kinds of co-operations with local entities to create brand value and to learn from each other. Just to name a few, we make co-operations in Women’s Football, Foundation, Sports Projects, Fight Against Piracy… Increasing our digital presence is also key for us. Last but not least, we try to generate revenue.

Do you have any products to sell?

Yes. One of them is the classical sponsoring. We try to find partners that want to be associated to LaLiga brand by collectively using the image of our clubs. Besides this, we have some applications that can be licensed. One of them, for instance, it is called Media Coach System, which analyses real match games and helps football managers make decisions in order to improve their team’s performance.

You have started to work only a few months ago. Have managed to start up any projects in such a short period of time?

We have built a very good working relationship with Sport TV very quickly. As a result, last week we started working on the “The Team of the Week” campaign. Every week we present and introduce one football team. In the “Harmadik félidő” (Third half) program, we show which team will be the hero of the week, and we ask the “question of the week”. During weekdays, we give information about the team on LaLiga and SportTV Facebook profiles. On the match day, we show the right answer and there is a lucky winner who wins the official t-shirt of the given team. We started the campaign with Atletico de Madrid and we will present all LaLiga clubs, so it will take 20 weeks. We have started working on other ideas with other partners. You will see the results soon!

Who else have you contacted and what are the feedbacks?

We have met and talked with some the entities of the Hungarian football. There are many ideas and developments, these are still under progress. Besides that, it is very important for us to have a connection with the Hungarian LaLiga fans; we realized that they demand not just football matches, but also interaction during the week with personalized content. We reach them and communicate with them mainly through social media. One very good experience was that on the 20th of August (Hungary’s National Holiday) we greeted them in Hungarian language through LaLiga’s Facebook. We got very positive feedbacks to that.

Is LaLiga popular in Hungary?

Definitely yes! From the feedback we have, we can see that Hungarian people love the way we play at the Spanish League: very technical and caring for nice football. Next to it, there is a strong historic connection, everybody knows what a star was Puskas in Real Madrid or Kubala in Barcelona. Just to mention the biggest names.

What do you think, Real Madrid or Barcelona is more popular in Hungary?

It is a difficult question, both teams have many fans. Both have fantastic results. Some prefer Ronaldo, some prefer Messi. But maybe, because of the story of Puskas, Real Madrid is a little more popular…

Do you watch Hungarian football? What do you think about it?

Yes, I watch it and I know the results. I know that unfortunately, the national team was not qualified for the World Cup but they were there on the European Championships, and had some good results. I think the Hungarian football is improving, everybody is working hard and the results will eventually come.

I have to ask, what is LaLiga’s point of view and plan about the Catalonian case?

I can only refer to the words of Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga. We would not like Catalonia leaving Spain and a league without Catalan teams, but if Catalonia finally breaks up with Spain, then Barcelona, Espanyol, Girona and the other Catalan clubs will not be able to play in LaLiga.

Turning back to LaLiga Global Network, what are the next steps and for how long do you plan to work in Hungary?

As stated before, I have started many projects. I want to fulfill as many as possible. In addition, football business is changing very fast, there are always new possibilities, new projects. Therefore, my wish is to be here for long term. I’m working at what I love, in a place I like, so there are still many things to do and results to get.


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