Let’s Be Mates Podcast – EP12 – It’s not Football. It’s LaLiga
Podcast | 8 January 2020
In this episode we are talking to Glen who represents LaLiga in Australia and New Zealand. At MATE we have chosen sport and in-particular football to align our brand too as we want ‘passionate fans’ as our customers and football has some of the most passionate fans in the world. LaLiga is the pinnacle showcase around the world for football lovers, with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona playing in the LaLiga, the power of its brand and presence globally is growing day by day.
Some of the brand statements around LaLiga is, “Its not football, its LaLiga” and that “LaLiga is more than just football”. At MATE we really resonate with this as we see ourselves as a “customer happiness business” that happens to sell telco products. We truly believe a business needs to have more substance then just the service they sell and this is why the LaLiga story is a must for everyone to hear.
You can stay up to date with the LaLiga at www.laliga.com or watch your favourite team on beIN sports in Australia.
You can learn more about Mate internet and mobile plans at www.LetsBeMates.com.au.
Faz: Welcome Australia. It’s that time again for another podcast, from the Mate team where we try and get into your head with stuff that makes us sound smart. Sit back and relax. It’s time for us to be mates.
Welcome Australia to another. Let’s be mates podcast. I’m one of your hosts FAZ in the room with me. We’ve got Bosco. How are you doing today? Good mate. Good. And, unfortunately we don’t have Dom here with us today. He’s taken some leave and taken some well earned rest away from this business, this crazy business, which is good.
And hopefully he comes back refreshed. And, just want to say on the, on the record, we’re not missing you here, mate. In today’s episode, we are talking to Glen Rolls, Glen. Represents LaLiga in Australia and New Zealand, LaLiga is the football league in Spain that hosts the clubs of the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, which most people will know, even if you’re not a football fan at Mate, we have chosen sport and in particular football to aligned our brand to, as we want passionate fans.
as our customers and football has some of the passionate fans in the world, LaLiga is the pinnacle showcase around the world of football lovers. With the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, applying in the LA Liga, the power of its of its brand and presence globally is growing day by day. Some of the brand statements around LaLiga.
are, it’s not football. It’s LA Liga. And that our league is more than just football at night. We really resonate with this. As we see ourselves first as a customer happiness business, then we sell, Telco products, which is core to our, our business. We truly believe a business needs to have more substance than just the service they sell.
And this is why the LaLiga story is a must for everyone to hear Glenn, welcome to the let’s be mates podcast. Thanks for being on board.
Glen: No. Thank you guys for having me. It’s a pleasure being here, talking to you guys, so thanks. Oh, awesome.
Faz: And you know, football is, as you know, is real heart of our passion of our business and, you know, what’s what represents more a football more than LaLiga.
Right? And so it’s probably the, one of the biggest things that’s happening in world sport at the moment. And Glen let’s start with, and especially for our listeners. Tell us a bit about you and what your role is at LaLiga league and maybe a bit about your history and how, how it got you to LA Liga.
Glen: Yeah, it’s an interesting one.
I guess my history is pretty well history into football is probably not the traditional sort of way that a lot of people go through. I guess touching on my role first and foremost, you know, I’m what they call a delegate representative for LaLiga. So I essentially represent all of LaLiga his interests here in Australia, as well as New Zealand, both countries.
it’s, it’s kind of, it’s a very broad role because my day to day, is very different, you know? I’m essentially kind of like the link person between local football here in this region and all of our departments back in, back in Spain. so departments being communications department commercial, of course.
Sports projects. So, so looking for maybe, bringing coaches over and, you know, player a device development programs and that kind of thing, as well as that digital department. And that’s just to name a few. So it’s a, it’s a very broad role of tackling a number of things really. I guess we’ll talk about that more, more, more along the line, but I guess my personal story as well.
As you can tell from my accent, I grew up in New Zealand. So, my, my path into football was probably not one of the most traditional ways. You know, I’m not from a, an English family. I’m not from what people would probably say an ethnic family, here in Australia. So, I grew up playing rugby union and New Zealand.
I mean, I grew up wanting to be an All Black. As most, as most people as is the norm for all new Zealanders. of course I played a bit of, like all Kiwi kids as well. You, you play out, you play every sport, you play rugby, you play football, you play cricket, just whatever you can do with your friends.
Right. And you basically go to school to, to, to eat your lunch and play sport. You don’t really go for the education. But it’s important later on in life, of course. But, but, so I played a bit of football. You could say socially and with friends growing up, never, never really on a competitive level.
And, yeah, finishing uni, I got out, I got a chance to go over to Spain to actually play by union, to play a bit of professional sport over there. So, yeah, so I jumped at that chance, but I guess before that, So, this is a story, like my personal story, why I’m so passionate about football. When I was about 15, I went to South America for a school trip, and I think it was in 2002 to set 2003.
But anyway, the final of the, of the Coppa Libertadores at the time was Boca Juniors Vs Santos and we were just in a, in a small town, just out of Bunos Aeries and Boca juniors won the final a bit competition for the first time. And I can’t remember how many years, but that was sort of my taste of, of just seeing exactly firsthand what football culture and football fans, you know, was like.
Right. And it was the, I mean, you couldn’t have been in a, in a more perfect place for your first taste of it just, it was outstanding. And we, I mean, I remember when they won. We sort of went for a bit of a walk on the street and, you know, absolute scenes from, from the fans there. And I thought, man, this is, this is incredible.
And from the i always had a bit of an inkling. I wanted to learn more and be more involved in that football, just, just purely because of the passion. You know, I really, really believe that football is what sets it apart from the other sports is the passion aspect. And we’re not just talking in one part of the world.
One region really is global. And yeah. Going back to what I was saying before I had the chance to go to Spain and this was about 11 years ago. initially I was only supposed to go for six months. same old story. You sort of fall in love with the place fall in love with the. You know, the girls, the women, whatever,
Faz: it’s a fairy tale.
Glen: So why don’t you settle down? And, yeah, I was there for 10 years, so, and then during that time, I got involved with football, being involved with a number of clubs and also studied a master’s degree over there, the Real Madrid graduate school. so you had made a lot of key people and then of course got involved with LaLiga.
Who of course. and recent times I’ve had a great push or a great need to push their brand. internationally and of course they have expanded this project, this global network project that I, I’m very fortunate to form a part of. And of course, that sort of led me into this role.
Faz: Wow. That’s awesome.
And you say so many things that we really resonate with, right? I mean, we telco is definitely our skill, but pulls our passion. Right. And so we’re very jealous that you’re, you’re living your passion, which we, we love right . I love how you talk about passion, right? Because you know, part of our brand, I guess, values is that we want.
Or brand a brand statement is that we want passionate fans of something to be our customer. Right. And you talk about the Boca juniors experience and what more passionate fans in the world are football fans. Right. And so I know that we’ve got a bias on because we are football fans, but take our hat off for a bit.
and when we talk about our brand values and what we’re trying to achieve, We need something to represent that sort of feeling right. And football does that in all corners of the world. And I know in Australia, football’s not massive, but if you see how the likes of the supporters around the RBB with the Western Sydney Wanderers and how they launch, you know, I was at the airport at midnight, when they came back from the Asian champions league and won the Asian champions league, there were over 5,000 people in the airport that stuff you don’t see in this country and that stuff you don’t see with other sports.
And so it’s a really important, and I think it’s, it’s. It stays true to our brand. Right. And so passion and passion and passionate fans of something is core. And, I guess that’s what drives our league, right? It, if you haven’t got passionate fans, you haven’t got anybody doing anything. Right.
Glen: So hundred percent, I think that while being in spain first hand, and I guess experiencing the different stories of all the clubs and all the different stories.
and as you say, just seeing the passion firsthand in the stadiums. Around the stadiums just on the streets as well. I mean, I had, I always say to people like you asked me if I spoke Spanish, well, eventually I learned Spanish, but the first thing I learned was to speak football, because speak Spanish football, because you’d go into a bar and if you didn’t know how to connect with the locals there, if your knowledge wasn’t sort of at a minimum, Points that you needed to sort of have had a, you know, have a good conversation.
You probably wouldn’t enjoy yourself. So that was probably the first language that I, that I learned to speak ever inspired him was, was to speak Spanish football, before, before I sleep. And of course the swear words probably pick one thing that I learned. And then of course you learn. how to speak the language, but, but it’s all, it’s all mixed together.
And as you say, passion is very much at the center point.
Faz: Yeah. And I, I had the chance to go to Madrid a couple of months ago before all the craziness, as you know, Glen. And, and I guess we didn’t spot it myself and a colleague from work that came with me. We did obviously didn’t speak the language, but we went to a bar, local bar.
We had three things in common football, and the food and beer. Simple as that, you know, the, all the proscciuto too, I think. What do you call those bars where you, where you come on bars? Yeah, come on, come on, come on. And so that’s definitely what we had in common. So no matter if we didn’t speak the language, we had three things in common.
As soon as you walk through the door and you know, it was, it was awesome. It was so cool. But I’m sorry, Ross yeah.
Bosco: Yeah. so Glenn summarize COVID, for us, for the league, obviously Kovats had a massive effect on, all sports global, I believe, but I’m
Faz: in businesses and people. Yeah.
Bosco: Just so just give us a bit of summary, what it meant, for, for, for the La Liga.
Obviously the league stopped for a little while. it’s back on the way now I believe, but, yeah, just give us a bit of an overview of, of what happened and then how things changed during covert.
Glen: Yeah, sure. I mean, it seems like a long time ago now, right? Like looking at, when was it sort of start to mid March when everything kind of hit the fan?
I guess initially in Spain it was, it was, as you said, Mark, any other business, any other sector? as a part of the broader society. Yeah. The fact that everyone was very uncertain of the times and especially right at the start, no one knew exactly how it was going to affect everything. And of course, from there, how it was going to, I guess, evolve into the situation that, that turned out to be.
So, yeah. Was, I think initially it was very tough, first of all, I wasn’t in Spain, so I can’t really. Comment in terms of the specifics there, but I, from what I believe, I think initially it wasn’t taken. Yeah. It’s probably not that it wasn’t taken as serious. It just didn’t like it was going to end up where it got to.
So, so that was, I think that was the initial sort of phase. And then of course it had all of a sudden than Spain, of course, you know, Spain being one of the most affected countries at that time in the world with Italy. and it just sort of went. alost overnight from, from something that could potentially happen.
So all of a sudden, you know, a hundred percent locked down, so many different affected, infected and affected people as well as, you know, people dying. So it was just a completely, you know, travisty stayed very sad, effecting people’s lives. So I think, you know, initially for us, football was kind of put to the side, right?
It was, it was like, you know, this is a sport. This is obviously important. But in the scheme of things, that’s not the most important. And of course, you know, as people, following the rules, following the precautions, keeping safe, keeping healthy was, you know, the, first and foremost, most important thing, not only in Spain, but the rest of the world.
So I think. As a, as a sporting organization, as I said, the sport was kind of put to the side and we sort of just saw ourselves as, as maybe one of the leading organizations that could help with the communication. And, and you’re the message from, I guess, the, the governments and these health authorities in Spain to, you know, use our platforms.
And of course, use our communication tools to help deliver their messages. Not really our messages, our messages as i said put to the side. And those case sort of health messages were, were, were implemented. yeah, so I think that, that first and foremost, that was the, you know, very, very important for everyone.
I guess moving on probably on a few weeks, sort of past, maybe a few months, it was, people sort of, you know, thought that, you know, Spain could get back to some sort of normality after going through what it went through. And then of course during that time, LaLiga was, was I guess, devising plans on the information that we had.
So yeah, again, this wasn’t specific and precise information. This was just information based on, I guess, scenario analysis of what could happen in the future. So, yeah, hats off to the people back in Madrid, because they worked really tirelessly to devise these plans with the limited amount of information that they had.
Right. So the plan was always to. To, to, to, you know, bring LaLiga back once we could bring it back safely. of course, that wasn’t out of school to, to make that was, that was of course the higher power, the Spanish government, the Spanish health authorities, all making those decisions. And of course, once they sort of devise their own plan, I remember it was, it’d be six to eight weeks ago of how to get back, you know, so some sort of normality, I think they devise their own sort of 4 stage plan.
So every two weeks spine was going to come out of a different level of lockdown. And the, and of course, I guess to the stage that Spain is in now where, where it’s basically a, you can sort of go about your life normally, but you have to wear a mask. You have to keep. You know yourself, socially distance, et cetera, et cetera.
It’s on the back of that announcement. We’re able to, to devise our own four stages plan to of course, firstly, get the players on the teams back to, to training to some sort of training because it’s not the same. You can have a treadmill or, or some of these, you know, big footballers have their own gyms, but I mean, If it’s not on the pitch and you’re not having that match kind of training fitness, it’s not the same.
Right. So, yeah, so that was the first, first step and probably the most important because that sort of, you know, got them out of their houses, onto the training pitch. So that was number one. And then I guess the full, the fourth phase of that was, was obviously just before the matches restarted. And there was of course, you know, bringing group training back and, and the team training back to, to, you know, back to normal.
Essentially. So there’s been many different stages and plans put in place. As I said, many different, people working on these things, many cogs in motion as well. So even now, like there’s, this there’s matches back playing. but LaLiga essentially is the, is the logistical organizer of everything.
So we even organize the every club and every team’s travel arrangements now. Just so that there’s one central, I guess, organization that’s controlling everything to ensure that everything is as following all the rules and all the regulations to a T, which is that important. And I guess, so that sort of, you know, on the pitch and speaking about sort of what, what had initially as well, and I guess off the pitch, you could say when there was no content, no matches being played.
I mean, We could only do as much as we could do. Like we, we still sort of saw ourselves. We had a massive responsibility to, to not only, keep engaging with our fans, but also to, to play some sort of part in the COVID-19, I guess, situation. So a number of different, initiatives were created in Spain
there was a, concept created, I think it was called that LaLiga center and they faced and then sort of saw. The best sort of musical artists from Spain and Latin America. So the rigiton and all these like massive names, get together with all of the players and they put it on like a concert and that was to write, they raised a lot of money, I think a few million euros.
there’s been a number of e-sports initiatives to, to of course engage with that audience as well with some of the players. And of course, you know, the clubs are played a, a huge role, as well, right with different initiatives in their own regions. And of course, you know, some of the bigger clubs as well, global initiatives, which have also raised money and helped with awareness and, and, you know, so to again, deliver those messages.
Yeah. It’s been a, in some ways we’ve been more busier during this time then, then, then outside of this time, because there’s just been so many things in motion and so many. Things that have had to been put in place, you know, perfectly and very precisely. So. Yeah, there hasn’t really been any, any rest for the wicked, so to speak.
Faz: It’s a, it’s a great story because what I think people don’t mention in these COVID times is the, the ability of people to adapt and bring, in, what they love to the audience in a different way. Right. Pardon me. And, and, and I don’t think we talk about that enough. I mean, you’re re I mean, obviously you’re, you’re.
Product is football and you didn’t have football to go and show the world. So you need to adapt. And he built other things around that to keep your fans, you know, focused and watching things during the time that they’re suffering. Right. And I think that’s a very important, that’s an obligation your brand has, because of something that they, they, that, that you deliver, they love is we’ve got taken away and now you’ve delivered them something in a different way.
And I think it does, it does. those are some of the successes that we need, we should talk about more than anything. And in my world, Football drives hope as well. And you know, in Europe it’s a religion right. Of our background is Italian. And we it’s part of our religion. Just, just like us being Christian is part of our religion.
Right. I’m loving football. And I think even though people had to learn a new way of working all these different things, but football being back. Obviously inspiring people and getting people’s hopes up, especially in, in Europe now where it’s in the middle of summer, where they should be celebrating and out there.
I, and I know there’s rules and regulations, but football being on, I know you can’t be there, but football being on is something they can do together. They can share time together in their homes. You know, they can have a drink and they can celebrate. And I think that’s, that’s the real importance of it being back in my opinion.
and so it’s great having LaLiga back and, you know, I know I’ve been up late. In the last couple of weeks, watching a lot of LaLiga and, which has been great. But, and so what can we see happening towards the end of the season? So I know if you want to talk about the rest of this season, so we know it’s, it’s gonna finish, but what exactly is it finishing ?
What’s sort of the makeup of it.
Glen: So yeah, I mean, we’re in the middle now. Well, it’s out of this morning of the fourth to last round, so there’s only this round and three more to go. LaLiga started back. I believe it was the 12th. Of June. and it will finish around the week of the 20th of July. So essentially, the plan was to play the remainder of the games, which was 110 games.
Yeah. Spice of 39 days. which is, you know, that, that basically meant that there was going to be football everyday for the rest of the season. Which for the fan is, is amazing. Staying up late, I’ve been getting up every morning at six o’clock on the dot. I’m not usually an early riser and, and that’s probably not early for a lot of people here in Australia, but for someone that lived in Spain for 10 years, that’s extremely, I can tell you that much.
So, so I’ve been getting up. It’s been brilliant. Nice every morning on the dot six o’clock in the morning. there’s a LaLiga match. And of course this morning was who was at Athletico V CELTA. And that was a, that was a one all draw, but, So, so, yeah, so that was the plan and it was very edgy, as you can imagine, this discernment so much football for the fan.
That’s great. But of course, for the clubs and for LaLiga itself, just so many different things to organize. And of course, so many different stakeholders to, to, to engage with and to have them on board. Of course, you know, we had to speak to the players. you know, we were speaking to the Federation over in Spain and whatnot.
Some players playing, you know, three games in the space of seven days. So yeah, thats not the norm, but as you say, like we’ve had to adapt a lot of things, you know, and, and getting football back to, to not only Spanish society, but to the globe as well, to, to, to the global fans of Laliga clubs was just very, very important.
And of course, you know, speaking about the four stage three stage plan, and I speaking about before, of course, This plan doesn’t really stop. untill fans can come back. Yeah, it’s the stadium there, but essentially is. where it needs to get back to. And of course, when that happens, we don’t really know, but that’s just such an important, I guess, final step in the scheme of everything is getting these fans.
These people that love the football so much, getting them back enjoying the clubs and cheering on their clubs and that, that central zone of the stadium. So, so that’ll be the last sort of thing. But, so as you, as you say, there’s, there’s what. Probably two weeks left of, of the season, three and a half rounds left and it’s just flowing blight or I like, it’s just flown by like that.
And of course, once it finishes, well, we’re already almost planning for next season because Nick’s season is scheduled to begin mid, mid September. So the break between the seasons is just, this is nothing as well. And of course, you’ve got the champions league in the middle of it, so yeah. So yeah, kind of ludicrous and the fact that there hasn’t really been.
a large break or anything where there’s not going to be a large break, but as you say, we’ll just head to a dance. It runs head to a depth. All the States code is not only the league of the clubs, the players, the federations, everyone involved. But everyone’s done a fantastic job coming together to, to be able to, to deliver this rightr.
So it’s, it’s really good.
Faz: Javier, Javier Tibas. You can probably say it better than me. I’ve probably said it wrong, but, he I’m the boss man, the head of LaLiga. He mentioned that the world football summit this week that, they’re looking at getting to at least 30%. We’ve we’ve, football fans in stadiums, hopefully for the beginning of next season.
I mean, I think it’s looking like that. I think that that’s, that’s a real possibility. Right. And, and I think if that all goes well, then hopefully you can increase. But I mean, you know, in your view, what does that mean for the fans? I mean, I know being a, an, A league supporter in Australia being at a game is, is important, but for somewhere like Spain, it’s it’s next level.
Right. I think the fans there would, yeah. I
Glen: think the stadium, the fans at the stadium that attend, attend the games are your core fans or any clubs, core fans. Right? Of course, Laliga are in our clubs. We have international fans who are just as important, essentially, because as you said, like these are people in Australia that, that are getting up at ridiculous hours to watch their, their teams and their, and their, you know, their football matches as well as spending money.
They hard earned cash on. On merchandise and football jerseys and these types of things. Right? So, so all the fans in that way are just as important as each other. You’re right. I mean, getting fans back the stadium is just such an essential part of football and, and it’s looking like. I guess fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on what sort of way you look at it, it’s going to be a gradual move, and into, into, I guess having stadiums at full capacity, it’s not going to go from zero to a hundred overnight.
Excuse me. so, so yeah, it’s looking, I mean, Javi Tebas, mentioned that, of course again, like . We’re of course working with the authorities and whatnot, but we won’t be in charge of making those decisions. Yeah. That’ll, that’ll come from, as I said before, authorities, health authorities, Spanish government, et cetera.
So, so we can only work as closely as we can work with them. So to of course receive that information and, and, and, and whatnot. And then it’s looking like, yeah, so there’ll be a gradual move. As I said before into, into maybe gettingstadiums back to full capacity. And I’m sure once. Those stadiums come back to full capacity.
I’m sure. You know, the numbers will be bigger than I’ve ever been before. No doubt because the demand is there. People want to get back and, and really support their teams and their players
Faz: a hundred percent.
Bosco: Yeah. So Glen, one of the brand statements of the LaLiga is that LaLiga is more than just football.
Glen: so give us a bit of a view of what that means, from your perspective or from the organization’s perspective. Exactly. Sure. So, yeah, I think your, your reffering to the motto, it’s not football. it’s LaLiga, which is, you know, a statement that we came up with maybe two years ago and you’re right. It’s kind of almost like a slogan motto statement for the whole l organization.
you could say that yes, LaLiga is a football at the core of its sort of being, it is a football competition. but yeah, we, we tend to believe that it’s much more than that. And you know, we were speaking about passion before, What we, what we kind of go on is that, you know, yes, it’s a football competition played on a football pitch, but of course, LaLiga, is not only that it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, the culture, it’s the, it’s the players, it’s the clubs.
It’s the cities, it’s the fans. It’s everything right. So, how can you bundle that all together to create. I mean our storytelling storytelling sort of ways to, to tell us stories of all of those factors, which is, it seems very, very difficult because it’s, there’s just so many things to tell. And there’s so many different stories to tell of all of these certain factors of, of what LaLiga represents.
I guess in our case, you know, especially what we tend to think that sits LaLiga apart from other competitions is that, you know, it’s very, very rich in culture. And as you said before, you went into a bar, what did you have in common? You had, you had football, you had food and you had drink. And in Spain you go to any different region and you have that in the abundance.
It’s, it’s a, it’s very diverse as well in culture. So people don’t don’t, I think fully understand just how diverse Spain is as a country. I certainly did them when I moved to Spain in 2008, I thought I was going to. So like a Benidorm sort of place where it was going to be just beach, sand, and, and 30, 35 degrees the whole year round.
I ended up going to a city called Valladolid or Spain and I think end of November. So that was sort of towards the winter months, a minus seven degrees. And I was trying to, you know, go around walking around the street with no shoes on and, and, jandles or thongs. So, yeah, the, the diversity, I guess, is what I’m trying to say is, is just huge in Spain.
So, that comes back to football, to culture, to language, and of course, you know, different ways of playing. So it’s like all these, all these types of factors, you know, play a, play a huge role. And I think as an organization as well, just to touch on very briefly, we tend to look at other things that aren’t.
Football specific as well. So we have a business school that, that looks at different things to help, the football industry, not only the football industry, but to help grow the sports industry as a whole as well. we actually sponsor other sports that aren’t football in Spain. So, so, yeah, not only the sports federations there in Spain, but also the high performance professional athletes in Spain, they go to the Olympic games.
I believe a percentage of the money that we earn goes to help. Pay for their like social security and ensure that they have something, something to fall back on for when they retire, which, which wasn’t the case in Spain. so many different things, you know, looking at different social responsibility projects, going into regions, not only in Spain, but across the world, you know, and different sort of.
Maybe countries where, you know, they have a lot of refugees and, and those sorts of countries using football as a tool to, to, to help with social problems and social issues that are, that different countries have faced, because I think yes, football, and you could probably say sport in general has the power to, to not only bring people together, but it’s also a tool to help.
Not. Not be the solution, but certainly help drive the solution to solve a lot of. Issues that that different countries are faced with. So, so yeah, I mean, I could, I could be talking for a, for a long time about why we chose that motto, but I mean, it’s, it’s, it really is more, much more than football.
Faz: Yeah. And you make a very valid point, but if you look at some of the challenges we’ve got in the world today, that, I mean in Australia has been the fires there’s been COVID , but obviously there’s been challenges around.
You know, racism in America and things like that. but one thing that football doesn’t, I guess, it doesn’t cause prejudice against or anything like that is everybody loves it. No matter who you are, where you come from, what you do, it’s a game that everybody loves. And, and that’s what I love about it.
It brings people together, you know, when you’re in the stands and your team scores and you’re hugging somebody, you don’t care who’s next to you because they’re supporting you team and that’s, and that’s what it brings more than just. The, the play on the pitch, in my opinion, right. So, and that’s what I love about it.
You know, all our family, nieces and nephews, our kids, everything, we go to Western Sydney Wanderers games. It’s a time to get together and spend that quality time together. And if our team wins great, if they have it. But if not, it’s more, it’s more about the quality of time that, that. That product brought us together.
Right. Which is, which is so, so cool. When I know you get that as well. And you know, one thing I want to talk about as well quickly is that, you know, we, we very, we believe influencers and personalities are big in supporting brands, right? And that, to us, it builds authenticity and builds a connection that.
A word or a thing cant. Right. And, you know, I love to understand your view on the importance of influencers in LA league. Like, I mean the likes of Messi, right? The likes of Zidane, coaching, Real Madrid and things like that. They’re obviously big draw cards and inspirations to, to people to come and support LaLiga
how do you see it? Those type, those type of people.
Glen: Yeah. I guess the word influencer is a, is a tough one to define like,
Glen: that is a very broad term. I mean, people. often talk about social influences. Yeah,
Faz: yeah, yeah.
Glen: As you said, like influencers, basically anyone that has influence over something.
Yeah. Something else. Why did that send in key messages to, to, to influence someone? So from our point of view, you’re right. Like we love LaLiga has been lucky in the fact that I guess for the last 10 to 15 years, you know, a lot of the, especially, you know, success in European football has been. Within LaLiga within our clubs.
And of course, within our players, I mean, you just have to look at the, and again, I’m not, I’m trying to brag or anything, but you just have to look at the results of the European competition to say, you know, not only Real Madrid and Barcelona, but the likes of Athletico. And of course, you know, athletic club Bilbao, even Espanol.
I’ve made a few European finals in the, in the past few years. Chevelle of course one yep. Three UEFA cups in a row. So, so the success has been known, of course, that I think helps attract the world’s best players to these clubs. So, so you’re right in saying that, in terms of the, the, the players themselves.
That’s probably the biggest influence of that Liga has, because I guess you just have to look at, at the football fan and today’s world. Yes. You have the diehard football fans that love their club. And that, of course, you know, their parents have followed this club and their parents’ parents followed a certain clubs.
So it’s sort of like a hand me down of, of you must support this club at all costs, but of course you have those fans and of course you have other fans that follow players. So that being said, I think. you know, having, having these big players in our league is certainly helps drive those key messages.
Yeah. And, and of course, using their brand power and brand pool to bring in fans that yes, may, may be fans already. Fans of LaLiga may not be fans of LaLiga, but fans of football, but of course they follow, you know, a LaLiga match because of these players or thirdly, they may not be fans of football at all.
Or sport, but they just follow someone on social media or something. And of course, you know, that, that helps at the end of the day, bring so many different types of fans closer to, to LaLiga. So, yeah, that being said, you know, you’ve got, you know, Messi of course Ronaldo was playing in LaLiga in his prime, but eight, nine years.
yeah, of course without, without, question the two biggest names and in world sport, probably at the moment. and then of course, In recent times as well, we’ve set up our own ambassador program . So, so, you know, as you can imagine, Laliga doesn’t have any assets which are players, current players, because they essentially belong to the clubs.
Then they contract them. So we can essentially use the individual rights of these players, but collectively we can, but apart from that, We had this ambassador program. So form a former players Iker Cassius, Iniesta, to y’all, Louis, get it via like all these types of players that, that, represent a different clubs as well when they they’re very knowledgeable well about Spanish football and about football in general.
So using their brands to help deliver key messages is certainly, very important as well. And then of course, going back to the social media influences. We also do that from time to time for different campaigns as well. here in Australia, we’ve got a couple of, well, there’s a couple of guys that are actually big LaLiga fans.
One loves his Real, Madrid. Yeah. Loves his Baca. And that probably like the two kind of social media football influencer guys of Australia. So, we do try to localize the story as much as possible as well, using these sort of local local people that are LaLiga Fans. To again, help deliver those messages and yeah, and, and also, the, and as much as possible again, just to get at the core of the fans and every shouldn’t region that we’re at.
Faz: I love ’em. I love all that. And you know, I love her LaLiga does a lot of the different things. And, you know, we’ve been speaking about sub brands and stuff like that for different products and you know, El Classico is another brand that in the world of football, if you’re a football fan is, you know, something it’s known on its own, right the El Classico event is something on its own it worldwide.
Right. And it’s, and the great thing is that, you know, world cups and things in limbics might happen every four years, but the El Classico pretty much happens. You know, it depends on the season. The draw goes, happens a couple times a year, and it’s like the biggest, literally the time it’s on, it’s the biggest game in the world.
Why by far right. It’s fantastic.
Bosco: yeah. Glenn. So, tell us a little bit more just to, to close off, about the goal of LaLiga, particularly in the Australian market. so obviously you mentioned, at first a few things, that you, you know, you’re involved in day to day, but what’s the ultimate goal of, of the league in Australia.
Glen: Okay. I think I’d start by saying the local goals here are very much aligned with our global goals. Right? So there’s, there’s three major goals that LaLiga has. you could probably say on an international level. So, I didn’t really mention that before, but I guess the history of LaLiga and sort of how it developed, but if you went back to and I’ll just give a very, very brief history of, they sent about LaLiga, if you go back to sort of when, or even before , Tebas was involved in LaLiga in 2014, 2015, LaLiga was, you know, an organization that had around 40, 45 employees that was basically in charge of putting football games on the pitch and really didn’t look at anything else.
Something that was very key happened in 2015, which was the, well, basically a law changed in Spain, giving the LaLiga as an organization to, to commercialize and negotiate the TV rights on behalf of the whole competition. So that’s the, the first division and the second division. And on the back of that, you know, LaLiga just exploded because, of course, you know, we’re able to, to package the, the content, the matches, the seasons in a package that was more attractive for not only broadcast as nationally, but, but of course internationally.
and on the back of that, you know, many different things happened. this international department was, was sort of born out of that, of course, which I, I form a, a part of, So, so that being said, I guess that the goal is here really, as I said before, fall in line with the global goals, which is to build the value of love of the LaLiga brand and each of the markets.
So here in Australia, it’s no different. it’s also to increase the, the, the TV rights, the value of the TV rights, which is basically sort of in alignment with the LaLiga brand. If you essentially have a stronger brand and a certain market, that’s going to attract more fans, et cetera. And of course that’s gonna increase the, the, the product, right?
The TV rights deals that you will sign, later on in the track. the second goal would probably be to increase audience numbers. So, so when I say audience numbers, of course, I’m talking about. Yeah, TV, audience numbers, people that actually engage and, and, and watch LaLiga on TV and OTT platform. So of course we have beIN sports here in Australia is our broadcaster, but also audience numbers on our digital and social platforms.
So I think that’s, it’s been a key factor in helping LA Liga grow internationally as is of course digital, right? It’s it’s digital and social media. I think maybe it was. Two or three months ago when we celebrated, I think now with more than a hundred million followers on all of our social media channels alone.
Yeah. So that is just, that’s just an incredible amount of people following LaLiga and, you know, people that are engaging with your, with your brand. and of course that that helps to, you know, target a certain audience that maybe are your future consumers. So it’s just a. Yeah, it’s such an important factor that they’re, so of course, you know, increasing both of those audience numbers and those, those metrics there.
And probably thirdly, the main thing is to it’s to generate opportunities, not only for LaLiga, but for our clubs. So when I say opportunities, I mean, this could be commercial opportunities that could be strategical opportunities, or I could just be a simple opportunity for a club to, to implement its brand in a certain region.
So it could be sports project, whether that’s, you know, clinics or certain, you know, looking at junior development or looking at coaching courses or whatnot. so that are essentially the three main goals that we have in each market. And I think if you sort of delve more specifically to Australia and probably, you know, played off those three principle goals, you could probably go and specify them even more and say, okay, on a comms point of view, We want to get as close as we can to the local press and the local journalists.
So, so we put on a number of, of different press events with the, with the local press, like a football in sports press here in Australia. both. Well, we can physically, of course, you know, before the season starts. we did before the season, we headed the Spanish tapas bar and we, we told different stories about our clubs, about the matches, the Derby matches, which are very important touching on not only football, but of course, you know, the cultural elements as well.
A few weeks ago, we had a zoom call with Louis Califia. So we bought again, the journalist closer. they’re I know they’re another example was last season, we took Johnny Aloisi over to Spain and, and we took his, all the towns where he played. So in Vitoria, where he played for Alaves and of course in Pamplona, where he played for Osasuna.
And, and again, that was just a beautiful thing to do because I think people here don’t realize just how big their football stars are, because for whatever reason, football on a commercial level, doesn’t get the same mainstream media attention as other sports. But that was, that was a huge hit because people saw, especially in Pamplona where he was, you know, a hero a massive hero there
Yeah. He couldn’t go two, three minutes just down the street without someone recognizing. And then of course, outside the stadium where I was also sooner playing in second division, I can’t maybe they’ll find, like I said, there was someone. he was just mauled. He was getting mobbed. Like he was, he was, was like a Messi in Pamplona.
I like it was, it was ridiculous. So, and that was just, again, another beautiful story to tell. Of course, I’m looking at the digital goals here. Again, it’s using digital platforms and social platforms to, to convert our global appeal and content that has a global appeal, but localize it as much as possible.
And that could be, you know, doing something as simple as. Getting one of our players or ambassadors to send a very localized is personalized message to Australia. It could be to help celebrate, I don’t know, Australia day or, or whatever. Right. Like, it’s just, it’s just a bit of icing on the, on the top of the cake.
Yeah. From a marketing point of view as well. We, we, we like to, yeah. Activate as as much as we can in this, in this market. you talked about, you know, Classico before and you know, our big brands that Derby matches in our classic eye matches trying to use them as much as possible to, to bring people together, either again, fans and people that aren’t fans of it.
So maybe just to have a bit of experience or a bit of a taste of what it would be like to be at those stadiums over in Spain. So we. We set up different watch parties. Of course, the last el classico that go just before covert hit was, had a kickoff at 7:00 AM. So we went to Melbourne to get there would be in sports and we set up a, a coffee drinking watch party at 7:00 AM at fed square and people watching El Classico on that, on this huge screen in fed square, there would have been only maybe, I don’t know, four or five.
Well, yeah, four or 500 people, I think. We set up a coffee cart given out flat whites. And I think they gave out sort of six, 650 coffees to the, to the punters. So, so that was something that we, that we did and it was fantastic, but also, using other important matches potentially where there are, supporters, clubs.
So something that we did on a, on a smaller scale, again, to get closer to our fans was a match between espanol and Eibar, who have. Well, more than one official supporters club, groups here in Australia, we got all of their, all of their fans together. And we just went to a bar here in Sydney and set up a, a mini watch party for those two groups of fans just to come together.
So yes, rivals on the pitch, but yeah, of course friends, you know, watching the games together and that was just, and there was about yeah, 150 people watching that match. Right. And I think that the beautiful thing about LA Liga is, is again, Not to go on too much about it, but, but yes, you have all these, you know, well known brands and well known clubs and, and, and teams that people, you know, on a global level support, but you also have the stories and always use the example.
Eibar. So Eibar, your official supporters clubs here in Australia. Barcelona, for example. Yes. They have people that follow them, but they don’t have an official supporters club. Eibar have two. And people were just that fell in love with this story, because it’s a, it’s a, it’s a club that’s from, as well. You can’t even call it a city.
It’s like town on the North of Spain. I think it’s around 20, 23,000 people. They play in a stadium. That’s 7,000. I believe it’s getting extended to eight and a half thousand. So they’re currently in under construction there. and, and they have a different philosophy. They tell different stories. But how can a club from such a small town?
How can I compete with the big boys? And they do it year in and year out. And it looks like they’re going to be safe for another season. I mean, there’s still three more rounds to play, but they beaten them Real Madrid thatbeathen in Barcelona. And I think before, and, and yeah, how does this town do that?
Right. And, and that’s the beautiful thinking about football? I mean, yes, it’s beautiful to follow. The biggest players and biggest clubs, but it’s also beautiful. And the fact that smaller, probably less than on clubs from, from regional Spain, what’s this story. Can I compete? What, what, what do they do?
That’s different to them, other people, right. And it’s bringing it back really to its core, which is family, especially in the, in the story, which is Eibar. It’s very much a family club and everything they do, they have, you know, family at the, at the center of it. So. Yeah, it’s very beautiful.
Faz: Yeah. Well, we can really resonate with that as a business, right.
Coming from a backyard, challenging the big guys in this market as well in the telco space. And so that story really resonates with us. And I know you’ve told me that a couple times in the past, and I think it’s such a beautiful story, but what it does prove is that football is the world game and football is the beautiful game.
And so. That’s awesome. But I’m Glenn. I won’t keep you too long, but we really appreciate you coming on. There’s been, you know, it’s been fantastic. I think the key thing of this is that, you know, it’s not all about football. It’s about what football enables and I think that’s. The biggest thing. And I like to think that’s what we think about our brand as well.
It’s not about Telco. It’s about what our business enables people to do. Right. And I think, and that’s why we, we feel like we really resonate and really align with what you guys do at LaLiga. But you’re not what you need to do is get you on again when the new season starts. And we’ll talk about what’s going on there and maybe have a, maybe have a bit of a regular LaLiga session, a moving forward, but, look, Glenn, thanks for your time.
Really appreciate you having on. And maybe we’ll have you on soon.
Glen: No worries, guys. Thank you for having me again, and it’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Bosco: Thanks. Thanks for listening to the let’s be mates podcast by the team at Mate. Search for the let’s be mates podcast on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and at LetsBeMates.com.au hit subscribe to get the latest episode each week. For all your telco needs.
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Faz: See you soon, mate.