La Liga Plans Regular-Season Matches in United States

La LigaSpain’s La Liga is partnering with Relevent on a 15-year joint venture to promote soccer in the United States and Canada, featuring a LaLiga Santander regular-season club match to the United States, the first to be played outside of Europe.

Relevent is a multinational media, sports and entertainment group launched by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, best known for promoting summertime international friendlies at large U.S. football stadiums via the International Champions Cup (ICC) competition. The new partnership, LaLiga North America, has the exclusive representation of LaLiga in the United States and Canada for all business and development activities. The operation will support the league’s growth in the United States and Canada through consumer related activities including youth academies, development of youth soccer coaches, marketing agreements, consumer activations, exhibition matches and plans to have an official LaLiga Santander match played in the United States, most likely involving Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla or Valencia playing a match in Miami.

“This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America,” Ross said via press release. “This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world.”

“We’re devoted to growing the passion for soccer around the world,” LaLiga President Javier Tebas added. “This ground-breaking agreement is certain to give a major impulse to the popularity of the beautiful game in the U.S. and Canada. Relevent has filled stadiums across the U.S. with the International Champions Cup, we’re thrilled to partner with them on a joint mission to grow soccer in North America.”

Based in New York, LaLiga North America is led by Chief Executive Officer Boris Gartner, a seasoned media executive with experience in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American markets, formerly head of strategy and operations at Televisa in Mexico with prior executive roles at Univision. The venture will have a dedicated team focused on growing the LaLiga brand and creating new business opportunities. Gartner’s team will include Vice President of Business Development at LaLiga North America, Nicolás García Hemme, who previously worked in international development at LaLiga in Madrid.

Beyond growing the sport in the U.S. and Canadian market, LaLiga North America will also work to increase growth and opportunity for LaLiga and its clubs in the market.

“This partnership demonstrates LaLiga’s vision and foresight to be the top soccer league in the world,” said Relevent CEO Danny Sillman, who negotiated the deal directly with La Liga. “Combining LaLiga’s long tradition of excellence and unparalleled international reputation with Relevent’s expertise in this market will accelerate the growth and popularity of soccer in North America and LaLiga’s global brand.”

Image courtesy FC Barcelona.

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August Publications