Relevent and LaLiga: Bringing Spanish Soccer to America
"Barcelona backs out of proposed LaLiga match in Miami." It is December 2018, and Daniel Sillman, chief executive officer of sports and entertainment company Relevent, is tasked with finding a way forward after a significant setback. Relevent had found success by convincing some of Europe's highest-profile soccer clubs to play pre-season matches in North America as part of its annual International Champions Cup (ICC), held during the summer months. Building on that success, Relevent is now seeking to bring at least one official LaLiga match to the U.S, each season-an effort that is a key pillar of Relevent's new, fifteen-year partnership with the Spanish soccer league, aimed at promoting the LaLiga brand in North America. However, the match that Relevent had selected to take place in Miami in January 2019, between FC Barcelona and Girona FC, had become a source of tension, drawing protests from the Spanish football federation, the Spanish players' association, and the president of worldwide governing body FIFA. Today, FC Barcelona's leadership team had announced the club would withdraw. Would Relevent find success in bringing a LaLiga match to the U.S.? And, more generally, did Relevent have the right approach to growing the LaLiga brand in North America?