In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
I am a Spanish journalist, immigrant, & Head of Content at LaLiga North America. In 20 years, I’ve worked in over 20 global newsrooms. The experience has been similar to living in a pirate ship.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
I’m selling the idea of balance in a content strategy. A balance between traditional content and new storytelling methods. Between the crazy, aging filters and filters of people with dogs’ noses, and real, authentic stories. Balance will allow marketers to reach both old consumers and teenagers who are always on their phone sending short, pointless messages. Don’t fool yourself into thinking those short messages are content, it is communication. We can take advantage of parts of these narratives, but at the end of the day, these short messages are not content. Content is stories, which is changing how we share our lives. Everything that is happening in communication right now is noteworthy but the core purpose is the same: tell stories.
How do you define engagement?
Engagement is not a metric. It is an excuse people use to justify low audience numbers. Honestly, I don’t think you can truly measure engagement. It is not just something that combines the comments, likes, time spent on the page or scrolling, or a sophisticated algorithm by any means. True engagement comes from content that touches people’s souls and that is something that cannot be measured (just like love).
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
It’s funny that people only ask about success when it is better to talk about failure. In terms of success, it is impossible to choose after 20 years of working in media. Recently, I’ve been extremely proud of ‘United States of LaLiga’, a documentary looking at the personal stories of LaLiga fans in the U.S. This is a series that will touch the hearts of Americans – soccer fans and non-soccer fans alike. While telling these types of stories is important, I’m always aware that I need to produce results. If not, I’ll be fired. That’s the reality of the market, but I focus on the stories and emotional connection as much as possible. With that strategy, good results often follow.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
Right now, I have five projects and they have become obsessions: podcasting, the development of live soccer coverage on emerging platforms, determining how to use LaLiga match highlights, understanding talent vs influencers, and, finally, to stop smoking.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
There are too many examples to name them all. I love FC Barcelona’s Instagram coverage. They are doing an amazing job because they are taking the confines of Instagram’s platform and inserting it with modern, new talent and an electric narrative. A great example is how the content team followed their new signing, Frankie De Jong, on Instagram and Twitter.
Recently, I’ve also been impressed by Real Madrid’s change in content strategy. Rival to Barcelona, they’ve been known to run fairly conservative social media accounts. In the past few months however, they’ve experimented with new types of content across various platforms. Their kit reveal, which premiered through a custom Real Madrid music video, caught my attention as it was in sharp contrast to the club’s traditional approach to announcements. Approaching their summer tour in the U.S., they’ve experimented with player takeovers of their various handles, like a recent one with team captain Sergio Ramos, bringing fans closer to one of the largest and best teams in the world. Fun always captures my attention and Real Madrid is starting to get fun!
I also think Relevent Sports Group and the International Champions Cup have transformed their approach to content starting back in March during their launch of the summer ICC tour where they had a three-day content studio in a pop up in SoHo. Through partnerships with companies like Copa90 for a Madrid Derby in NYC episode of Derby Days, they are making great strides in reaching the modern soccer fan.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
The highlight of my career was covering Luis Aragonés while he coached Atlético de Madrid in LaLiga’s second division. Years later, he changed the course of history for the Spanish National Team. Since that moment, he has stood out as the most impressive sports figure that I have ever met.
The lowest moment came years ago during the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Juventus. Juventus’ Alvaro Morata scored in the 84th minute killing the chance for an El Clasico final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and making my entire content strategy, which focused on the historic rivalry, obsolete. All the time, energy, and creativity I had spent building this strategy went straight to the trash and I needed to start from scratch. Such is life for a content creator.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I want to refer to one of my favorite quotes by the famous Spanish poet Antonio Machado, “todo necio confunde valor y precio”. For those that don’t speak Spanish, he is referring to the general confusion between value and cost, something I would like the industry to better understand. Rights, branded content, TV networks, team relations, content, advertisers, athletes, and social media. As teams look to earn revenue, I think they can do a better job integrating partnerships into the content itself rather than relying on traditional ad space. This will increase the connection to the fans and community benefiting all parties.