Editorial Consultant: Jay Stuart
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3239 5400
Fax: +44 (0)20 3137 5456
Contact: Sree Varma
1 Battersea Bridge Road
T: +44 (0)20 3239 540
JAY STUART, ISPORTCONNECT.TV EDITOR AT LARGE
Football is the number one passion
Brazilian men were asked to name the biggest passion of their compatriots. They put football first (82%), followed by beer (35%) and carnival third (30%). Women also put football first (72%). Source: Ibope
Combat sports are popular
A survey of Brazilians who watch sports live or on TV shows 32% of them like MMA or its Brazilian cousin Luta-Livre, 20% watch boxing and 13% go for other disciplines such as Jiu-jitsu or Judo. Source: Ibope
Sports content pulls online users
Research of internet use shows Brazilians spend about 38 minutes per month viewing sports content – more time than is spent on music (26 minutes). About 40% of users visit sports sites. Source: Ibope
World Cup expectations
The FIFA World Cup is the most important event in the world for Brazilians, with 85% putting it in first place.
How will holding the World Cup in a Latin American country make the event different?
(Source: Consumer Watch Latam- Kantar Worldpanel)
News on free-TV – 39%
Games on free-TV – 34%
Radio – 10%
Conversation with friends and family – 10%
Newspaper (print) – 5%
Games on pay-TV – 4%
Online news sites – 2%
Newspaper (online – 2%
At the stadium – 2%
Football sites – 1%
Don’t usually follow football – 39%
On Next Page: Brazilian fighter Vitor Belfort has the upper hand against Briton Michael Bisping in a UFC match in São Paulo.
We asked top experts from Havas Sports & Entertainment,a global group with a strong Latin American focus, for their views on the region and key national markets
Q: To what extent do you see Latin American sports marketing and media as a regional market as opposed to a lot of national markets?
A: Latin America is the fastest-growing region when you look at the sports market globally. Although there are many common regional trends, each country has its own specificities, consumer preferences, opportunities and challenges.
The market for sports media rights also varies as they can be sold by country or region, with Brazil remaining a distinct market. Pay media rights are often regional, with ESPN International and Fox Sports being strong players. Free-to-air rights are often spread between various partners. For example, UEFA media rights were awarded to different broadcasters in Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil and a fourth broadcaster covering the other LatAm markets. While Olympics broadcasting rights historically have been sold an-regionally, the IOC has broken with its old strategy of selling to broadcasting unions and started selling rights by country.
Q: Are the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics having an impact outside of Brazil?
A: It’s true that everyone seems to be talking about Brazil. It will not only host the 2014 FIFA World Cup but also the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a historic milestone as it’s the first time the Olympics will be hosted in Latin America. This is a huge opportunity for the whole region as the Olympics are much closer to fans in Latin America in terms of distance and time zones so it will be easier to tune in and travel to attend these two events, particularly for fans from neighboring Argentina. The Confederations Cup this June will start warming things up as Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay are all qualified.
Football World Cup sponsors have already started planning for 2014. Sony, a FIFA partner, is testing new goal-line technology to be used during the competitions, and The Coca-Cola Company launched a recycling campaign in Rio this fall, which will reuse the plastic bottles for the linings of 6,773 seats in the new Maracanã Stadium.
Q: Is there sports media life in the region beyond soccer and the Olympics? Are there any other sports or new properties whose growth potential excites you?
A: Although football is the most popular sport in Brazil and Latin America, it is closely followed by Olympic sports such as volleyball in Brazil, basketball in Argentina and boxing in Mexico which are growing in popularity.
That being said, sponsors should look at the potential of other sports, which for cultural reasons, have enormous potential.
For example, baseball has been popular for a long time. Almost 30% of the players in MajorLeague Baseball are now Latino from Latin America and the Caribbean. The NBA is also popularwith more than a dozen current players coming from Latin America.
Motorsports are very popular, thanks to several Latin American F1 champions over the years. Brazil has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1973. Argentina has hosted Formula One on numerous occasions and the Dakar Rally has been hosted in Latin America since 2009. For the first time it is only going through Chile and Peru this year. In Mexico, motorsport has been revitalized thanks to Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez who recently replaced Lewis Hamilton on the Vodaphone Maclaren Mercedes team.
Boxing and other fighting sports are also growing from Lucha Libre, to WWE (which is entering Brazil after a successful launch in Mexico) and UFC.
• Overall growth: +4.9% vs. 3.7% globally (Brazil +5.3%)
• Sponsorship fees: +4.9% vs. 5.3% globally
• Media rights: +5.6% vs. 3.8% globally
• Ticketing: +4.2% vs. 2.5% globally
• Merchandising: +3.9% vs. 2.6% globally
Source: PwC (‘Changing the Game: outlook for the global sports market to 2015’)
Q: Does the management of the broadcasting operation for Brazil 2014 differ from in the past? Is FIFA entirely responsible for the operation?
A: Since 2007, FIFA’s television operation has been entirely managed in house, while continuing to use the services of Host Broadcast Services as the production consultant and Delta Tre as graphics provider. FIFA is responsible for production and of its scope. We have a Host Broadcasting Coordination Committee, which is chaired by FIFA TV.
Q: What about the rights? Are all the rights sold to your broadcast partners?
A: In many cases all the rights, including various mobile and new media rights belong to the broadcasters or we have deals to commercialise these in joint venture with them. There are many territories, both inside Europe as well as outside, where we have carved out the rights for FIFA to exploit the rights for mobile clips and the like. We are working with HBS to determine the best ways to do this. I should say, however, that it’s important to remember that in terms of the valuation, these rights are of relatively small value compared to live television.
Q: Are there geographical challenges to tackling the production of matches being played across such a big country?
A: Brazil is a large country, and yes, it is challenging logistically. In South Africa, it was possible to drive between several venues. In Brazil, we have to use airplanes. We have, however, agreed with HBS to have enough production teams to avoid too tight logistics in order to safeguard a good production at every match.
Q: Are there specific learnings from South Africa 2010 that you will be applying to the Brazil edition?
A: The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the first FIFA World Cup where FIFA itself was involved in several deliverables towards its broadcast clients as well as its service providers such as HBS. Please note that FIFA has the main relationship with both the Local Organising Committee in a host country for the event as well as the governmental institutions. We learned a lot in South Africa in several areas which we are applying in our preparations for Brazil.
Q: What will be the main differences and innovations in 2014?
A: Regarding broadcast technologies, the FIFA World Cup is sometimes used as an important platform for new technologies. This creates always new and interesting challenges. In 2010, FIFA and Sony realised the real first 3D production and commercialisation of a large sport event. As you may recall, we produced 25 matches in 3D, which were distributed to 9 networks and over 640 cinemas around the world. We are discussing again about 3D, but also about ultra HD. We will take decisions in due course. In the long term, it is looking good. Our clients’ presence at the event and the use of the various feeds create large opportunities to continue developing the broadcast possibilities.
Q: What will the package of programming be for your broadcasters?
A: We are continuing the development of non-match footage offer. Clients have more channels and platforms to use the content so it is important to offer more than just the match Many of our clients are also covering the FIFA World Cup from many angles, the entire networks are engaged in the event. Anything from breakfast shows to late-night talk shows and so on. The FIFA World Cup concerns everyone across the board. Many clients cannot afford to be everywhere and if we have a strong basic output of images our clients can focus on very local interest content and get a lot of it from us. There are so many stories around a FIFA World Cup worth covering. We can do it very cost efficiently. We are also adding certain cameras for additional match footage production.
Q: Do you think 3D is making decent progress? Is 3D part of you plans?
A: We are still discussing how to approach 3D for 2014. We will announce our plans in due course.
Q: Will the IBC be similar to what we have seen at past World Cups?
A: Yes, the reality is that production has not changed all that much. The IBC will be in Rio Central accommodating both unilateral and multilateral operations and FIFA TV. Our requirement is for about 30,000 square metres. One of the things that we saw in South Africa was that many broadcasters wanted outside presentation studios as well in order to present iconic views. Rio of course will offer a lot of opportunity outside and we are working to help broadcasters make the most of the beautiful setting.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve at Sportel Rio 2013?
A: Sportel is an important meeting point for us and our clients. It is a cost effective marketplace to meet our clients. We will in particular discuss our services offer related to the multimedia production at the FIFA World Cup, and have general update meetings.
Jochen Lösch, President, International Business, Traffic Sports Marketing, arrived in South America in 2000, when he opened Sportfive´s office in Rio. He joined Traffic in 2007. We asked him for a brief tour of the Latin American market...
“Brazil is by far the strongest market in Latin America, probably stronger than all other markets in the region put together. The country has more than 15 million pay-TV subscribers. Competition among the sports broadcasters is fierce and rights fees are exploding.”
• THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE ACHIEVED AN INCREASE OF 600% IN BOTH BRAZIL AND ALSO THE REST OF LAT IN AMERICA.
• UEFA ACHIEVED A 500% INCREASE WITH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RIGHTS IN BRAZIL.
• TV GLOBO PAYS AROUND $750 MILLION TO DOMESTIC SOCCER PER YEAR.
• EACH OF T HE SIX MAIN FOOTBALL BROADCAST SPONSORS WRITES TV GLOBO A CHEQUE OF ABOUT $90 MILLION PER YEAR.
• THE CLUB WORLD CHAMPION CORINTHIANS IS NOW GETT ING TO YEARLY REVENUES OF AROUND $150 MILLION.
“All those figures put Brazil on a level with the leading European markets, or even above. Besides Brazil, other markets are developing strongly as well, with Colombia in first place.”
São Paulo-based Traffic Sports Marketing, founded in 1980 by José Hawilla, is Brazil’s biggest diversified sports marketing group. It has owned worldwide commercial rights (TV and sponsorship) to the Copa America since 1987, as well as the rights to the Brazilian Cup (in a joint venture with Klefer Marketing Esportivo).
Traffic also owns the international TV rights to the Copa Libertadores, the Copa Sudamericana, and, a recent addition, the Mexican League.
Together with the World Sport Group, the company also commercializes the international TV rights to the Gold Cup 2013 and the CONCACAF Champions League. Miamibased Traffic Sports USA owns TV and sponsorship rights to all 40 CONCACAF federations except for the USA’s.
Outside of the TV and marketing space, Traffic owns a football academy in Brazil, represents hundreds of players and markets VIP tickets to major events and owns a first division club in Portugal. Traffic USA is a shareholder and manager of the North American Soccer League, in which the re-born Cosmos New York will debut in mid-2013. Traffic USA owns 3 teams in the NASL. The coming of the FIFA World Cup to Brazil in 2014 means big business for Traffic. “We sell the VIP tickets to the World Cup in Brazil in a joint venture with TOP Service Group, so this event has indeed a major impact on our business,” Lösch said.
“We will be involved in further business fields related to the World Cup, such as production of ancillary TV programs for international broadcasters and VIP events also outside the arenas. This could also become a business during the Olympics 2016.”
The other big story for us was the London 2012 Olympics. We showed the Games in Brazil. We sold all the commercial inventory and enjoyed good ratings. The Olympics were on TV Record on terrestrial. They were non-exclusive on cable and satellite. We shared the rights with BandSport and Globo’s Sport TV. There is so much Olympics material that we were able to differentiate our programming. It worked well.
The third important development was related to our digital properties. Our broadband platform Watch ESPN became available live on all devices in 2012. Part of the offer is exclusive content under the name ESPN Play. Now a subscriber can start watching an event on TV and continue watching on their handheld device in the taxi. We’re following what ESPN is doing in the USA.
Q: What are your most successful properties?
A : We have an important share of the local content. We shows a lot of live soccer with a mix of international action from Europe and the Copa do Brasil tournament, which is the number two property in the market.
Q: How much of your programming is local Brazilian content? Do you share any rights with other Brazilian channels?
A: About 30% of our live soccer is Brazilian and the rest is international. But the line is blurred sometimes when you consider that a lot of important Brazilian players are now playing in Europe. We have a very strong information backbone. With news programmes through the day and a lot of news and studio analysis and comment around our live matches.
Q: Do you make most of your revenue from your programming fees or from advertising ? How much of your advertising is Brazilian and how much international?
A: Affiliate fees account for a bigger share of the total. Most of our advertising is local and we compete with the other sports channels. There is a share of advertising that’s panregional. Our office in Miami manages that business.
Q: What is the most important trend in the Brazilian sports television market?
A: The Brazilian market is growing fast. There has been a big change in the Brazilian economic situation with the upward mobility of a large chunk of the population into the middle class over the past decade. Now the biggest segment of the population is middle class. That means there are more people who can afford to subscribe to pay-TV and more consumers who can afford to buy a wider range of products. Add to this that Brazil will be the Mecca of sport for the next few years and it makes for a very attractive sports television environment. Of course this brings with it the reality that competition is growing too. There are more local players interested in sport ad more international companies not yet in Brazil that are looking at entering the market. Fox launched its dedicated Brazilian channel in 2012. There are more channels competing for rights.
Q: Is the market big enough for four sports channels?
A: Time will tell. Brazil loves soccer and there is a limit on the good properties – eight or nine or 10. So it means the same amount of premium content with a bigger number of players competing for the rights. We don’t try to live by soccer alone. We are looking at new properties all the time. Rugby is a good example of a sport that we are trying to develop. We have rights to the Rugby World Cup and the Six Nations and the Tri-Nations and the Heineken Cup. We don’t only show games but we tell people about the sport and how it works. It’s the same with the NFL. When you have a lot of competitors in one space, you find other space. That’s good for the fans. Q: How is the coming of the World Cup and the Olympics affecting the market? A: We are already very excited about the FIFA World Cup. We have the rights to all the matches on a non-exclusive basis and we will be 24/7 dedicated to the World Cup during the tournament. ESPN has the exclusive rights in the USA and we will be hosting the ESPN American team here in Brazil. In March 2013 we start delivering our World Cup commercial packages. We have very rich content
Q: How about the economic situation?
A: Brazil is not growing at the same speed as two years ago. That is totally normal. A country cannot lift 15 million people into the middle class every year. Things are not going backward. There is a new reality. The economy is much stronger than it was.
Q: How are you responding to the growing importance of online video?
A: ESPN’s mission is to serve the sports fan wherever they are with whatever they want to see. Our mobile platform is very important. We have agreements with all the providers to carry our content, including access to the website. We have various apps. Watch ESPN is also available on mobile to our television subscribers.
Jan Menneken, Executive Director Commercial of the International Tennis Federation, has been attending Sportel since the early days. Hear what he has to say about the tennis market in Latin America.
The MotoGP series will be back to Argentina in 2014 for the first time in 15 years. Dorna Sports, series rights-holder, is also studying projects for MotoGP events in Brazil and Mexico and Chile has expressed an interest in hosting a race.
New events in the region will be the outgrowth of continuing television exposure and growth in the motorcycle industry. “We have always been present in the area,” said Pilar Gancedo, Dorna’s media sales director. “We are long-term partners with TVGlobo / Globosat and ESPN LatinAmerica. In terms of free-TV we have been working for many years with Meridiano in Venezuela and with broadcasters in El Salvador.”
She added: “For us the area has become a key as the motorcycle manufacturers have installed factories and are investing in advertising. We have started to see also the growth in the number of riders wanting to enter MotoGP and interest from national federations to develop national championships. We’ve also seen in the past three years a bigger interest in holding a Grand Prix.”
The distributor, which last year added the World Superbike Championship to its portfolio, has viewed the evolution of the Latin American television market not only in terms of the growth of number of television networks operating in each territory but also the technical development of the TV networks.
“Our aim at Sportel Rio will be to meet our partners, update them on our competitions and review our plans for the new seasons. Of course we will also take the opportunity to meet new players in the television market.”
GolTV operates three 24/7 channels – one each in the USA, Canada and Latin America. The programming on the Canadian channel is about 65% the same as on the American one, the rest being Canadian. The Latin American channel’s content is 80% unique to that service.
The company is opening a new production centre in Peru during 2013, adding to the ones in Uruguay and Argentina. The strong Uruguayan connection stems from GolTV’s chairman, Uruguayan footballing legend Enzo Francescoli (boyhood hero of Zinedine Zidane, who named one of his sons Enzo).
GolTV CEO Rodrigo Lombello returns to his native Brazil for Sportel Rio. He has brought a fresh outsider’s eye to managing soccer channels, having come from the computer business.
“We will mainly be a buyer in Rio,” he said. “There is nothing really big in the market just now but we are always shopping.”
Gol TV shows as much live programming as much as possible. Properties include the Brazilian league (the centralised Brazilian championship). and the leagues in Argentina and Uruguay. From Argentina GolTV offers a top game every weekend, usually featuring River Plate or Boca Juniors. It also shows European World Cup qualifiers. The Copa Central Americana was recently a big success. Lombello is high on Germany’s Bundesliga. “It’s a very good product. The league is very competitive. You don’t know who’s going to win.”
The American GolTV shows games from Mexico.
“The market for the Mexican target audience is very competitive, with terrestrial broadcasters Univision and Telemundo competing for viewers as well as ESPN Español and Fox Deportes,” he said. “But it’s a growing pie. The Hispanic market in the USA is still expanding. Penetration rates are not as high. Advertising and sponsorship spending on the Hispanic market still has catching up to do.”
Growth is the name of the game in Latin America.
“The Latin American market is not a mature business. It’s growing a lot, especially in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, 20% or 25% a year. We’re talking about an incredible growth rate in some countries. It’s very different from the distribution business in the USA, which is very mature. The growth is mainly via satellite distribution. Mobile telephony is also leaping ahead.”
“THE HISPANIC MARKET IN THE USA IS STILL EXPANDING. PENETRATION RATES ARE NOT AS HIGH.”
“This goes against the nature of the business, which is based on broad exposure and distribution. It might make sense on the short term but in the longer run it starts sports down the road boxing has followed with premium events moving to pay-per-view. I don’t like the PPV model and it is increasingly worrisome in a time of mounting piracy. If your business is based on charging consumers for a specific programme and they get it elsewhere for free, you are probably running into trouble.”
“We don’t do any over-the-top live games. We stream some highlights. We pick the best games to show on television and we have an inventory of other games but we don’t offer them online because the demand would probably not be great enough to cover the cost. I don’t think anyone has really cracked how to monetize online content. People want stuff for free.”
Q: AS A LATIN AMERICAN YOURSELF, DO YOU THINK IT IS RIGHT TO VIEW THE REGION AS A WHOLE OR SHOULD WE THINK IN TERMS OF DISTINCT NATIONAL MARKETS?
A: Both approaches should be used. The region is multicultural and every country in Latin America has its unique attributes, but the whole region shares common aspect such as some common languages, geography, environment, and a long and surf gifted coastline. All but two countries in Latin America have a coast, are located in warm or hot weather areas and therefore have been prone to developing a beach and surf culture. The surf brands and others could see the region as a whole due to fact that the region shares the similar languages, they use this to their advantage when it comes to creating marketing campaigns. However, one must remember that the region that we call Latin America (Caribbean included) has English, French, Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries. Of course the vast majority are Spanish speaking, with Brazil, representing a very large piece of the economic pie of the area South of the USA/Mexico border.
Q: ARE THERE A LOT OF SURFING EVENTS BEING HELD IN LATIN AMERICA? IS THERE SURFING ON BOTH THE ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC COASTS? WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS? ARE THERE NEW ONES?
A: Right now Latin America is holding surf competitions every weekend, in most countries. Each of them have national championships and a thriving local lifestyle surfing industry, as part of their larger action sports. In 2013 the ISA will be holding six out of its seven World Championships in Latin America. Peru will host the World SUP and Paddleboard Championship and the Longboard Championship, Ecuador the Masters, Panama the World Surfing Games, Nicaragua the Junior, and Venezuela the Bodyboard Championship. Both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts have excellent waves. On the Atlantic side especially in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands, and the Pacific has some of the best and most consistent surf in the world. In 2000, the Latin American Pro Tour (ALAS) was created, and this year it has 11 stops in 10 countries of the region. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay have already organized events for the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). Both ISA and ASP put on world class events where the top surfers from around the world are featured. The ASP has also been keen to the area specifically with the Rip Curl Pro Search where events were held in Mexico (2006), Chile (2007), and Puerto Rico (2010) due to the amazing quality and consistency of the surf. Also, the Big Wave World Tour hosts events in Chile and Mexico.
Q: HOW ABOUT LATIN AMERICAN SURFERS? HOW DOES SURFING PARTICIPATION COMPARE WITH OTHER REGIONS? ARE THERE ANY STARS?
A: Latin American surfers are growing in talent, and you can see it in their participation during important events in recent years, but still small in comparison to other regions like Australasia, Europe and North America. There are some well-known surfing stars from Latin America that have established themselves in the highest level of competition. Surfers like Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Sofia Mulanovich (PER) who started their careers by winning ISA World Championships are now competing amongst the best surfers in the world on the ASP World Tour. In 2004, Mulanovich won both the ISA World Surfing Games and was the ASP Women’s World Tour Champion. In 2012, Mulanovich returned to the ISA and was the Women’s Gold Medalist of the ISA’s inaugural Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival in China.
Q: DOES SURFING GET GOOD TELEVISION AND MEDIA COVERAGE IN LATIN AMERICA, AND AROUND THE WORLD? WHO WOULD BE THE MOST ACTIVE TV PARTNERS?
A: Mainstream media in Latin America gives good coverage to surfing, especially when it’s about their national teams competing in ISA events. Also there are many specialized local print magazines and websites throughout the region dedicated to covering surfing. ESPN and Fox Sports channels in Latin America both have shows that are dedicated to Action Sports and follow the surfing scene in the region. For example, “Passion Xtrema” and “La Fabrica” are two shows on FOX Sports that cover surfing. Outside of Latin America, FUEL TV, the leading action sports television network, has channels in the USA, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa that have surfing programming and show live surf events.
Q: ON THE SPONSORSHIP FRONT, IS LATIN AMERICA A GOOD REGION FOR SURFING? WHICH COMPANIES ARE INVOLVED?
A: The Latin American region has world class waves all along its coast line, visited every year by thousands tourists and a exponentially growing community of local surfers that seek great waves with warm water and a warm climate. The events hosted in the region attract a great number of fans to the beach and also thousands of surf fans that follow the action through the live webcasts from every corner of the world. The numbers are really attractive to many surf and non-surf companies that invest in these events and the region. In many cases, the development of surfing has directly postively impacted the national tourism revenues. All the major surf brands have distribution in every country in Latin America, including Quiksilver, Billabong,Vans, Volcom, Rip Curl, O’Neill, Reef. All have Sales and Marketing executives with Latin America specific budgets. There are also local brands that are influential in the major surf countries, such as Hang Loose in Brazil amongs many others.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN AMBITIONS IN LATIN AMERICA – AND IN GENERAL?
A: The ISA’s main goal is to develop surfing around the world, and Latin America has been one of our focus for years. Since the ISA began to bring World Championships to the region, the sport has grown dramatically in terms of numbers of participants, numbers of surfing tourists traveling to the region, and government and surf industry support. Most importantly our work in supporting the young surfing national federations has resulted in inspirational performances, and a path for the youth of the region to enjoy their waves and showing the local populations that surfing has an important role to play in their economies. Our ambitions and the resulting efforts of the ISA in Latin America have been absolutely great for the sport and lifestyle, and very good for the economies of all these nations. For example, in Panama, where the ISA has had successful World Championships three years in a row, surfing tourism has grown from not even being part of the official statistics by the Panama Tourism Minister’s office, to now accounting for 15% of all tourism in Panama, and tourism is 10% of the country's economy. That means surfing tourism accounts for 1.5% of the economy in 2013, whereas in 2010 surfing tourism did not even register. That is a clear example of how the ISA can help develop the sport in a country. There are many other similar examples throughout Latin America. In many countries in the region surfing has become one of the most loved sports after soccer.
Q: Do you tailor your product for Latin American tastes and do you have local stars?
A: WWE approaches its business from a global perspective. Our content, storylines, and Superstars transcend borders. In Latin America, where the tradition of the “novela” is so strong, our content resonates well as an action-based novela with an in-ring twist. WWE partners with our broadcasters around the world to deliver the highest quality local-language version of our content. We have top-class Latin American talent such as Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio. However, fans in Latin America follow all WWE Superstars, not just local heroes, which is showcased by our 2 million+ Facebook fans in the region.
Q: Which channels carry WWE programming? Are you mainly on pay TV? Do you do PPV? Do you do anything in terms of streaming online?
A: WWE Raw and SMACKDOWN are the two longest running episodic shows in US history. These titles and many more are available worldwide in 145 countries and 30 languages via Free and Pay TV platforms. Additionally, we produce 12 live PPV events each year, which are also distributed worldwide. Our flagship PPV event, WrestleMania 29, will take place on April 7, 2013, and is available to consumers in 16 markets throughout Latin America.
Q: How many events do you hold in Latin America? What have been the biggest successes? What are the upcoming events?
A: Each year WWE performs over 300 live events worldwide, roughly 70 of which take place internationally. We tour all major LatAm markets annually, including Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Brazil, and more.
Q: What would you say has been the biggest change in the international market over the past couple of years?
A: We note that there is a positive change for emerging markets such as Brazil. Our league has improved a lot. Players like Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Juninho Pernambucano and others, have returned to Brazilian soccer. And stars like Neymar opted to stay here. We are growing stronger and more valuable.
Q: Do you think the FIFA World Cup coming to Brazil has created more interest in Brazilian content? A re you offering any programming specifically related to this event – or the Rio Olympics in 2016?
A: There has definitely been a growing interest in Brazilian content. For Brazil this is a favorable time for sport, hosting the 2013 Confederation Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. We seem to have become an obligatory route for sporting events. In view of this, we are launching new in the 2013 catalog a GloboDoc entitled “Neymar - The Heir to the Crown,” about the young striker who is a new star of the Brazilian national team. We also have the interesting documentary “Dream Under Construction” about Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup. Our documentaries are produced with detailed journalistic research by professionals from the Globo group, people who really know the country and have the sensitivity required to assess issues and personalities, and who possess the professionalism and structure to make the subjects interesting to the international market.
Q: How important is the rest of Latin America for you as a market? Would you say the Latin American sports TV market is in good shape?
A; All the markets are important to us, including the Latin American one. We believe that the market in this region is hot, with different sports championships coming here generating new business in the sector. The continent is a hotbed of stars and the Latin American people are passionate about soccer. Many players from several countries in the region play in the Brazilian League. And, of course, there are many Brazilians who play in other countries within the continent. So the interest is sizeable, and an affinity for our soccer is traditional.
Q: Have you added new properties?
A: We are researching the development of new properties, since interest in the country as a whole is huge, especially in our sporting events.
Q: What will be the main focus for you at Sportel Rio 2013?
A: Our goal is to strengthen our partnerships and generate new business. We also want to strengthen the image of Brazilian soccer abroad, which has been gaining a new dimension over the years. It’s increasingly competitive and relevant on the world stage, especially the Brazilian and São Paulo State Leagues, which have fans worldwide. We have seen a change in the stars’ behaviour and we now have players from other countries opting to play in Brazil.