Latin America is synonymous with fiercely passionate football fans, however, converting that into commercial success is a challenge at the heart of growth for sides in the region. 

A plethora of Latin America’s most renowned football clubs joined SBC’s George Harborne at The SBC Summit Barcelona, as they analysed the crucial nature of data in maximising betting partnerships and harnessing commercial innovation for football clubs in the region. 

Eduardo Quintes, Marketing Manager at Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, described data as the most important element of partnerships – specifically when it comes to gaining a deeper understanding of their supporters and maintaining a strong relationship with them. 

He also revealed that tapping into a variety of data sources enables the club to understand the fan’s consumption habits in the most efficient way possible. 

River Plate Commercial Director Francisco Lorenzo also emphasised the key source of data that comes from the club’s social media platforms, which have generated significant popularity from supporters. 

Given the wildly passionate nature of Latin American football fans and how much they are enticed by the beautiful game, Lorenzo stated that signing partnerships is crucial but also paramount to a successful deal isconnecting them with supporters. 

He revealed that the challenge lies in bringing together fans and sponsors and ensuring that they have a connection off the back of the partnership. Lorenzo cited numerous activation opportunities that have resulted in key conversion opportunities.

In terms of football’s commercial relationship with gambling, Racing Club’s Roby Martinez revealed that he believes the Argentine market is emulating what happened in Europe. 

Harborne then drew attention to the Brazilian market, as the gambling framework continues to develop fueling an increased level of gambling partnerships from clubs. 

Commercial Director at SAF Botafogo Rafael Ganem detailed that, as Brazil’s legislature is in the last step of forming a regulatory framework and emerging from ‘the grey zone’, the region is learning every day.  

He went on to reveal that off the back of the corruption controversy that saw the competition in Bolivia halted earlier than anticipated, authorities have sought to ensure that players are well aware of the risks that gambling brings through educational lessons. Brazilian football was also hit by a match-fixing scandal earlier this year.

Lorenzo echoed this sentiment, adding that the government is very much learning and integrity will be a key vocal point for the future responsibilities of operators and clubs. He outlined that working together between various stakeholders will be crucial. 

Creating brand affinity and ensuring that fan sentiment is positive remains a challenge, however, Ganem stated that fans have a strong understanding that the club needs the money in order to maximise their potential and play the strongest team possible and are therefore accepting of partnerships. 

Martinez revealed that gambling should be associated with entertainment and not compulsive behaviours in order to maintain a strong sentiment with fans. Utilising marketing budgets to showcase the socially responsible steps being taken by an operator can be a key avenue for operators looking to stay in the good books of fans. 

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