Goal rounds up the top business stories of the week from Soccerex, including a new reality show trying to find the next Neymar, the Spanish Super Cup finding a home for the next three years and a number of top names added to next week's Soccerex USA conference.
La Liga's new reality TV talent show bids to find the next Neymar
La Liga has partnered with Neymar's marketing firm Grupo LX to launch a new digital reality show targeted at 16 to 19-year-olds living in Brazil.
Designed to find the nation’s next young football star, the show will invite subscribers to enter a competition and share homemade videos showcasing their skills.
Following submission, 900 entrants will be selected for trials at a training centre in São Paulo, of which 78 will then be chosen to take part in a team knockout competition for the opportunity to train amongst elite La Liga football academies in Spain.
While the programme represents a platform for La Liga to keep tabs on upcoming South American talent, it will also open up a new avenue to connect with younger fans in the Brazilian market, which is home to more than 30 million people who follow or take part in football.
Dayyán Morandi, President of the LX Group, said: “When Grupo LX and La Liga designed the project, it was to demonstrate to the Brazilian soccer industry the importance of professionalising grassroots football. We need to attract investment, train professionals and develop new management methods to help access to professional football across all categories.”
Spanish Super Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia for three years
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed that Saudi Arabia will host the reimagined Spanish Super Cup from 2020 until 2022.
Traditionally played between the champions of La Liga and the winners of the previous season’s Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup will now feature four clubs.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Valencia will be the first teams to take part in the competition, with semi-finals and a final to be played from January 8 to 12 at the 62,000-capacity King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.
An RFEF statement said the tournament was being held in winter ‘in order to lighten the calendar of competitions’ and allow Spanish clubs to ‘plan their pre-season better’.
The Spanish Super Cup is the latest in a growing list of sporting events to be awarded to Saudi Arabia despite the country’s human rights record and the ongoing saga involving pirate broadcaster BeoutQ.
The deal between the RFEF and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) does stipulate that women will be allowed to attend the tournament without restrictions, while it also calls for the launch of a new women’s soccer competition in the region.
However, Spain’s acting junior minister for sport, Maria Jose Rienda, said when reports first broke that the government would not support hosting the tournament “in countries where women’s rights are not respected”.
La Liga president Javier Tebas, meanwhile, has previously opposed the idea of the Spanish Super Cup being staged in Saudi Arabia given that BeoutQ has been illegally broadcasting the league’s fixtures in the country.
Despite that, the Spanish Super Cup will now be the second major European soccer tournament of its kind to be staged in Saudi Arabia in the coming months. The confirmation comes just a week after Lega Serie A announced that the Supercoppa Italiana will be held in the Gulf nation for the second consecutive year as part of the Italian body’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA).
More names added to Soccerex Miami
Philadelphia Union Captain Alejandro Bedoya and Inter Miami Co-Owner Jorge Mas will join senior directors from Budweiser, Adidas and FC Barcelona as part of an elite level industry programme at Soccerex USA 2019 which begins on Thursday next week in Miami.
Soccerex USA will also see leaders from elite clubs in the Americas and Europe sharing expertise on subjects ranging from sponsorship and commercial growth to fan engagement and internationalisation.
One of the headline sessions at the event will see Inter Miami’s Managing Owner, Jorge Mas, talk about how the ownership group, which includes global soccer icon David Beckham, are building a local club with a global profile, ahead of their inaugural MLS campaign in 2020. Miami’s role as a football city will also be highlighted by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who will be addressing as part of the event’s opening ceremony.
Other recent programme additions include a session dedicated to the growth of USL and a look at the evolution of soccer jersey marketing featuring Wolverhampton Wanderers Head of Marketing, Russell Jones, MLS SVP of Consumer Products, Maribeth Towers, and Avery Dennison Commercial Director, Simon Allen.