IN-DEPTH: Real Madrid is in the middle of a digital transformation project to ensure it wins more trophies, engages fans and generates revenue
“Content is a tool we have to have between the fans and the club,” he explained. “At the end of the day we are a football club but we are a content company and this is the asset we bring to people. You have to think about all the sources of revenue and positioning yourself for future revenues.
“There can be content that is even more engaging than the 90 minutes – pre match, post match. A lot of money the clubs are spending on the content is not in align with the content’s value.”
The race to 100 million
The drive to attract more fans on social media is remarkably similar to the battle on the pitch. Real Madrid and fierce rivals Barcelona had been competing to become the first club to get 100 million fans on Facebook.
This digital ‘Clasico’ never started off as a competition but De Los Santos’ team brought their target of November forward because of Barcelona’s progress. It was the better use of data in CRM campaigns that allowed Real Madrid to emerge victorious – a tangible example of the club’s Digital Transformation aims.
“In this Clasico, we reached this figure on a Saturday at 11pm and Barca reached it at 10am on the Sunday,” he said, demonstrating the close nature of the contest. “We were well behind Barca in this race when we started but we had more information on them.”
“That little piece of info about fans and what they like about campaigns was the difference.”
The rise of eSports has not gone unnoticed by the footballing world either. It is viewed by some as a challenge but other clubs, including Manchester City and West Ham, have signed professional gamers.
Real Madrid is most famous for its football team but it also has a successful basketball team, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented for it to expand into esports. It has an existing relationship with EA Sports, developer of the FIFA series, but FIFA is small fry in the world of competitive gaming, which can attract huge audiences and purses.
For De Los Santos, it’s something to keep an on, especially since sports athletes could eventually become fans of football and potentially Real Madrid fans.
“It’s not a competitor, it’s an opportunity,” he said. “We can play a role and this is something we need to keep an eye on see the evolution.
“Its not something that will happen just now but[in the future].”