Spanish football is the sexiest on TV, but La Liga has done ‘silly things’ that hinder Asia growth, says Valencia marketing chief

Peter Draper (right) talks at Sports Matters

Peter Draper (right) talks at Sports Matters

Spanish football is the most attractive variety on offer for television viewers, but the way its governing body and league has set itself up for Asian audiences has not allowed La Liga to compete with the English Premier League, the commercial chief of Valencia has said.

Peter Draper, the newly appointed commercial and marketing director of Valencia CF and former marketing boss of Manchester United, said that part of the challenge of building his club’s brand in Asia has been a league “not wanting to embrace an international development plan.”

Asked how he thinks Spanish football compares to the EPL in terms of televisual appeal, the Brit said: “Spanish football is the sexiest football on TV.”

“If there’s anything better to watch than Cristiano Ronaldo [the Real Madrid striker] I’d like to see him pointed out. They’ve got to play us. And that means an audience.”

“But the league hasn’t thought about embracing everything in the same way as the Premier League and does some silly things,” he said.

La Liga is the second most popular foreign league in Asia, but lags way behind the EPL in terms of its following, according to a September study by YouGov.

Talking at the Sports Matters conference in Singapore last week, Draper bemoaned the Spanish league’s decision to change its match fixtures three weeks before the start of this season, which disrupted Asian TV schedules.

“How the hell do you schedule for that [as a broadcaster]? How do you get people [in Asia] to watch at 10pm on a Sunday?” he said.

“We have got to address the audience out there that is devoid of La Liga football,” said Draper, adding that the “penny has dropped” for the Spanish football chiefs who have recently committed to an international development plan.

“We’re very supportive of the league and what they’re doing,” he said, hinting at co-marketing opportunities between La Liga and Valencia ahead.

Draper’s comments come a month after Valencia officially set up an office in Singapore.

Valencia club crest“It’s an opportunity to tell our story,” Draper said of building the Valencia brand in the region. “We’ve still got to find our voice and a tone of voice that resonates.”

Valencia has just hired Iris Worldwide to help the football club position itself in Asia. Draper likened the brand to a “phoenix from the ashes” because of its recovery from near financial disaster.

This week, Valencia signed Volkswagen as an official club sponsor, although the deal is limited to Spain for now, Draper told Mumbrella.

Valencia and Volkswagen post-signing photo

Valencia and Volkswagen post-signing photo


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