Mauro Silva, Vice President at the Paulista Football Federation, starred in the one-on-one session ‘Football in the new era of OTT and social networks’ during the second Nextv Sport Latin America’s virtual edition, in which he informed that the SVOD OTT Paulistão Play, recently launched by the entity, has added the Betsul sports betting website and the DirecTV GO (AT&T) platform as commercial partners, to generate more interaction with football fans in São Paulo and achieve greater monetization. In addition, he gave details about the growth of female football in Brazil, as well as his vision on the commercialization of sports rights and the opportunities and challenges motivated by the pandemic for the football industry.
Regarding his motivations to become a football leader, Silva reported that ‘In La Coruña I lived 13 unforgettable years. But I have always believed in the Brazilian school. We have in our essence Brazilian and South American football dribbling, but in Brazil, in aspects related to discipline and tactics, we have to improve in many things’. On the other hand, the executive said he believed that ‘Brazilian footballers are better trained in tactical terms in Europe, and, in the case of Argentine and Uruguayan footballers, they show a great interest in tactical aspects, and many of them become coaches . In my case, when I went to Europe I had a great concern to be well positioned on the football pitch and for the team to be well organized’. This way, Silva said that, to his view, ‘we have our own features of the Brazilian school, but that does not take away from us the ability to understand other schools in other parts of the world, and to be able to bring the best of each one to improve our football’.
The executive reported that, after his performance as a football player, ‘it was clear to me that I did not want to be a coach, but I have always liked the organization. I believe that the industry in South America has a lot to grow and develop, and football players owe a significant debt to football. Today, being able to work in the Paulista Football Federation motivates me a lot, because it allows me to work to develop the football industry in South America, and I am aware of the social impact that football has. We must be very careful in the South American region, because football is a platform for education and awareness. There are many people who like football and not other disciplines, and we must take advantage of that and use football to set a good example for society. Many times we make the mistake of believing that only what we have done on the football pitch is enough, but it is not. Once the path of football ends, players must prepare themselves. The market is very dynamic and complex and, if someone does not prepare himself for it, it will be very difficult for them to develop themselves in any area’, he added.
The Paulista Football Federation has recently launched Paulistão Play, the entity’s OTT platform, and it became one of the first OTTs launched by federations in Latin America. Regarding the movement that several Brazilian clubs have been making to launch into the OTT market and the professionalization of clubs in this regard in São Paulo, Silva said that he can see it ‘with great satisfaction and joy, because we have improved a lot. I have been here since 2015, and there has been a very important change. We organize 17 competitions (4 thousand matches a year). Today, within the Federation, we have changed the entire organizational structure, and we have advanced a lot. We want to go down the path of training and professionalizing our professionals’. Regarding the creation of the platform, Silva assured that ‘our idea is to interact and have a closer relationship with our fans. We want to know the football fan, his consumption habits, generate an interaction with them and, as a result of this, be able to monetize, through commercial partners. Today, for example, we have DirecTV GO and Betsul as partners. Through the agreement, they can get in touch with our fans database, who follow football matches in São Paulo, and we, as a federation, allow us to know what the consumer habits of fans are, and create interactive and segmented content, advertising , as well as knowing what fans like the most. We are having a direct relationship between the federation and the clubs fans, with a very broad user base. This means a greater income of money for the clubs, and also the possibility of bringing the right content for fans, the ones that they like the most. The aim of the platform is to generate more interesting content for fans and, at the same time, generate more money for clubs, and be able to further strengthen the football industry’, the executive reported.
Regarding the sports rights that the Federation should sell to third parties and which ones to keep, Silva reported that ‘we have marketed the A1 Series of the Paulista Championship with Rede Globo, which brings together the great teams in Brazil. The agreement will be valid until next year, but Globo has been a partner of ours for a long time’. In addition, the executive said that ‘we are trying to segment the competitions, and generate value. Series A1 is from Globo, and Series A2 and A3 are part of the Paulistão Play catalog. In addition, we already have other interested TV broadcasters, and partnerships with Facebook, MyCujoo and DAZN. Our aim is to add value to all these competitions, so that broadcasts are better and better and, at the same time, there is more and more interest on players, both national and international, so that these sports rights are worth more and more money, which is very healthy for the industry and the clubs’.
Silva also expressed himself regarding the relevance that female football is acquiring, both in São Paulo and globally, and explained that ‘since 2016, we have been the first federation in Brazil to create a department focused on female football, with a woman as a director. We have experienced a very big change’. In addition, the executive said that Brazil ‘had only three women in the technical commissions in 2016, and today we have 45. We also had 372 players, and now we have 1,034, and we have even created the Sub 17 competition, and we have aired all the Female Football competitions. We see a great advance in relation to female football, and a lot of interest on the part of the broadcasters to broadcast all their competitions, as well as we see many companies interested in sponsoring it. We believe that, for the next few years, female football will acquire an increasing relevance in São Paulo, and we are very happy with these figures, because, here in Brazil, unfortunately, women were banned from playing football for 40 years in two dictatorial periods, and now we are working to make up for that lost time’.
Finally, Silva gave his opinion regarding the crisis in the football industry created by the pandemic, and reported that ‘crises are opportunities. We have had to advance in our digital transformation and content production to connect ourselves with our fans during the pandemic, where face-to-face events did not take place. Fortunately, we have been quite successful, and we have managed to grow in that regard, at a very difficult time for all of us’. In addition, Silva said that ‘looking to the future, what we must do is train all professionals in the football industry. Football is a great industry, which only allows us to make decisions based on quality information, but not as fans. All these professionalization processes must be very well organized and structured. We are already seeing movements of clubs and companies in São Paulo with this aim, as well as we have seen it in Europe. There is much to do and improve, but the good news for South America is that we have great potential, because we have many footballers and professionals. We must organize ourselves better and have a more efficient, ethical, transparent and modern management’, he ended.