LaLiga and Real Betis look ahead to the future of international sports partnerships at the Spain Experience Panel
Together with DC United and Washington Wizard, executives shared models for international sports success, identified industry trends and forecast future global alliances
Washington, D.C. (May 23, 2019). Executives from Washington, D.C. professional sports teams DC United and the Washington Wizards joined colleagues representing LaLiga, the Spanish Professional Soccer League; and Real Betis Balompie, a Spanish LaLiga soccer club based in Seville; to discuss ways the international sports community is creating lucrative synergies across borders. The event was hosted by LaLiga and Real Betis Balompie with support of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C. and the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX).
The Spain Experience Panel was created as part of LaLiga World Challenge, a program which began in 2014 to promote Spanish football internationally through exhibition matches and cultural events. On Wednesday evening, Real Betis Balompie played D.C. United in the first international friendly competition to be held at DC United’s Audi Field, the district’s new soccer-specific stadium, which opened last year.
The Spain Experience panelists included: Tommy Sheppard, Senior Vice President of Operations, Washington Wizards; Chris Hull, Vice President, Media, Public Relations & Community, DC United; Ramon Alarcon, Chief Business Officer, Real Betis; and Nicolas Garcia Hemme, VP, Strategy & Business Development, LaLiga North America. Dave Johnson, local sports broadcaster, served as the panel moderator.
“As we move towards the 2026 World Cup, growing the LaLiga brand in the U.S. is a big opportunity and we want to strengthen our partnership here and continue to reach more fans,” said Nicolas Garcia Hemme, VP, Strategy & Business Development, LaLiga North America. “The Real Betis brand is a great way to showcase the passion of the Spanish fans and connect with new fans and partners in the U.S. Since 2014 we have been expanding LaLiga outside of Spain, and one example of this international promotion is this event called the Spain Experience by LaLiga World Challenge.”
“We visited the U.K. this year for a regular season game because we have a responsibility to visit new places and meet new fans, to grow the sport and strengthen our brand,” said Tommy Sheppard, Senior VP of Operations, Washington Wizards. “One thing we took away from that experience and from being part of Real Betis’ trip this week is the passion of European fans. That passion is something we continue to work hard to capture in the U.S.”
“Visiting Washington, D.C. as part of our U.S. tour is an important pillar to expand our brand in this country,” said Ramon Alarcon, Chief Business Officer, Real Betis Balompie.
“To grow successfully, you have to come here to learn how your brand is perceived, build new relationships with the community and partners, and create new fans. People have a lot of options for entertainment and our first responsibility is to bring the fun experience of LaLiga and Real Betis to fans in the U.S.”