In 2008, you co-founded Futbol Sites with Nahuel Pan. What were the goals at that time and what assessment can you make now about the company’s spectacular growth in over 12 years?
At that moment, we started this great project driven by the passion for soccer and by our heart team, River Plate (Argentina). We were very young and had the ambition to conquer Latin America by building a network of websites with sports content geared towards fans. We understood that fans wanted content tailored to them, that sports media needed to evolve and be much more engaged and speak the user’s language. We saw that few media did that in Latin America, and we decided to quickly expand and plant a flag before the competitors. That’s how we reached more than six countries in a very short time. The analysis after 12 years is that, in the end, hard and strategic work, being consistent and consequent, is always worthwhile. We had a dream and a long-term vision that came true.
One of the company’s main drivers was its acquisition, in April 2021, by Playmaker, a world reference in digital sports media. How relevant this operation was and how do you think it improved (and will improve) Futbol Sites?
This acquisition allowed us to further accelerate the organic growth that Futbol Sites already had. The values are the same; we are the same family, fully aligned ethically and professionally. This operation gives us even more structure and relationship, and offers Futbol Sites the possibility of acquiring and integrating other sports media into its existing product portfolio.
Spanning markets as diverse as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and some U.S. territories, how have you developed a content strategy that would allow you to successfully cover the sporting interests of fans and consumers in all of these jurisdictions?
The key has been local content generation. Without it, it’s impossible to be relevant to users or algorithms on Google, Facebook and other platforms. Therefore, we have a team of 250 people distributed throughout LatAm, in a decentralized manner and in several cities per country. To have valuable local content, we need local writers in each city who are experts in these subjects. In short: the concept is to have a regional strategy with hyperlocal execution.
What is your analysis of the current state of the online gaming and sports betting industry in Latin America, understanding regulatory variants between the different markets? Are you optimistic about possible progress in this regard in countries such as Peru and Brazil, for example?
We are very optimistic. We believe that there are great regulatory advances. With Colombia fully regulated and Mexico in a similar situation, the next step is for Brazil and Argentina to self-regulate, which is already happening. The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is ahead, so 2022 will be a year of huge growth for the sector. From our place, we’ve become experts and learned a lot about how to generate relevant content for fans who want to play, and how to offer personalized advertising solutions that generate revenue for bookmakers. I have no doubt that, currently, throughout Latin America, Futbol Sites is the online sports media group that receives the most advertising from bookmakers.
Speaking of Brazil, and in an impressive and recent operation, Playmaker bought SuperPoker Group, a Brazilian media company that will work under the Futbol Sites brand. What are the main reasons behind this decision and how will your company be able to incorporate poker fans into a more open world, in which various sports are offered?
SuperPoker is a valuable asset, with a team of highly trained people that accumulates a lot of knowledge on the sector. All the poker experience they have is transferable to the sports betting world. Also, most poker players are soccer fans too. On the other hand, on our websites Bolavip Brasil and Somos Fanaticos, we have thousands of potential poker players. Synergies are in sight, and we believe we can help further develop the excellent work the SuperPoker team has done so far.
Several former employees and associates have defined you as an ‘exceptional leader and mentor.’ How would you describe yourself as a leader? What is your leadership style to better convey your ideas and goals to your employees?
I live my life and my work with a lot of passion. I like to share this with my team: the passion and love for what they do on a daily basis at Futbol Sites. I try to offered them my knowledge and give everyone the tools and freedom to get the best out of themselves. We work hard and with tremendous intensity, totally results-oriented and with clear objectives. Most of the people who work with me live their work with this intensity and we celebrate each achievement together, like when someone shouts a goal at a soccer game.
Figures from key consulting firms show that Futbol Sites leads its segment (digital sports media groups) in Latin America, with tens of millions of users and unique visitors to the platform. What are future plans to increase this positioning, continue to expand in the region and keep on delivering compelling content to the broad, passionate audience of sports users and players in Latin America and the United States?
On the one hand, we intend to continue to improve our product from a technological and visual point of view. On the other hand, the objective is to prioritize our newsrooms every day, bringing in quality writers. Now that we have this leadership position among the public, we strive for excellence. Therefore, it is no coincidence -for example- the incorporation of one of the most prestigious sports journalists in Argentina, Juan Pablo Varsky, as Playmaker’s ambassador and Bolavip columnist. We will keep on advancing on the path of editorial improvement. Finally, we believe that, in order to talk about sports betting, we need specialists in the creation of this content who are (or were) players (in the past), so that they know what they are talking about. All of this must be accompanied by widgets and technology that help players make the right decisions. In this sense, Playmaker recently acquired English agency 2UP, which provides us with all this technology for the sports betting industry. We will extend all these plans in 2022.