Rooting interests: LaLiga partners with Microsoft to personalize the soccer fan experience

Fans are the soul of soccer.

Their devotion is now fueling the digital evolution of Spain’s top professional soccer league, LaLiga – which simply translates to “The League.”

Home to 42 clubs – including Real Madrid and Barcelona of the elite, 20-team LaLiga Santander – LaLiga organizes nearly 1,000 games annually, broadcasting matches to a weekly audience of 2.1 billion people. LaLiga also nurtures a growing, social-media community of 1.8 billion followers, many pulling for signature stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The league’s fans are legend. LaLiga faithful sing and roar. They also tweet and post their loyalties. Tapping that passion – and providing a more customized fan experience – is driving transformation, says LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

“The fans want a lot more today. They want to know their clubs and their heroes through social networks,” Tebas says. “But they now demand information seven days a week. They want to know what happens in between games.”

By partnering with Microsoft via a global alliance, LaLiga’s leaders are accessing artificial intelligence and cloud services to truly personalize fan interactions. Fans can specify their rooting interests then access only the most relevant content, including videos that reflect their preferences, or stats on their favorite teams or players. Via various digital channels, fans can connect with other LaLiga backers worldwide, creating interconnected communities.

This digital push is similarly infusing on-field strategy across LaLiga’s teams, effectively modernizing the game itself, Tebas says. That spans areas like player speed and resilience, churning new streams of in-game info for trainers, coaches and team doctors. And those improvements will inherently make LaLiga more competitive.

“The predictive aspect and business intelligence offers a synergy that is important for our future,” Tebas says.

But there’s something else at play. Fortifying LaLiga’s tomorrow means strengthening a national treasure.

“Soccer is part of Spanish culture,” Tebas says. “That is part of the social life in this country.”

Photo courtesy of LaLiga.