Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: Reuters / Albert Gea

JOHANNESBURG - “We are not just a two team, two player league. We are much, much more than that.”

Enrique Moreno, Spanish La Liga’s head of brand, is at pains trying to convince the South African media visiting their head offices here that Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as their stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, are not the be all and end all of their league.

It is a hard sell but the Enrique and his team are determined to change that world view.

“We have big matches and we have big players. Real Madrid and Barca are who they are because they play in this league. They play against these other clubs," Moreno said.

Moreno is quick to point to a finding by a data research company from Germany to illustrate his point about La Liga being more than just about El Clasico.

“We are the best league in the world,” he said, “and this is not me saying it but an organisation in Germany said so and they provided data to prove it.”

That fact notwithstanding, La Liga are not sitting on their laurels and are in fact embarking on a concerted campaign to sell themselves to the world.

“We are aware that the entertainment market is evolving and we must keep up. Our challenge is to be a world leader in entertainment. Our ambition is to be a meaningful brand, more than just a football brand. We want to be in people’s lives.”

To this effect, La Liga will be rolling out advertisements that sell the Spanish league as more than just football to the world with the tagline “It’s not football, It’s La Liga.”

Moreno explained: “We are not just a sport, not just an experience. We are more than a show.”

To the outside world, at least for now, La Liga is merely Madrid and Barca.

This much La Liga COO, Joris Evers, acknowledges.

“People know Barca and Real or Ronaldo and Messi. But there are so many stories about La Liga and other clubs that we want to share, especially with our fans in South Africa. We want them to like it and make it a lifestyle.”

Literally, La Liga want people to know that there is more to them than El Clasico.

“Of course, we don’t have a problem with El Clasico. We actually help it (to become the biggest match in the world). But we are aware that the rest of the clubs must move up. They have the game, the grounds and the fans.

The good thing is that all our 20 clubs have bought into our plan to market the brand worldwide.”

The Star

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