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Volume 6 No. 216

People and Pop Culture

MATÍAS BARETTA works for Argentine first division side River Plate's media department as the club's coordinator of audiovisual media. On March 30, the Buenos Aires-based club won the latest installment of its well-documented rivalry with crosstown rival Boca Juniors. Before the match, the players watched a motivational highlight video put together by Baretta and the River staff, which helped the players overcome playing on the road without their fans due to Argentine security regulations. Baretta spoke with SBD Global about his role with the club, River's efforts to reach fans outside Argentina and the motivational video that has been viewed more than half a million times on YouTube.

On his arrival at River Plate and role with the club …
BARETTA: I have been a River Plate member since many years ago. I got involved in the politics of the club under Matías Patanian, who is now one of River Plate’s VPs. Together with River Plate President Rodolfo D’Onofrio we have a great working team. A team prepared from day one. There are very capable people within this project. The club is in a delicate economic situation and we know that marketing is an extra source of revenue. River was a brand that was being very poorly managed and today we are once again making the River brand one of the most important in the country. However, this is in no way the task of just one department.

On attracting fans outside Argentina and South America …
BARETTA: River is a global brand; it transcends borders and social classes. Football attracts fans worldwide and what we do is administrate passion. River has 15 million fans in Argentina and many others throughout the world. In Colombia there are a lot of fans of River, also in Chile and Uruguay. A big part of this phenomenon is the great players from those countries who played for River Plate. Ligue 1 Monaco's Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Barcelona's Alexis Sanchez (Chile) and former Uruguay int'l Enzo Francescoli as well as former Chilean int'l Marcelo Salas are clear examples. On the other side, River has the most modern museum in the world. And this is also a big tourist attraction. It is necessary to transform the local product (River) into a global business by conquering new markets. The measure of success, in general, is based on athletic results. If the ball enters (the goal), the attraction is better. But in our case, we count on the advantage that we have more than a football club. It is an institution with social relevance, which, through sports, culture and education, becomes one of the most important institutions in the world. Olympic athletes, world champions and great leaders have come from River Plate.

On how to reach fans globally …
BARETTA: Knowing that football's best assets are its players. But, facing a calm market, you have to generate revenue through marketing that creates commercial assets. It is always better to have fewer sponsors that are big. This creates a hierarchy of the River brand. The first question in which you have to invest is the internal working team, professionalizing the areas that exist within the club. For this, River has a Marketing Manager (Santiago Traynor) who is capable of addressing the necessary questions at this time. We work together with the brands in a coordinated manner. It is the same between the club’s other areas. Today marketing, media relations and public relations, among others, generate a favorable situation to exercise clear policies with the market. River returned to being a friendly and credible club, two indispensable conditions for the market.

On the proudest achievement of his career …
BARETTA: Having formed part of a team of collaborators that helped D’Onofrio become president of River Plate [in December]. In my case, from the general area of communications, particularly audiovisual. And the next challenge is to mark a new paradigm in Argentine football. We are on this path as we count on directors that are advancing the accomplishments. This is fundamental for diagramming a work scheme.
Next, I believe a video that I made being seen by nearly 800,000 people in three days is an important accomplishment. An accomplishment that would not have been possible without a team and a club that supported me. I counted on great support from River’s press and marketing departments.

On sports other than football that he follows in his free time …
BARETTA: I watch a lot of tennis and boxing. And River, in addition to being a football club, has many other activities; with more than 2,000 students that form the school and the university. All of this activity makes you permanently involved in sports in the inclusion and interaction with the member.

On the video he helped create for River's March 30 Superclásico at Boca Juniors …

BARETTA: The video was managed within the club. President D'Onofrio as much as [VP] Matias Patanian and VP Jorge Brito wanted the team to be as motivated as possible. River-Boca is the most important game in the world and it generates a lot of passion with the people, in the media and on TV. The players in this game motivate themselves in this context. And the video was a gift for them, to give them a little more strength before such a special sporting event. We planned the video knowing that this game in particular, there was going to be no visiting fans. The River fans were not going to be able to enter Boca’s stadium. This idea was of 11 against everyone. And so the spirit of the video was born. The video showed that on the grass, there were only going to be 11 players playing against 11 other players. But in the stands there were 50,000 more people against them. Also, River had not won in this stadium [La Bombonera] in 10 years. And the video motivated us to convey to the players that on the grass, they would be 11, but behind all this, millions of people would be supporting them. And I believe it worked. The video was very good and River allowed us to show it one minute before the start of the game. This was very motivating. After, they (the players and coaching staff) gave a great gift to us [by winning].

Adidas has appointed MARK KING as president of adidas Group North America beginning June 1. King will be in charge of all adidas and Reebok operations in the North American market and report to adidas AG exec board member ROLAND AUSCHEL, who is responsible for global sales. King succeeds PATRIK NILSSON, who left the company to become CEO of fashion brand GANT in his native Sweden (adidas). ... Second Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus President ULRICH LEPSCH "will resign from his position at the end of May." He "will be replaced" by current VP WOLFGANG NEUBERT (Bundesliga). ... German Hockey League (DEL) club EHC Red Bull Munich head coach PIERRE PAGE "has been appointed Red Bull hockey global sports director with immediate effect." The 65-year-old Canadian "will be in charge of all Red Bull hockey projects and use his expertise for player and coach development as well as scouting" (KURIER, 4/17). ... League One Oldham Athletic promoted sales and marketing exec DAVID BROADBENT to head of partnerships (Oldham Athletic). ... Event hospitality firm Centerplate promoted ADRIAN DISHINGTON to COO of the company's U.K. operations (Centerplace).

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Former rugby player LOU RICHARDS was praised by Australian Football League Commission Chair MIKE FITZPATRICK after "becoming the inaugural recipient" of the JOHN KENNEDY Lifetime Achievement Award. Kennedy, a triple-premiership coach at Hawthorn and former AFL Commission chairman, "presented Richards with the award." Richards played 250 games for the Magpies including captaining the '53 premiership side (AAP, 4/17). ... NBA Brooklyn Nets Owner MIKHAIL PROKHOROV has lost $2.1B in the last year and "dropped out of Russia’s top 10 richest people" (R-SPORT, 4/17). ... Dutch Eredivisie side Utrecht coach JAN WOUTERS "will step down" at the end "of a disappointing season." The former Netherlands midfielder will leave the club after two-and-a-half years in charge (REUTERS, 4/17). ... Australia's national women's football team coach HESTERINE DE REUS "has been sacked," less than a month out from the team's Asian Football Conderation Women's Asian Cup title defense. Football Federation Australia announced the decision on Thursday "following an internal review into de Reus's coaching methods" (REUTERS, 4/17). ... A-League side Adelaide United has extended coach JOSEP GOMBAU's contract by two seasons. The Spanish coach "has signed a new deal to remain with the Reds until the 2016-17 A-League season" (AAP, 4/17).

AP's ROB HARRIS: "Putin on Russian TV Q&A says no possibility of Russia losing 2018 World Cup after being reassured by Blatter"

Sydney Daily Telegraph HENRY WINTER: "Uefa urges need for "more stability' at clubs after '2,000 head coach changes & combined club losses of €4bn+ (in past 3 financial years)''

London Telegraph's SIMON HART: "More woe for Jamaican anti-doping: Lennox Gayle, a member of disciplinary panel who banned Asafa Powell, is charged with running prostitutes"

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