The Kings League of Ibai and Piqué: a mass revolution against the “boredom” of football

In November 2022, Gerard Piqué presented the Kings League, a competition for which he had summoned 12 renowned streamers such as Ibai, TheGrefg or DjMariiOin addition to ex-footballers: When Aguero or Iker Casillas. Each one would be in charge of their team, which they would configure with a draft NBA style. Skeptics said they would be some parties broadcast on Twitchwhere, taking advantage of the pull of the figures that were involved, large audiences would be achieved.

But the first edition, which concluded last Sunday with the final at the Camp Nou, has broken the rules of entertainment and football. More than 2.3 million connected devices, 95,522 spectators at the FC Barcelona stadium and a engagement recognized by sponsors. Because behind it there is a story, with the appearances of the masked man Enigma 69the participation of Ronaldinho or the cards that change the parties. This skein has first convinced millionaire audiences, mostly young, who have managed to attract a family and transversal audience.

The Kings, a twist against “boring football”

The Kings League has passed the debate of whether or not it is football. “They have managed to encapsulate the game in 7×7 matches, where many things happen in 20 minutes. It is a resounding success that has managed to keep the attention of children who, like mine, ask for products from teams like Porcinos (Ibai) and who were up to 11 o’clock watching the outcome. It has been a turn of the screw in football, where many matches are extremely boring”reflect Ivan Cabeza, professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Barcelona and CEO of Unlock for THE SPANISH NEWSPAPERfrom the Iberian Press group.

“The Kings League is another confirmation of the evolution in the way sport is consumed. On the one hand, the sportainment. On the other, there is a relevant group that is interested, not only in what happens at a sporting level (‘avid fans’), but also what happens around the pitch (‘casual fans’). In addition, the democratization of sports-themed audiovisual access has allowed any league, club, event or federation to have its window of visibility, even for free,” he explains. Carlos Cantó, CEO of SPSG Consultingexpert in the sports industry.

The presidents of the Kings League finalists arrived at the Camp Nou in a helicopter.

Many heavy users of traditional football acknowledge having seen the final that was awarded El Barrio de Adri Contreras 3-0 against Juan Guarnizo’s Annihiladores, Mexican content creator. In the winner’s squad, a variety that prevails in all teams. For example, in the goal, the mythical José Juan, hero of Alcoyano in the Cup against Real Madrid, who at 43 years old has made his performance in Torrellano (Third) compatible with the Kings League. Something that colleagues have done like Cristian Ubón, MVP of the first edition and player of UE Sants.

InfoJobs and Grefusa, two convinced sponsors of the Kings

Because Piqué and Ibai’s league is a window of promotion, also for advertisers. “It’s a projected leading the new era of digital entertainment. The numbers of the first split they have been brutal. At InfoJobs we are excited to associate our brand, leader in the sector, with an idea in which creativity, innovation and a commitment to digital are the essentials”, he explains to this newspaper Nilton Navarro, Brand Manager of the job search platform. Grefusa was another of the advertisers who embarked on the project still in its infancy. “At the start, with no viewership numbers ahead and no clear examples of long-running competitions on Twitch, the Kings League seemed too adventurous. However, the game and tournament format, the idea, the freshness, the adaptation of the ‘beautiful sport’ to the environment streamer and its execution plan convinced us to embark on this project”, he tells this newspaper Rafa Gandía, Marketing Director of the company.

Advertising activation for Grefusa in the Kings League final held at the Camp Nou.

The representative of Grefusa underlines one of the characteristics that make the Kings League different. “The language on Twitch is different and the streamers interact more naturally with brands. Gone are those sponsorships in which a space was sponsored and only put the namenow ambassador and brand participate and interact for the benefit of the show itself”, explains Gandía, representative of an omnipresent brand in the championship with multiple activations.

The women’s Queens League and the children’s Prince Cup

The Kings League has exploited multiple touch points. InfoJobs, in addition to being the main sponsor of the competition, has collaborated in recruiting. “We published the job offer to be a player and there were more than 11,000 registered. In Queens, the process will be the same,” explains Navarro, citing the women’s soccer competition that starts on May 6 and to which must be added the Prince Cup, children’s tournament for children born between 2012 and 2014.

“The platforms and means by which sports are consumed vary, promoting the shorter duration of the content (even ‘direct’), and the bundling with different formats of the same. The challenge, in any case, with new initiatives such as the Kings League is to know if it is a ‘fashion’as has happened on numerous occasions in the past, or, on the contrary, it will consolidate in the next 2-3 seasons”, says Cantó, CEO of SPSG Consulting about the short and medium-term future of the tournament, which will depend on the momentum of advertisers.

Sponsorships are paying off well and the brands are delighted. It is the case of Cupra (Seat), which has given its name to the party pavilion. Surely, with the success achieved, they will raise the cache, although the influencers who have participated are delightedbecause this has generated permanent content for them”says university professor Ivan Cabeza.

Ibai Llanos and Gerard Piqué, promoters of the Kings League, during the final at the Camp Nou.

There will be Kings League in other countries next year

“Several countries are interested in having the competition. I predict that next year we will see the Kings League in several countries. It has already been confirmed in Brazil having Ronaldinho and Neymar in the project. So this is just getting started,” says Nilton Navarro, Brand Manager at InfoJobs, an advertiser who, like other industry leaders, has chosen to invest in new formats.

The first to understand that sports are not watertight departments were the Americans. “In baseball there are Savannah Bananas, a tournament that changes the rules, online from the Kings. It’s a show fun that has associated a whole consumption around it merchant the food, with its own broadcasting platforms. Just like the Harlem Globetrotters.”says Cabeza, to which Cantó adds examples such as those of the cricket, tennis or golf, which have launched more ephemeral formats to maintain attention. This new philosophy of the Kings is the one that has generated a regular consumption in all the days.

The Kings League, a competitor for LaLiga

“We came from the Alpha generation (born after 2010) onwards. The new idols are no longer the youtubers, but the streamers like Ibai, as reflected in our latest study of the ideal boss. We reach other generations with the presidents already consecrated (When or Casillas) and invited players who participate in the league, such as Ronaldinho, Capdevila, De la Red, Saviola, Sergio García, Ricardo López, Tamudo or Chicharito”emphasizes Navarro, from InfoJobs.

“The sponsorship of the Liga de Reis allowed us to reach a very wide audience, much larger than we anticipated at the time. We are part of a project that surprised everyone and that marked a milestone in terms of sports competitions. refers to a”, says Gandía, Grefusa’s Marketing Director.

“The Kings League is a competition with a new code, because it mixes entertainment with high-level sport, involving the public to decide how they want the competition to be “, says the head of the InfoJobs brand, referring to a barrier that is increasingly high in traditional football.

Although it stops Javier Tebas president of La Liga, os Reis is a “circus” as Professor Ivan Cabeza concluded, the competition between Ibai and Piqué “is a revolution in the way of entertaining, generating content and attractiveness in a sport that has more and more competitors . When you lose a certain audience, revenue goes down and sponsors will start to decide where they want to be.”


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