Real Betis Balompié, one of the most iconic and beloved football clubs in Spain, has been expanding its academy projects globally, with 22 international projects already under its belt, including the recently opened academy in Querétaro, Mexico. We spoke to Nacho Pinilla, Head of Global Sports Projects at Real Betis to learn more about the club’s academy model, their expansion strategy, and how they measure success.
“The most important thing is that all parents and children who are part of each project are happy with the level of training and the experiences they live in our academies”
Real Betis’ international team prioritizes markets with the highest potential for growth, while also keeping an open mind to new opportunities that may arise. According to Nacho, “at the beginning of each season, the Real Betis international team establishes priority markets. Of course, where we place most emphasis when trying to open new Betis Academy projects is in these markets, but the reality is that opportunities arise around the world and we do not close ourselves to anything.”
Choosing the right local partners is crucial in ensuring the success of each project. “It is one of the most difficult jobs because, at the end of the day, the partner is responsible for the Real Betis brand in that market. We select very carefully who we work with and of course, we have an almost daily relationship with them in order to develop the project in the best possible way,” Nacho explains.
One of the main distinctive elements of the Real Betis Academy model is the club’s values, which are deeply ingrained in the training methodology. “We believe to be the most loved club in Spain and that is perceived internationally. We are also very committed to sustainability issues through our Forever Green project, and that also helps when it comes to positioning our brand. And of course, the way we work and the training methodology of our club, which is consolidated as one of the best youth academies in the whole continent.”
Nacho adds that success is measured not only by the quality of training but also by the happiness of parents and children who are part of each project. “Of course, the most important thing is that all parents and children who are part of each project are happy with the level of training and the experiences they live in our academies. It also influences the number of activations that we do in each place.”
Opening new academies is a key element of Real Betis’ commercial strategy, helping the club explore new markets, position its brand, and provide new opportunities for boys and girls around the world.
This article features in the latest edition of WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practises from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.