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La Liga North America Adds Panini to $12M Partnerships Portfolio

  • Panini will be the presenting partner for the eLaLiga U.S. Challenge.
  • It's the sports collectibles publisher’s first-ever gaming deal with a sports league.
Real Madrid defender Ferland Mendy kicks the ball ahead of Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

La Liga’s footprint in North America is getting bigger.

The Spanish soccer league has tapped Panini America as the presenting partner for the third edition of the eLaLiga U.S. Challenge. It’s the sports collectibles publisher’s first gaming partnership with a sports league.

The deal is the latest partnership for La Liga North America, which the league tells Front Office Sports generates $12 million in regional sponsorship per season for La Liga — more than any other region in the world.

“Anybody on the brand side that either wants to reach an audience through soccer or is interested in the sport, knows that La Liga is here in the territory, is very active, and has a suite of products that would be easily tailored to reach their objectives,” La Liga North America CEO Boris Gartner told FOS. “We’ve done a lot of education, but then also a lot of execution. And I think that we’ve proven our value at this point.”

“There’s just lots of synergies in terms of audience and demographic,” added Panini America’s VP of marketing and digital Jason Howarth.

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This esports competition is just the latest initiative La Liga North America — a joint venture between Spain’s top-flight soccer league and Relevent Sports Group — has utilized in order to target its coveted demographic: Gen-Z U.S. Hispanics.

Locking in that key market will allow the league’s outpost operation to keep building on its so-far successful revenue-generating operation.

“Nothing we do is rinse and repeat,” says La Liga North America head of partnerships Patrick Lowe. “It’s very much solution-based partnerships.”

Given soccer’s consistently stellar youth participation, the success of the U.S. women’s national team, and — perhaps most importantly — the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup that will take place in North America, La Liga sees a massive opportunity to continue building its following in the States.

“There’s going to be a lot of eyes on the sport in general and how the U.S. fanbase starts to really engage in a deeper way with it … and not just when the big tentpole events happen,” said Gartner.

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