Subscribe to the Layer newsletter

Get the latest from the world of licensed IP in games. Subscribe to the Layer newsletter.

Fantastic! Thanks for signing up!
Oops! Something went wrong, please try again.
🎉 We’re excited to announce our partnership with Sanlo - making $200M available for developers to finance IP licensing! 🎉    Read more.
Brands and IP licensors
About Us
Log in

Ep 8: Pioneering the football metaverse, with FC Porto


Join us for this latest episode of the Licensing in Games podcast.

In this episode, we sat down with Nuno Menezes and Barbara Borges from European football giant FC Porto. We spoke about Porto's collaboration with metaverse project, Upland, and the opportunities they see for football clubs in games as the space continues to fragment.


Read the episode transcript here

Mitch: 0:05 Welcome to another episode of the Layer Licensing in Games Podcast. I’m Mitch. I am now beardless, as of yesterday. So, joined today by my CEO, our co-founder at Layer, Rachit. Welcome Rachit!

Rachit: 0:23 Good to be here. Nice to see you freshening up. Hopefully, you’re feeling nice and light and cool. I’m guessing it was due to being in Australia. You just had to get rid of the heat that is trapped in that beard.

Mitch: 0:37 No, it’s actually really cold here. And I actually feel like super naked without the beard. I feel strange. But anyway, I digress. Today, we’re very pleased to be speaking with Nuno Mendez — Great pronunciation — and Bárbara Borgess from the Portuguese Football Club, FC Porto. Nuno manages licensing of the FC Porto brand across multiple categories. And Bárbara is in Porto’s marketing team. So, I am really excited to learn more about what they’re doing in the space. They’re one of the more active football clubs in games and interactive globally. So, I am really excited to learn more about what FC Porto is doing. And we’ll also be looking at the collaboration they did in the metaverse game Upland last year. So, welcome Nuno and Bárbara!

Bárbara: 1:32 Thank you. Cool to be here. 

Nuno: 1:34 Hi, thank you for having us.

Mitch: 1:35 So first of all, I wanted to start by just talking about Porto and the deal you did with Upland, which is super exciting. I think you’re probably one of the more forward thinking, kind of innovative clubs when it comes to licensing in games, and interactive. So, you were the first European football club, I think, to enter the metaverse through the partnership with Upland. So can you just tell us a little bit about it and what you’re doing with Upland, exactly?

Nuno: 1:58 Yeah, so thank you for your compliment as well. It all started in Brand Licensing Europe. Now, it’s an event in London where people can meet up and create some network. And then, it all evolved naturally. So just one month after that we met Upland at the Brand Licensing in Europe, we released our fun token with [unclear 2:49] well. So we had a little bit experience on fun engagement and that kind of field. And then I think our ecosystem naturally is attracted to those things, because although we have 130 years old, almost, we’re young team. So we’re both under the age of 35. I won’t mentioned Bárbara’s age.

Mitch: 2:09 And you don’t look a day over 25, either of you.

Nuno: 2:12 So we’re always hungry for being updated and — I don’t know — pursuing these kind of projects. And one of the most important things that we’re doing with this project and with other projects, it’s the education thing. If you go on street right now and if you ask people about Metaverse or about Web3, there are still a lot of misconceptions. So it’s important at these first steps to work a lot in terms of education, to work a lot in terms of the concept. So what is Web3? What is an NFT? It is still a thing that people want to ask us. So I think that’s it.

Bárbara: 4:27 Yeah, I think, essentially, educating is a challenge that you have, if you’re a pioneer in something, especially such a worlds like Web3, where it’s so different. It all happens and evolves online. And not many fans are used to that. Because everything in our world is very physical — from either having the tickets to going to the match and being physically there. So part of our challenge and part of always chasing innovation is educating and the educational content. It’s saying: “This is what it is. We’re in this because of you.” Because it is essentially... With every partnership, it’s always about the fans and bringing them closer to the club. So it’s also important to us to make sure that they know what it is and they’re able to use it and enjoy it. So it’s not like, “Okay, we find this partnership. This is what we’re doing on the first [unclear 5:24].” It’s also... This is for you. You can use it, explore, learn more about it, or just essentially also a tool that facilitates them, getting to know this new and evolving world.

Mitch: 5:39 Yeah, I think that makes a ton of sense. And just for everyone listening, what exactly have you done in Upland? Is FC Porto the stadium? What is the [unclear 5:52] exactly?

Bárbara: 5:54 So being a first European club, there wasn’t a city built yet. So that was our starting point. And so we needed to get the city. Upland is an American company. Yes, it can go on Google and look at the maps. But they really wanted to know: “Okay, so this is Porto, the city. What about the region? What should we include? Until what point do you think it’ll become a different region, and so on?” So those were our first starting steps. We opened up the city. Then we decided to build the stadium. And after the stadium, we did the FC Porto tour. Like Nuno said, “It’s 130 years of history,” almost in September. And over time, we’ve had either different campuses, different training grounds. So we also did that tour to promote and show our history over time, and how we’ve evolved from a small office, a small pitch to what it is today.

Nuno: 6:58 Yeah, and one of the things that we worked a lot, is these kind of platforms doesn’t limit themselves in the digital world. So we needed to create experiences outside the b2b world. So we invited fans to come over to have experiences in the stadium, to the meet and greets, or VIP tickets, or other kinds of assets and things that money can’t buy. So these are the true assets for an NFT project. It is those kind of experience that a fan can’t have actually somewhere else.

Bárbara: 7:43 Yeah, and I think Upland got that really well. They were present in two matches, two of our biggest matches in the season against our two biggest rivals. Before every match we have... Well, in the US, it’s the concept of tailgating. Here, we call it our fun zone. So we have different experiences. We have the food. We have the drinks. We have a lot of things going on outside of the stadium. And Upland knew that. They understood really well that they needed to be physically present for fans to trust them online. So they were here. They had two activations, which was a 360 activations, where fans got to make videos, take pictures. They had giveaways. They gave away tickets. Because, essentially, it’s just like he said. Yes, it’s all online, but for you to get that trust and to really get the value in that, it’s football/soccer, whatever you want to call it, it’s still very physical and that built a bridge.

Rachit: 8:42 Yeah. And instead of barbecue and the American tailgates, you just had Bafana and soup. Was that the Portuguese style tailgate?

Bárbara: 8:55 Bafana is definitely present. Soup is very present. But we also have beer and other things and games.

Rachit: 9:02 Awesome! And how was the game against Sporting? Did Sporting win or did Porto win? Sporting is the team that I’ve adopted by the way.

Bárbara: 9:11 Really, we should have known that before coming on.

Nuno: 9:19 Mitch doesn’t understand that thing of sport. Though, he [Unclear 09:26].

Rachit: 9:26 We get his mistake or...

Bárbara: 9:28 Yeah! Have you met [unclear 9:29]? Because blue is better than green.

Rachit: 9:34 I was going to ask you how did you pick Upland, but you kind of went through there. It made sense for your fans. They really understood and wanted to work with. The  [Unclear 9:45], I guess, the high level a question I’m interested in is, last year and through the rise of Web3 in the metaverse, a lot of licensors and a lot of easy opportunities were to do a NFT drop, something much smaller. I guess, that’s much more straightforward. What led you down that path that we want to do something big? And it’s going to take a lot of effort. We’ll have to figure this out. There’s complexity there. What initially made you get into this space or make that decision of actually we want to build something big here and see how that goes?

Bárbara: 10:26 We understood early on that this was a new world that was here to stay. And, obviously, we knew it was going to be a challenge. And we knew we didn’t have comparison. We had small things that other clubs are doing, but not as deep as we were. So it was almost like, “Alright, let’s see how this goes. Let’s trust our instincts. Let’s learn a lot more about it. And make our decisions based on that.” We understood from our experience with Binance that things were evolving. And it’s a very fast-evolving world. And so we felt very comfortable. Our experience of Binance was very positive. And we thought, why stop here? There’s interest in this. We see interest from our fans, even if it is just an educational part of what is it. Explain to me: “What’s going on? What are you doing? What are you achieving? And how can I either benefit or participate from that?” And so we felt comfortable in a way that let’s try it. It’s very... In our DNA, we’re challengers. We like to do things first. And I like them well. So, at first, you’re walking on eggshells. And then, eventually, you take off the training wheels. And then we’re like, “Yeah, let’s... Whatever it is, we’ll learn more about it. We’ll provide new experiences and we’ll just innovate. It’s fresh air.”

Nuno: 11:56 Yeah, and in terms of licensing and partnerships, it’s important to trust your partners, right? So we know what is our field of expertise, which is playing football, which is even marketing activations. And we wanted also to outreach to to-be where our fans are going. Because as Bárbara mentioned earlier, it’s all about this. It’s all about bringing the fans closer to the club and the club closer to the fans. So, we need to be where our friends are. And we have our fan base. It’s really diverse. So we have a lot of young people. And we, ourselves, are enthusiasts of these things. So for us, the complexity didn’t scare us, but it created butterflies in our stomachs. We were like [unclear 13:03]. We were really excited.

Rachit: 13:05 That’s exciting to hear. And I think it’s interesting that you mentioned trust and relying on the partner to know what they do best. I guess, just quickly like, what was that ideation and creative process? Obviously, we’ve seen the output of the stadium in the city and all of that, but was that you asking Upland? What do you want to do here? And what will work best for your players? Or did you lead with, “I think we should build this”, or was it just a mix of both?

Bárbara: 13:36 I think, honestly, it was a mix of both. It was a mix of both. It was us telling them how we would proceed, what are the next steps, what do you need from us, what can we do. And it was them saying, “Okay, this is the next step, the usual next step. Does it make sense to you? Does it apply to you?” And I think we’ve just evolved from that. Like I said, we started building the city. And that was them telling us: “This is the first step. We have to build the city. How far can we go?” And then it was then us telling them, “Okay, trust us, we’re here. We live here. We know how this is. So, go up until this point.” And then we’d say, “What is the next step?” And then they say, “Okay, let’s build the stadium.” And then we’d say, “Okay, here’s everything that you need for building.” You know what I mean. So, it was very mutual. They know the best about what they do and we know the best about what we do. So, I think the process was very 50-50 in terms of what you need from us, and they tell us, and then vice versa.

Nuno: 14:42 Yeah! It was really intense because...

Bárbara: 14:45 It was very fast. 

Nuno: 14:46 Yeah. In the beginning, we were meeting every week. And also with WhatsApp, we were always communicating. And well, a big shout out to you, Bárbara. Because she was really important in this process and making things happen. So I think it was really great to have that ecosystem created. And we were speaking the same language. We were all into the same projects. Although, sometimes, in these projects, the goals may be different. Because well, our main goals were diversification of our assets, were the outreach, was to try to be where our fans are. And then, Upland had their goals as well to add another city to get into Europe. And, well, it’s all complimented.

Bárbara: 15:51 Which was big too! It was big for them to contact us. Do you want to be our gate to Europe? That was from a partner I achieved so much. And it’s so present in Metaverse and everything they’ve done. It was big for us to receive that and have that opportunity from them.

Nuno: 16:12 Yeah, sure. 

Rachit: 16:13 It sounds really healthy, I think. It’s that level of trust they have. Upland has this mechanical cities. It’s a real world simulation, almost. You need those kind of core elements. And off the back of that, you’re then able to influence that with what works for your fans and your audience. So I guess now that it’s out there, it’s happened. Are you able to talk about what the results have been or any high-level learnings in terms of output?

Bárbara: 16:40 That’s interesting. Because at first, they send us all these reports. And our first question was, “Is it good? Is this bad?” We have nothing to compare. We’ve never done this before. Are these numbers fine? Should we cry about it? Should we laugh and celebrate? And they’re like, “No, these are really awesome. These are really good.” Because for us, 5 or 5,000, we have nothing to compare it to. I think that’s part of the being the first to do it. You’re setting standards and setting the bar on thing. Again, we have to trust them. And they’re like, “No, this is doing well. These are good numbers, especially coming from a club that has never done this before and has no experience, these are good.” So I think overall, we were a little bit more relaxed. It was motivational for us to keep going and keep the other thing. 

Nuno: 17:33 Yeah. And the results are so good that we are on a podcast speaking about it.

Rachit: 17:40 That’s the ultimate positive sign of any licensing collaboration. Does it turn into a podcast?

Bárbara: 17:48 Right!

Rachit: 17:48 Which is being broadcast live to 100,000 people. Cool. I wanted to shift gears a little bit. Stop talking about the metaverse. We’ll talk about it little bit, but more so about like the landscape for sporting teams in games. And then interactive, I think. When I first started working at Layer, I kind of looked at the space, and me as someone who played FIFA and... I just looked at it as those were sports games. There wasn’t really any more room. But I guess as you look more into it, the space has really fragmented quite substantially over the last 10 years, things like mobile gaming and Web3, like we just spoke about. And even in the case of football, more specifically, now you have FIFA, the EA franchise, which is coming to an end. So it seems like there’s a lot more opportunities for sporting teams, for athletes to kind of extend the reach of their brand in games right now. Is that something that you agree with?

Nuno: 19:05 Yeah, sure. So it’s like everything else in society. Let’s even think about what we are doing here. 30 years ago, this wouldn’t be possible. We needed to be on a radio station with all these technologies. So we just had one option to make it. Now, we have multiple options. We could be at our phones. We could be... We’re in three different countries making this happening. So, yes, the fragmentation I think is good, because it creates more opportunities, it creates more assets, more platforms, more spaces for concepts to evolve, and for people to be in. So, yeah.

Bárbara: 19:54 And I think in terms of partnerships for the club, as long as they make sense for the club, then you have endless opportunities. And it’s a perfect gateway for you to get to more people. Well, we’ve seen through this whole Web3 experiences that you’re able to reach a lot of other people. Before, we didn’t have the concept that we had a lot of fans in Turkey, for example. And Web3 taught that. And so through these partnerships, you’re getting a lot more people and a lot more fans. And you’re putting your club out there and showing them everything you’ve achieved and showcasing your history. So I think, regardless whether it be a mobile game, whether it be EA Sports, whether it be whatever, it opened up a lot. And I think it’s evolving quite fast.

Rachit: 20:54 That’s super interesting. So those fans in Turkey, were they already fans and you just reached them through this project with Upland, or are they new fans now that you’ve reached as a result of doing the partnership in Web3?

Bárbara: 21:08 What we noticed was they were fans. They knew about the club and had a positive image about the club. Which is this small feed that you need that once you have the correct partnership, once you get to the right places, it’s just that click. We’re like, “Okay, I knew about them. They were good. I like them. And now, they’re doing this. This is interesting.” And so subconsciously, you’re creating that loyalty already to perhaps other clubs within the same country that do not have these partnerships. Because they already have that. We noticed they have that positive inkling. And now with this partnership that also interests them, that’s added points. So in their mind, subconsciously, their focus is on [unclear 21:56]

Nuno: 21:56 Yeah. And if you think about this, we’re a team that almost always at the Champions League. So we’re always exposed to different countries. And if you think about players, we had some players that played here and then went there. So it’s easy. Because we always have great players. So it’s easy for them to have a positive thought about us. So, yeah.

Bárbara: 22:24 Wave your flag!

Mitch: 22:26 Yeah, it makes a ton of sense. Look, I mean, you can’t argue with it. Thank you, I was [unclear 22:31] all those years ago.

Nuno: 22:34 Yeah, sure. 

Mitch: 22:37 But beyond just Web3 and kind of fan experiences, how are you thinking about the space of gaming more broadly? Are you looking for more opportunities in mobile gaming, for example? What’s your outlook on the space?

Nuno: 22:53 As Bárbara mentioned, as long as it makes sense to us, as long as it respects our identity, we have some boundaries that we realize. We have our identity. It’s not boundaries. Yeah, it’s the wrong word. But we know who we are. And we know who we’re not. So yeah, we’re always looking for a new opportunities, because as very young team, we’re always... We want to be everywhere. But we know that the club spice. We know our philosophy. We know that there are some fields that make more sense for us and fits better with our identity then others. 

Bárbara: 23:37 And also with our credibility, we want to be everywhere doing everything. It can be small, but it could be good. And as long as it makes sense... Because the credibility and our other partners credibility cycle, they will get there everywhere, either good or bad. They’re there! That’s not us. We want to do it. We want to do it well. And we want to be a little bit present everywhere so that we can get to... Our fans are all different... You have the guy who comes to the games in a suit. We have the lady that’s all tied up and down. So I think it’s important for us to have a little bit of what everybody likes, but it’s important for us to do it well. And it has to make sense. Because now, we don’t want to saturate anything or anyone.

Nuno: 24:29 Yeah. And then, it’s also important to scale the project. Because sometimes, it is important to evaluate. There are some partnerships that are at the beginning. So, we need to grow with the partner. We need to believe in the project. So, smaller projects don’t scare us. But they have to make sense. It needs to respect the way we think, the way we breathe, they need to respect the connection that we have with our fans that still do my thing.

Rachit: 25:05 Yeah! That makes sense. I think that’s a really good way to approach the space is to always be open to the opportunity. But make sure that you stay true to your brand, your values, and your identity. If you look at the space of games, and interactive, and sports clubs, maybe not just football, but across all sports, what are some of the opportunities that you see emerging at the moment and over the next few years?

Nuno: 25:36 Yeah! So I think there’s a lot of focus on collectibles. Whether it is physical collectible, whether it is digital collectible, or this neat thing, the [Unclear 25:55] collectible. So, there seems to be a lot around this. And we think that this is an area to explore, for sure. And there’s always some gamification around this new concept. So I think, those are the areas to explore right now in the present. But in the future, as this is so fast paced, we don’t know. Let’s imagine! In 10 years, what will be trending? We didn’t have an idea. That’s why we need to be always aware. That’s why we need to be everywhere. Where are our fans? What are we doing? And we should think about ourselves as individuals, what are we doing? Where are we? And how are we connecting with games and things? So, yeah! I think, we need to be aware of these things. But collectibles are a thing for sure.

Rachit: 26:58 Interesting that you mentioned collectibles. And then also, I guess, in the previous question, I think you said, you know, we’re open to doing things that are small, as long as it make sense for our fans. I think that’s the core element, making sure that it aligns with your identity and the fan and community experiences. It is beneficial. I was going to follow that and ask about... I guess, what we’ve seen as a trend emerging not only mobile games, but games in general is... I think that whole model has changed that. Previously, if you’re thinking about especially football, it was generally a football game where the licensing would take place, or there would be a game built around an IP. Whereas I think over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rise of-in the games industry is called- Live ops, which are live events in existing games. And, sometimes they’re not even necessarily like thematic fits that you would expect, I think during the World Cup, last year, I think in Call of Duty warzone. There were Messi, Pogba, Dima, and all in there. I think, maybe others as well. So, I’m curious to get your thoughts on that. Because they’re little harder to assess from... Does it fit identity? It’s not something that traditionally would have made sense. And as you just said, we don’t know what will make sense in in 10 years from now. But I think these smaller collaborations were tapping into an audience that probably overlaps already with your fans. It seems like a big opportunity for sporting teams. But it’s still largely untapped. It seems to be something that stands out, when it happens. Are you seeing more of that? Do you think that will continue to be the way that this happens, where you will end up taking your brand and your club into all manner of other types of opportunities and experiences that are necessarily aligned with football? Is that how you think the space will play out?

Bárbara: 29:00 I think, this space is helping in making the transition from football just being leisure, something that you come to once a week to win lifestyle and a whole experience, a constant presence. Not only a web 3, but gamification and so on in the later years now... It’s closing the gap in a Sunday match that father and son come to...Either the whole family is coming because now you perhaps have a female mascot that appeals to the little girls. And it comes up with the whole experience. I think, the gamification just allows your brand to get out there a lot more. And even like you said, if it doesn’t really... It might seem like it doesn’t make sense. Call of Duty. World Cup. It’s 2 different worlds a little bit. But you have thousands, if not millions of people that play Call of Duty and football. So, it almost goes back to the thing that I said about our Turkish fans. You can either appeal to the fan that’s not quite a fan by having a positive image of your club, and that small... That seems like a small partnership. It makes it tweak, and you acquire a new fan. Or you can also have the fan that’s already fan. Now it’s like, Wow! This is cool. My club, my color, this is my brand! We’re present everywhere. It makes them proud. So, I think gamification helped me in facilitating and losing the gap from something that’s leisure-oriented and making clubs more lifestyle-oriented, in a way.

Rachit: 30:49 Yeah, I think that makes sense. And game’s market or the audience is so big now that I think it really does align with that. I think, maybe 20 years ago, you couldn’t necessarily use games as a channel to reach a broad market audience. And it wouldn’t make sense as a route for that lifestyle element of the brand. But now that you’ve got billions of players around the world. I think it is important to be there. If you’re going to try and have your brand out there in a way that people can attach identity and personality to it. So that’s really fascinating. I think, my last follow-up question is, when you do think about all those different types of places that you can be in games, outside one of the fans cinco, are there enough fans here for this to overlap? Are there any ways that you particularly think you should be thinking about how to take advantage of this spread of opportunities? And then, secondly, are there any criteria that make you say, Okay! Let’s do that. But let’s not do that. Is it all fan? Is it just a gut feel and demographic overlap? Or are there certain criteria used to assess? Well, let’s go after those ones.

Bárbara: 32:07 I think, our main criteria is our identity. We match the 4 pillars that we believe in. Does it represent us? Because when you partner with somebody, that means that you got to have something in common, whether it be your beliefs, how you work, or what you’ve achieved? And so the first criteria really is does it make sense in terms of who they are and who we are. And a lot of the times, if it’s a challenging brand, if it’s a brand that likes to evolve, if it’s a brand that looks at fear with caution, but doesn’t let it stop them... I think, if they’re risk takers, they usually match with us. And then, it’s the second aspect. If you do go forward with this, will the fans appreciate it? Do you think it’s something that betters their lives? Do you think it’s something that adds on to...? Either it could be their everyday routine? Or it could be the ones in a while, but does it help them? Does it benefit them in some way? And then, you will from there. Then, you go from either business perspective, branding, marketing, and so on. But essentially, I think our main great theory is identity. Who they are? Who we are. And then, okay, if we do go forward with this, what about our fans? Because something that we say a lot of the times here is, without the fans, clubs are nothing! Regardless of who you are, what sport it is. If you don’t have anybody supporting you... You were here for them, essentially! The club has grown. And it’s not just about,” Yeah, you’ve gone to the pitch, and you win, and you become the biggest...” Okay! But you have, in our case, it’s 50,000 people that fill up the stadium. There are 11 players on the pitch. And then, you really... We’re the 12th player almost cheering them on. And so, we want to do is give back, be present and help them. And like I said, first step is identity. It doesn’t make sense for either party. And then, really the limiting line is, does it make sense for a fan?

Nuno: 34:23 Yeah! And in terms of strategy, there’s always a strategy behind everything. Yes. There’s demographic aspect of things. We want to be everywhere for sure. As Bárbara mentioned, as long as it makes sense... Because we have to think about the future. We have to respect all kinds of funds that we have. We have to think what are kids doing right now? How can we be where kids are? If you think of a brand in terms of a brand perspective 30 years ago, you have to limit yourself to billboards and to sponsoring the jerseys. Now, we have the digital space. We have a whole new world where we can explore partnerships where we can explore collaborations. So, yes! I think, it’s a natural evolution. If you think about cartoons, you can see a lot of course between the heroes. There are now in different cartoons there. The Superman and the Spider Man, they’re always in different fields. And they are also participating in different kinds of broadcasts and different networks. So, yes! Our players are heroes in terms of a fan perspective. So, it makes sense that they’re heroes are in their games as well. So, this mishmash thing, it makes sense. Yeah.

Rachit: 36:06 It makes some sense to be across multiple areas in gaming. I think you’ve got... I think Bárbara mentioned identity and then caring about bounds are the 2 main pillars that you assess things on. And then, you’ve got the ability to then segment that out. You’ve got fans that are older and loves the club for so long. And they’ll be playing certain games, but then I think football is such a lifelong passion that if you don’t, think about where are the kids right now that might like the club are. If you’re not there, it’s very hard to get them later. So if you can be in front of them... Now, that makes a lot of sense as well. So, you have to think about all the types of fans, and all the places they might be. I think, it is a really strong wanting to take into thinking about the games market.

Bárbara: 36:54 Absolutely! And it’s starting earlier on now. You go out to dinner. You go to a restaurant. And there’s a 3 -year-old already with the phone in front of them. So, the early bird gets the worm. And we want to be that early bird, as long as it makes sense for us.

Nuno: 37:09 Yea! Yes, if you think this is also a generation gap. So, our grandparents grew up without technology or with little technology. Our parents grew up having contact with computers as an adult. We grew up with technology as kids, but mostly as teenagers. My kids are growing up with technology right now. And we have to understand how do we want to relate with that space. How do we want to be there? And how can we add value to this because it’s important to add value to this space as well.

Mitch: 38:01 I think what you’re trying to say is... This won’t be the inside scoop for our audience is that there’s a FC Porto Roblox experience coming. No! It makes so much sense right. When I was a kid and I love sport. The only touchpoint that you got to the club, how you chose your club for your sport was like your parents. You put it on TV, and you just see the players. And you’re like, “I like this club.” For whatever reason, you dad sits down and watch the game with you. And that’s now my team. Now, I feel like there is this huge opportunity for sporting teams. There’s this new medium which is games. As you said Bárbara, these kids as young as 3 are on the iPad at the restaurant. And that’s how you can reach these fans. It is through new medium. As this form of entertainment games becomes the biggest form of entertainment, do you just continue to see more and more clubs? Again, I’m gonna use some flattery here. You’re the innovators in the space. But do you see more and more clubs sought to follow you and start to tap into this medium as a way of reaching new fans?

Bárbara: 39:30 Yeah! There was a squad that we noticed we would sign a partnership, and then month after they’d sign a partnership. And then they’d sign a partnership and then month... And we started looking at each other. Okay! We need the first one but [Unclear 39:53] the first one that’s for you to be a trendsetter. And so, it was quite cool for us. We’re small in terms of population. We’re a small country. We’re a club that comes from the second populated city in Portugal. And it was quite cool for us to see. Okay! We’re physically small, but we’re so big in terms of our presence. This is what’s happening. And we’ve noticed another thing. It is just funny for us to see in terms of the generational [Unclear 40:23] that you mentioned. Now, years ago, you’d have family teams. So whatever the dad or uncle or whatever was, and the kids would be... Now, it’s not like that. Now you see a lot more kids and parents arguing about who’s the best. Again, from such a young age, jerks close to different things, and they have more educational content in terms of who’s winning, who’s doing what, what players are big, and what players are the stars. And so it’s very interesting. And gamification is doing that. I do think that gamification, this whole world will be successful if it does not lose completely the physical aspects.

Nuno: 41:14 Yeah! I totally agree.

Bárbara: 41:16 I think that’s what gives... I think, you have the first steps. So, before it used to be once a week, you’ve got to come to the game with friends, family, whatever else, and that was it. Then, it turns into the lifestyle. So, now the brand is there. It’s in your life. You see it. You can either relate to it more or so on. Then, now it’s into the digital world. And what we see with that digital world is you get the value in the digital if you have a physical, whether it be a Metaverse, and you have a legit, and you get assigned a jersey, you can VIP tickets, you get to come to the game. It’s a lot of the new trends that we’re seeing. We don’t think because... I should have mentioned it before, it’s such a lifelong passion. And it’s something that’s so prevalent. And in so many ways, a lot of people feel represented by their clubs. It will only reach its maximum potential if it does not fully lose its physical aspect. Yes! 90% can be online, iPads, whatever form of hardware, it may be. As long as it doesn’t lose that you are cheering for your team, scoring, you are getting the goosebumps, I feel. That will be the only thing I think that will carry this on further. 

Nuno: 42:46 Yeah. And the thing is... I think, we all agree on this. Digital and physical are not competing. They’re partners. So, this new space, this new partnership between physical world and digital world, this is where things are going to thrive. This is where things are going to grow. It’s not moving everything to the digital area. It’s understanding how to build bridges between those 2 worlds. Yeah! I totally a great Bárbara. Well done!

Rachit: 43:23 No! It’s actually like a fantastic point. Because I am a big sports fan. Even if I think about an NFT, would I be interested in buying a collectible from one of my favorite teams? Sure! But there isn’t anything that really replaces the feeling of buying a play as jersey and having that sense of pride in your club or going [Unclear 43:47]

Bárbara: 43:46 History with you...

Rachit: 43:49 Exactly! I look back at some of the jerseys in my cupboard. And I’m like, “Oh, man! That was either the dumbest thing I ever have.” I’m so proud that I supported that club at that moment. Because what an awesome player that person turns out to be. So, you’re absolutely right. One last thing, I think about like the generational thing. It’s a bit of a curveball. I think about my nephew who plays a lot of soccer games. And they’re fantasy games where you basically create a team that’s just made up of individual players. Right. And do you feel that there’s some risk, there might there be a lack of brand loyalty where if someone grows up liking... He loves Neymar. He doesn’t like Messi. Wherever Neymar goes, he’s probably going to become a fan of that team. Do you see that as a challenge? And I guess, like as a club, how do you deal with that and make sure that you keep that fan?

Bárbara: 45:00 That’s interesting. I mentioned that. Because I think we’re going through it right now. We have a striker. He’s from Iran. And once we sign him and we saw his followers showed up, followers, engagement, social media comments, whatever it may be. Now the question is, once he leaves, what will happen to those fans? Will they follow him? How do we keep them? And I think that if your strategy is well aligned, you’ll able to keep them. Because it works hand-in-hand. So, we might have a club that can help you become more loyal to a player, which you’ve seen happen previously. You can have a player that you might not have such a positive view of him. And then he signs for a club that you might have some empathy, and that helps. And it can be vice versa. I think, it’s almost like a give and take, to be honest. It can happen. You can keep those fans. They can have some... Even though, they might be completely loyal to the player itself. But they will have empathy for you, want to follow up, and still be interested in whatever it may be. It can be both. It can have the risk of that player leaves and that player goes to another team. Okay! That’s it. I’m just following him. You’ll try to do the best you can in terms of respecting their interests, and respecting really what you think will attract them. And try to keep that connection alive. I’m sure that once this player leave... Hopefully, years and years from now, once he leaves, you’ll be able to keep most of it. Because we have a very good relationship with that player. And it was a player that even though there were a lot of cultural differences, from countries and even the club itself, it’s very well-integrated. An awesome person, in general, very nice. And I think that also has a big impact. It’s a risk that he can take. You just have to try to grow it and just try to feed it. And try to try to grow it as best as you can. And then, hope for the best.

Nuno: 47:31 Yeah. And in terms of legal gray areas, it’s all about the way you connect with players As Bárbara mentioned, we have an ecosystem here that thrives, a family feeling and belonging. So, we have that between us and our players, if you think about most of our players that are left here, they stay connected with us forever. So our legends are really connected to us. And this is about philosophy. This is about identity as well. If you think about that we’re growing in a more individual society and there are a lot of people that say, “Oh, okay! I go to work not to make friends but to become successful. Here, we don’t have that. Because I think the best work that we do, it’s to work when we do together. We work in different areas. But we cooperate, and then the work becomes bigger than us. And the club is bigger than us. And the space that the club is creating, and the relationship between the club and the player is key to overcome those gray areas and those definitions in terms of collaboration in terms of funds in terms of that gray space. So, this is why FC Porto is so special. And this is why we’re so proud of working here. Well, I grew up hoping to play for FC Porto. So, then I understood

Bárbara: 49:24 Now, you sit behind the computer.

Nuno: 49:25 Yeah! 

Bárbara: 49:26 That works out!

Nuno: 49:27 It was better even for the club. I am not that good player. Yeah! I found a different way to cooperate. There’s always space for everyone to cooperate for the fans to be fans, for us to be workers, for the players to be players. But the club, it’s all that and beyond. 

Rachit: 49:49 Yeah! You’ll always be the 12th man. 

Nuno: 49:55 Yes. And if the coach asks, I’m ready. 

Bárbara: 49:58 You’re ready!

Rachit: 50:01 I think that’s a really beautiful sentiment to try and wrap things up on even the word club. I don’t know the proper definition. But there are so many relationships that make the whole thing come together. It’s nothing without players.  It’s nothing without fans. It is nothing without the teams making it all happen. So, everything that you’re doing in this space seems to be a way to enrich and engage the whole community, regardless of who they are. So, it’s been really interesting hearing about how you’re doing. And it sounds as if from what Bárbara says, there are few people following in your footsteps, and imitation is the highest form of flattery. So for any licensee out there that want to know what to do next, just watch what FC Porto does. You don’t have to come up with anything original. You can just follow along and they’ll get it right.

Bárbara: 50:51 Absolutely! 

Nuno: 50:52 Yes! And we always have open doors to hear everyone’s project as well. So, every person that has an idea, it has an open door here to expose the idea and we can grow ideas together.

Rachit: 51:08 Yeah! Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on, guys. I really look forward to seeing what comes next. And we’ll see you up in Porta for [Unclear 51:20] very soon. 

Nuno: 51:21 Yeah!

Bárbara: 51:23 I hope so. Thank you, guys for having us.

Nuno: 51:25 Thank you.

Mitch: 51:26 Thanks so much. Thank you!

Get the latest from the world of licensed IP in games.
Subscribe to the Layer newsletter.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.