Entrepreneur, optimistic and self-made, for the good of Mexican women’s football. Her passion for sports and her will to deliver value with her proactive spirit have led Ivonne Valdivia to lead the Digital and Press department of one of the most relevant clubs, Rayadas de Monterrey. She also contributes by writing for La Chica del Banquillo while she keeps learning in sports management. You can follow Ivonne on @IvonneValNav.

In December 2016, Liga MX Femenil was born, how have you lived its evolution from the inside?

On December 5th, 2016, the creation of the new league Liga MX Femenil was announced. Neither clubs nor society were confident about its success, gender inequality mindset was very present. At the inaugural game in 2017, Pachuca gathered more than 3,000 spectators. To date, distances among clubs have been significantly reduced on and off the pitch. There is more competition, more attention from media, fans engaged and support from sponsors. More and more national TV channels and digital platforms broadcast live games. The product is more profitable, with fans that already know the name of the players. The growth has been huge within a very short time.

“The product is more profitable, with fans that already know the name of the players.”

In its foundation, it was an indispensable condition that clubs with men’s team also had a women’s team. How did they react?

The league was flexible with clubs that, because of economic reasons, couldn’t afford the creation of a competitive women’s team. It was the case of Puebla and Lobos BUAP. Within 2 years, the league has eventually grown to include 18 teams in the first division. Most of them have increasingly invested more considering the success of clubs as Pachuca or Club América. Certainly, few of them sized the potential and growth that the competition could achieve. Nowadays, there is a solid structure with a higher level of professionalism.

Around 40,000 people sold out El Volcán at Clausura 2018 finals between Tigres and Rayadas. What is the formula to attract so many fans?

Football in Monterrey is truly a big phenomenon. Fans really engaged with the final even though it was held on a Monday at 19:00 on the afternoon, being all the tickets sold out some days before. All the gates to the stadium were open and a very well job was done in terms of security. This Mexican passion for football together with the promotions for both clubs’ members, boosted the attendance. Endless tickets were sold for 50 pesos each (2.30€), besides the free invitations for club members. Many of them came from each club men’s team. Some days before the final, there were lines from 6:00 in the morning to get tickets. An authentic and beautiful revolution.

“We created “Previa de Rayadas”, where we tell personal stories from players.”

In your day to day, you lead the digital content and press area at Rayadas, Monterrey. What do you do to make Rayada’s fans loyal?

Generally, we work with the same strategy and principles of the club, either at a digital content and branding level. We aim to be consistent with club’s strategy even though we try to provide an own personality to the women’s team. We leverage synergies with the men’s team when publishing line-ups, verifying our players in social media, doing interviews, exclusive media days as well as formation to our players to improve their public appearances.  We also created “Previa de Rayadas”, where we tell personal stories from players related to the next game or current situation. We focus on connecting through exclusive and personal content, also when players get close to fans to celebrate, take pictures, sign autographs or just meeting after games. The little things make fans loyal, there is a positive family spirit where most of them already know everything about the players.

“Most teams have already played in men’s teams big stadiums.”

If you had to predict the future, how would you describe Liga MX Femenil 5 years from now?

We are in the good direction to become a league with a very powerful media impact. Most teams have already played in men’s teams big stadiums. We are on a good track to become a league where most players can be broadcasted live regardless of the local team. At a national team level, the talent is growing significantly and I can see México among the top national teams in few years. The cultural and gender barriers have been weakened over time for the good of the league. I wish these improvements can happen in less years, we can do it.

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