By Ginés Muñoz
Barcelona, Jul 14 (EFE).- Former Barça and Spain captain Gerard Piqué said Friday in an exclusive interview with EFE that 2024 will be a year of expansion for the Kings League — a revolutionary soccer tournament that has taken social media by storm — with new competitions in Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America, France, and Italy, and with a eye on Asia for the future.
“We are now focused on Kings League Americas for 2024, but haven’t ruled out taking it to Asia in the future. We see it as a very interesting potential market, where soccer already has a large following and further down the road it could be an attractive focus for the Kings League,” Piqué told EFE.
The amateur League brings together retired greats such as Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero, Iker Casillas and Ronaldinho, influencers, streamers and young people who join one of the teams in the championship after a screening process, racking up millions of views online.
The groundbreaking new sport combines traditional soccer with wild rules or “secret weapons” that change the outcome of games, such as double points for goals at the end of matches, cards coaches can use with upgrades for their team, and dice that when rolled can change the number of players on the field, among many others.
The league has more than 6 million followers on Tik Tok, 2 million on Instagram, 750,000 followers on Twitter and 2.7 million on Twitch. The final of the winter tournament, played at Camp Nou in Barcelona, welcomed 92,522 spectators, proving that the innovative project is here to stay.
QUESTION: Tell us more about the projects Kosmos has in store for the Kings League in 2024?
ANSWER: We are very happy to announce that starting in January 2024 Kings League Americas will be alive and you will enjoy it and I hope you like it. The competition will be held in Mexico and we will have 12 owners from different countries from LATAM and also Spanish-speaking North America, and the idea is they will have the same calendar as we have in Spain, and that at some point there will be an international competition where the best clubs of each league will qualify to try to compete to be the best club in the world.
Q: Where will the Kings League be based in America?
A: In January we will go to Mexico. That is where we will have our home, our pavilion, as we have here in Barcelona (the Cupra Arena). And the League will be called Kings League Americas. We will probably visit in October to announce absolutely everything, then we will host a ‘draft’ and we will start the season in January.
Q: Which countries will be featured in the competition?
A: The Kings League Americas will have presidents and owners from different countries. We want to involve as many countries as possible. There will also be a couple of teams from Central America and North America that speak Spanish. Then there will be a Colombian, Chilean, Argentinian club. We have five or six that are already confirmed, we can’t name them yet, but we are in the process and we are getting closer and closer to making it happen.
Q: Why have you decided to create a Kings League just for Brazil?
A: We wanted to differentiate the Kings League Americas from the Kings League in Brazil, where Neymar will have his club because they will be two different competitions. We wanted it that way basically because of the language, because we believe it is a key issue. We also believe that the market in this particular country gives us the opportunity to have a league of its own.
Q: Will the two leagues start simultaneously in January 2024?
A: Kings League Americas will start first. Creating a competition like this entails a lot of energy and time, not only in the elements that fans see, but also in creating a structure, offices, a team of 30 or 40 people and everything involved in the operation, adapting the pavilion for our needs in terms of production, etc. We have to dedicate time to all of this and we cannot launch five or six leagues at the same time, even though we would like to.
Q: When will you launch the Kings League in Europe?
A: Both France and Italy are targets for 2024. I don’t know if at the beginning or maybe in the second quarter, but that’s where we have the most advanced talks, and I would say there may be some last-minute surprises. We will probably leave the expansion in England and Germany for 2025.
Q: Is the end goal a Champions League or World Kings League of sorts?
A: That’s correct. Let’s see how we can fix it on the calendar and what we need to do to bring together the best clubs or teams from each league and have them compete to be the best team in the world.
Q: Will the new leagues be the same as the original Kings League or will there be novelties?
A: Yes, we want all the competitions to have the same calendar and we are also going to create a committee that will ensure that all the leagues are governed by the same rules.
In the end, what we want is for there to be an annual international competition where the best of each league will qualify. So, from the moment you put together several teams from each league in a new competition, you need the rules to be the same for all of them so that no team has an advantage.
Q: Will the new leagues also be created on the same business model based on sponsorship and open platforms?
A: We were born in the streamer world, we were born open to everyone and we want to continue that way. It is vital that we reach as many people as possible and that there is no barrier to access, economic or otherwise, so we will always try to preserve this. We will also maintain the profile of the presidents, which we believe has been part of our success: a mix of players, former players and streamers.
Q: Have you considered exporting the Kings League format to other sports in the near future?
A: It is a possibility, but first we want to develop the Kings League world well in soccer. The idea we have is to have eight to 10 leagues in different regions and that the best clubs from these leagues come together to play against each other in an international competition.
We think we will need at least two to three years to do this, and once we achieve what we have planned, we will set ourselves the objective of perhaps moving on to other sports, but right now we believe that there is still a lot to do. EFE