Bruna Botelho is the CEO and Founder at StadiumGo! Invest. A pioneering 360° platform working with entertainment, finances and education.
With great experience in the sports industry, working with football clubs, marketing agencies and now as founder at StadiumGo!, Bruna has a lot to share and inspire women and young leaders in the industry.
Enjoy this great interview where Bruna shares a lot about her career, how she is applying gamification to Stadium Go!, new projects and some great tips to help you find your career path in the sports industry.
Thanks for joining us, Bruna!
Bruna, can you share with our audience a bit of your professional and academic experience?
My academic background was raised at Anhembi Morumbi University, where I had my bachelor's in Journalism, but, most of all, my knowledge was made in a self-taught mode. It was always a mix of curiosity, restlessness, and professional experiences added to approaches with mentors who made me and still make a lot of difference in my journey.
In order to compose my cultural assets and expertise, I became an assiduous reader and an active participant in masters classes and courses, with contents related to Marketing, Business, Finance, Licensed Products, Sports Law, Football and Sports Management, Sponsorship Strategy, Sports Strategic Management — the field which I am passionated by and where I have built a career.
I started to work with sports as a freelancer for Five Agency of the five-time champion soccer player Edmilson Moraes and, in a short time, I became the manager of its marketing and new business departments.
FIVE was a small, family-run agency; but with an inspiring mission of strengthening the sports market and activating and attracting sponsorships and partnerships for third sector entities, as our main clients were soccer players in training contracts, third sector institutions, and some emerging sports entities such as Leagues and Confederations and E-Sports Federations.
After FIVE, I was invited to work at Aliança Atlética Futebol Clube, founded and formerly chaired by Dr. Fábio Tadeu Serrão, current General Secretary of the Civil House of the Government of Rio de Janeiro, a great friend, personal mentor, and legal advisor of my current StadiumGO! company. Working at Aliança was a great school!
There, I learned about the backstage, challenges, and peculiarities of soccer, as a business and sports management. At the club, I worked as Marketing Director, where I created strategies for attracting investments, partnerships, communication, and products. One of the projects I am most proud of, at the club, was the sponsorship of Aliança in a sports project, conducted by the Sports Secretary of the city of Salto, in the countryside of São Paulo, where approximately 800 young people started playing sports for free and 27, of these, became professional players in soccer, participating in junior cups from São Paulo, wearing the Aliança shirt. It was also during this time that we launched the #ALIANÇACONTRAPEDOFILIA (#ALIANÇAAGAINGPEDOPHILIA) campaign to increase their voice in the community, as well as social and psychological support to young people who were sexually abused by professionally transvestite criminals as “scouts”. The hard reality, under-discussed, but implicit in the history of our soccer.
In search of learning more about the market and management and increasing my networking, in 2018, I founded the agency #EASEMarketing. The aim of this company is to help entrepreneurs, clubs, and brands to face challenges that go beyond communication and sales, but which are rooted in strategic business management and planning. We are able to drive brands to success by reducing their costs or investment fundraising needs from thousands of dollars to thousands. We helped to create new products and focus on those that, even though, didn’t look so “pretty”. These were the ones that easily joined the market and costed less for production and operation. We also strengthened the network of partnerships in contracts between companies, by exchanging services and increasing business generation and positioning for both brands.
As a successful case of pioneering sports, EASE was the agency responsible for the business, brand, marketing, and commercial plan of the first rally and e-sports team that carried the brand of a soccer club in the country, the “Corinthians Rally Team”, better known as #rallytimão. At this time, still running EASE and developing the StadiumGO! The project, I also became a partner in a financial consulting and payment solutions company called Only UP.
Diving at StadiumGO! Sports Invest — How did this idea come to life? What do you intend to achieve?
StadiumGO! was born at the time when I directed the marketing department of Aliança Atlética Futebol Clube. During my work at the club, I was able to have a close gaze on the financial difficulties that the basic sport and the supersport go through when they do not capture values of necessary investments to guarantee their annual operations. With the desire to solve this, I was curious about the legal sport's rules and, whenever possible, I was fed by the knowledge of Dr. Fábio and his almost unique way of overcoming the challenges of running a “B series” club by continuously seeking to innovate in management of his business. Dr. Fábio’s resilience and his inventive mind stimulated and encouraged me to entrepreneurship and led me to scribble the first lines of StadiumGO!.
Being in that environment, helped me to develop metrics that could solve one of the most latent challenges in national sport: the lack of financial health of clubs. So that, I personalized services for these companies to obtain credit that would relate to their realities, based on periods of inefficiency cash flow and business models.
I was successful in the development of the financial solution adapted to the sport within a platform and support from Dr. Fábio in the elaboration of the paths to legalize the solution I was proposing.
Nowadays, StadiumGO! work as a consultancy for clubs to obtain investments, loans, and anticipation of receivables and all of that without paying interest!
And also the fan has gained space and exclusive services. They finally have a voice and action in the sports economy. Being able to become a sports investor and obtain participation in the profits of the club’s revenues.
These services are not limited only to soccer as a sport and not only to fans as investors. Any team sport that is structurally protected and regulated with confederations of its segment, can obtain our benefits, and in addition to the fan, the investment opportunities are also open to the investing public in general and brands as well.
Our goal: We are the first platform in the world to create such a robust, safe and personalized solution for the clubs to obtain working capital and the public to invest money in a world-famous market and are also considered the third with the most cash flow in the world. Our mission, as a company, is to make it increasingly democratic and safe to invest in sport and at global levels.
How are you applying gamification to StadiumGO! application?
Our application is available for download in a game fantasy version to introduce and prepare the public in our investment mechanics for when the official launch of the financial platform is made.
After the launch, we will continue with gamified campaigns and services to capture bonuses and exclusive benefits for our investing clients, increasing their engagement with the clubs and athletes, according to the monitors on the platform.
Can you give more details about “The New Investor Group” — “The New Investor Group?
We are pioneers, worldwide, by transforming the public into an investor in sports. The New Investor Group is exactly that, the opening of a new democratic market for investment, which brings a new group of investors to the fore. And this group is made up of sports enthusiasts or lovers, or of brands that have already sponsored sports, as well as investors and funds from the traditional financial market that see our model as a new opportunity to diversify their investment portfolios.
To help the New Investor Group we are building, we have created a member channel called “Trader Clube SG”, which is open to the public. So that, even those who have not yet invested in any sport, club or athlete, at StadiumGO!, will be able to sign up and receive information about how sports investment happens, together with statistics, risk x return ratio, guarantees, contractual and technological risks and security. Fundamental and important information for didactics and to give the necessary tools to everyone who is curious and wants to enter the sports investment market with us.
StadiumGO! received a certificate in Quality in Business from the International Trade Council. How important is it for StadiumGO!?
The International Trade Council is an association that is present in more than 176 countries. They analyze the capacity and responsibility of commercial, accounting, human, social and environmental management of companies that are already global or have services and products to become international. Like StadiumGO!, it is a platform for financial innovation, with capacity and international coverage, and serves a diverse number of sports and audiences. Being a partner with Quality In Business is super important for us, as it shows that we are on the right path, with the concerns and considerations that are appropriate to our team, partners, consumers, and the market itself.
What are the main challenges for you to develop a platform that combines finance and sports?
In my case, it was the lack of references in the market.
When you open a business and there are competitors with experience and company time, you
you can learn from their mistakes and assumptions, and also, you can take advantage of the branding of these companies to increasingly provoke the trend of the product they share in the market.
At StadiumGO!, I work with pioneering spirit, there is no close reference. So, this was the first challenge, thinking about everything from scratch. Create and innovate for real!
Then, the big challenge was to adapt my solution to the largest number of sports possible to be a scalable, concrete solution and a lasting company. Along with the challenge of fine-tuning and financial and sporting legal framework, so that everything we develop, as a company, respects the laws of the civil, sporting code and regulations of global sporting confederations and federations.
We are now facing the challenge of creating the market trend. Communicate to the public in a more assertive and simple way our solution in order to help sports entities to navigate with us in our reality of acquiring financial credit that will help them breathe more easily in their accounts and also come up with financial plans and corporate expansion plans.
As CEO and founder, what tips (3) would you give to women interested in starting their own startup in the sports industry?
I believe there are three initial tips: the first and most important is to accept that you are a woman and see it in a positive way, although there are still “noises” of corporate sexism. I find it incredible that I am a woman operating in two markets that are mostly male (financial and sports), because I learn from the experience that these men have, without causing so much dispute of strength and I observe their trajectories and way of thinking, It is constructive and inspiring for me to be a woman with courage, empathy with everyone involved in the journey, resilience, creativity and “objectivity in healing” — which is when you get hurt and only the “kiss from the mother” makes the pain go away. We, as women, have this ability to nip it in the bud or ignore it if it is the best solution for the moment. Just accept yourself, use your strength and unique feminine nature characteristics and undertake like a woman!
The second tip is about having enough emotional intelligence to accept criticism as an opportunity to build and reinvent rather than absorb as a criticism of the staff. Some women are even more sensitive than men, and that’s not a problem. It is just our nature coming true! So I think it’s important to accept this inheritance of our feminine nature and to know how to dose it, so that it helps us to evolve in our projects and trajectories instead of discouraging us.
When someone criticizes your work, I suggest you to listen carefully. Ask for more details to understand exactly where you possibly failed and take the time to ask for advice on how to make a better delivery and solve the problem. Use your judgment to judge whether you actually made a mistake on the project or just communicated poorly or even introduced yourself to someone with a different mindset than yours. I anticipate that this can happen … lol But, the truth is: we work in the universe of “trial and error”, that indicates that, at some point, you will make a mistake. And accepting criticisms at work and using them to evolve is the best way to find solutions that go beyond the problem, and which will stimulate your criticism and innovation capabilities.
As a last tip, I believe in the resiliency and simplicity of communication. The sports market is young when it comes to innovation. In Brazil, this market has not changed its modus operandi since the 1960s. Some legal updates were recently made, in 2017, by Pelé Law (a national sports law) and by CBF labor regulations and other sports confederations for female athletes. However, there is still a long way to go!
In a way, COVID brought a positive move to remove the sports market from the comfort zone.
It opened wide the deficiency of engagement to the fan, to scarcity of products with recurring purchase and tools to support the management of sporting entities and athletes’ careers. The current timing for launching solutions that support market development is perfect! However, the “chairs” that will approve your service are still mostly controlled by minds that understand that they need projects and solutions, but are afraid to risk innovation. So it’s essential to show resilience and also a product that is able to communicate your solution in a simple and practical way!
A final message for our audience?
I believe that sport is, above all, a passion. But, in addition to being a passion, which involves people’s feelings and enthusiasm, it is primarily an economic and entertainment activity that needs urgent management renewals to reach the financial strength that the sports market needs.
StadiumGO Sports Invest! it is the tool that we lacked, or at least, the first to act on the latent financial struggle that clubs and athletes face. Combining finance with sport, it is an easy way to understand the basic financial concepts and the opportunity we created to insert a greater number of audiences in the investment market to enable them to achieve financial security, as the creation of the New Investor Group.
With our company, we aim for a world with more social equality, less poverty, more responsible engagement, more access to financial services, and with a more professional and financially healthy sport to achieve its market, civility and social goals.
I also believe that if professionals and companies in the market could unite, it would be possible to reverse the hole in the coffers that the pandemic left, estimated in Brazil at US$ 200Mi, as showed on a research conducted by #SportsValue. Therefore, time has come and we need to leave the comfort zone and accept the “New Investor Group” as a tool that will take our breath away from the sport. The time has come to experience StadiumGO! as the financial solution that it is to the sports market and the opportunity to make a profit for the public that surrounds it. And it is also time for more technology and sports innovation companies to emerge. This business segment of sport tech will expand in order to amplify the sports market as a whole. Moving and innovating have always been necessary, in today’s world, it is mandatory!
As a request, I invite all readers, professionals and sports lovers to help us by answering the survey on “financial and sports knowledge” that we have developed in order to improve our educational content for investment in sports. And I also ask that to take on the collective challenge of immersion in the sports community to exchange solutions and force innovations always towards the success that we want and need so much! Sharing what we learn and the challenges faced inspire professionals and the market to make significant improvements. This is our mission as marketing professionals, and I am available here on the platform and by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter through user @stadiumgoinvest
Kindly thank you for the invitation and space.
“Let’s go together, with love and innovation in the sport!”