International sport and entertainment marketing agency Fuse, part of Omnicom Media Group, recently announced the launch of its new office in São Paulo, Brazil, led by Luiz Fiorese.

The new office aims to cement Fuse’s presence in Latin America as it tries to capitalize on the region’s fast-growing sports sponsorship market, especially since the introduction of sports betting to Brazil towards the end of 2023.

The new office’s roster of clients includes insurance company Ezze Seguros, gambling businesses KTO and F12Bet, collectibles and memorabilia firm Panini, the Brazilian Olympic Committee, payment e-wallet company Pay 4 Fun, and Dutch brewer Heineken.

Fuse’s current international clients also include soft drink and snack foods giant PepsiCo, Japanese car giant Nissan, and car rental giant Enterprise.

The Brazil office will focus in particular on partnership consultancy, rights consultancy, activation, and measurement and effectiveness across sports and entertainment. 

Alongside these services, Fuse Brazil will launch a rights holder sales and consultancy offering, Fuse Ignite, designed to power up rights holders' sponsorship propositions.

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Fiorese has almost two decades of experience in advertising and sports marketing, having been the marketing director at São Paulo of Brazilian soccer’s Serie A where he was involved in the first sports betting partnership in Brazil, and most recently led the sports division at media agency Outpromo, OMG Brazil.

As head of Fuse Brazil, Fiorese will report to Louise Johnson, chief executive of Fuse, and Mauricio Gallian and Ricardo Franken, ​​co-CEOs of OMG Brazil.

Fiorese spoke to Sportcal (GlobalData Sport) about the launch of Fuse Brazil’s new office in São Paulo, why it chose to have a presence in the market, and the growth of sports betting in the country.

Why has Fuse decided to open a new office in Brazil and what are your plans for the region?

“In Brazil, sports is a fever, everybody loves sports, but the organizations that work inside sports and soccer don't have a good vision.

“Fuse was a special agency that was doing a brilliant job. The connection of what our job is in sports and what the job of Fuse is in the UK and the rest of the world was very consistent with us, we had a lot of synergy. Now we can deliver our connections directly from Brazil to the rest of the Fuse team around the world.

“We brought Fuse to Brazil because it was very natural with the job that we have been doing in the country in the last four years, and what I have done my whole career.

“We have competitions here in Brazil, but it's curious, they sell their own official sponsorships, often not using agents at all. So when people go and sell, they are not looking for all the opportunities that you'd have to activate to communicate this sponsor, the guy who sells just wants to sell and it's okay, it's his job, to receive your commission and that's fine.

“But these guys are looking for conversion, they need to have the clients, the people go on their website, and when you have only awareness you don't convert. You need to equalize things and looking at Brazil at this moment, everybody spends a lot of money on awareness and not on the conversion in the right way that you need.”

What makes Brazil Latin America’s fastest-growing sports sponsorship market?

“Brazil is not a country, Brazil is a continent. And this is clear if you think about the states of Brazil, each one is the size of a country from Europe. We are different because of the size that we have.

“For example, we have a very special spot with Corinthians, they have the second largest fan base here in Brazil (around 30 million), which is like the size of a nation.

“But when you talk about Brazilian sports, a lot of people just think about soccer. In Brazil, it's much more than this. We have a special league of volleyball. Volleyball is the second sport here for sure. So we have a very special league that delivers a lot of media audience.

“We’re working a lot with motorsports, we have more than five sponsorships with drivers and teams, we create a lot of activations, and have a lot of opportunities here. We know that not everybody in Brazil supports Corinthians, Brazil is too big, so we focus more on motorsports.”

What are your thoughts on the growth of sports betting and sponsorships in Brazil, and will Fuse Brazil be involved in this area?

“Inside soccer, we don't have any betting clients, but we have them in motorsports with teams and drivers.

“Betting in Brazil is crazy, the betting companies have changed the price of sponsorship here in Brazil. If you watch a soccer broadcast, you’re probably going to have six or seven different brands present, because the leagues doesn’t have exclusive betting sponsors. Any team here in Brazil of the first, second, or third division has a betting sponsor.

“So the teams and the TV both have their betting sponsors. So this money change is crazy because they pay much more than any other sector.

“Today, if you try to be the main sponsor on the front of a soccer club’s jersey here, the betting companies will offer 10 times as much as a traditional brand, so to me this is crazy and doesn’t make sense for us. Because of that, I don’t have as many sponsors inside soccer, I prefer other sports because you can be more effective.

“Betting is very new in Brazil, we have some stats from supermarkets for example that have connected the decrease in their sales to the launch of legal betting in Brazil. People are starting to eat less because they are spending money on betting. We don’t have casinos in Brazil, betting only arrived in 2018, and started to work with soccer in 2019.

“However things are going to change, such as the laws and taxes because we are currently in a regulatory moment. From November, betting companies will have to spend a lot of money to have a license to operate in Brazil and they will need to operate under a different model, so the markets are going to change. Betting is having its special moment.”