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Giants of Central America: CD Olimpia

Jaime Cruz, Director of Partnerships and Sponsorships of Club Deportivo Olimpia from Honduras explained his views about the most traditional football team in Honduras and Central America. Jaime gave us a general view of the team and its challenges.

By Bruno Ivich

Please give us an overview of Club Deportivo Olimpia.

Club Deportivo Olimpia is the most important football team in Honduras. The club was founded the 12th of June of 1912 as a baseball team and then in 1927 as a football team. The team is also one of the most important football clubs in the central American region. Overall, Club Deportivo Olimpia has 35 national championships and10 international titles. It is the most traditional team in Honduras, from the capital city of Tegucigalpa. It is estimated that there are around 5 million fans of Olimpia in Honduras and 7 million globally.  Club Deportivo Olimpia has also been ranked on the Global Digital Football Benchmark as in the top 200 clubs with the biggest digital communities.

What are the current objectives of the team this season and for the next 2 seasons?

The current objectives of the team are to continue winning championships locally and trophies internationally. Olimpia is the current champion of the CONCACAF league and local champion of Honduras. In the Concacaf Champions League, Olimpia will play two important matches against Atlas from Mexico the 8th and 14th of March. Overall, the team has been a champion of the CONCACAF league twice and reached the club world cup once in 2000. Now we hope we can reach it another time. Our aim is to continue our sporting performance at the highest level. This also applies to the administrative operations; we want to be economically sustainable as we have been. Our huge success is due to Televisora Corporacion Televicentro our president, owner of the club and our various sponsors.

What are the main challenges inside the organization? What are the solutions for these problems?

The main challenges are to continue amassing championships and on the administrative side to be always first in management. The club seeks for constant improvement with new solutions and innovations. The solution is about getting out of our comfort zone, on the look for new projects and ways to increase our revenue streams. The most important challenge is to further engage our fans living in the United States. 

Deportivo Olimpia is the most popular club in Honduras, what do you think that differentiates this club from the rest?

Deportivo Olimpia is synonymous with tradition. The team has always won since the beginning, even against bigger teams and adverse conditions. Olimpia was the first team to win the Concacaf Champions League, to be present in the club World Cup. The club is simply a social phenomenon in Honduras with a big difference between the contender and rival team Motagua. We have a common saying with Club Deportivo Olimpia that we play as locals in any city in Honduras because we have the best fan crowds in the country and central America. Our fans are loyal and extremely passionate. Our success nowadays is based around the scouting and sales of great players abroad. In the past we have sold David Suazo, Mainor Figueroa, and Anthony Lozano. More importantly, we have a powerful group of investors supporting us as well as Televisora Corporación Televicentro.

Is there a plan to build a new stadium for the club?

There is a plan to build a new stadium, currently we are working on buying the land on the outskirts of the city of Tegucigalpa. The plan is to begin the construction phase in 2024 or 2025. The stadium will likely have a capacity of 20,000 seated fans. Now we play in a municipal stadium with about 30,000 seats.

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How would you describe the most interesting projects that the club is working on from a business standpoint?

The attitude of Club Deportivo Olimpia is one of innovation and constant improvement. Now, we have recently established a partnership with Johan Cruyff Institute for education among all our stakeholders and employees. Moreover, we have strengthened our relationships with our sponsors Valvoline, Umbro and some other global brands. All these projects serve as a consolidation point to become stronger and further education among our employees. 

Is there a technological project in place?

There is a technological project in place around data. At this point, we believe data is extremely important for our fans and as a new way to monetize and grow our revenue streams. We are currently working on loyalty programs, subscriptions, and partnerships with different startups. Deportivo Olimpia seeks to grow on an international level, mainly in Mexico and the United States. We will have our own store at the Tegucigalpa airport, and our first store in the United States in Miami. Furthermore, we are considering expanding into other technological areas such as growing our ecommerce and getting into NFTs and emerging technologies. 

How would you describe the fans of the club? Do you have a loyalty program in place?

Our fans are extremely loyal and passionate, they follow Olympia’s social phenomenon in the country. Today, we are playing in different stadiums because of maintenance in the municipal stadium in Tegucigalpa, and we see how our fans follow us everywhere. Our biggest rivalry inside Honduras is with Motagua from Tegucigalpa and regionally with Club Deportivo Saprissa from Costa Rica. This one is the top-rated football match in Central America.

How has the pandemic affected the club, in general perspective, sporting and from a business point of view?

The pandemic was a complicated time on the financial side because Club Deportivo Olimpia stopped getting important revenues related to ticket sales. It was a challenge to play without our fans. However, it was also an important lesson that we learned, to grow our social media channels, get out of our comfort zone and be on the lookout for new ways to have additional income. Nowadays, we have a strong YouTube channel as well as our traditional social media sites. On the sporting side, we were the champions of Honduras that year, and in the CONCACAF league we reached semifinals. We think that the outcome of this competition might have been different if we played home and away matches, especially because our team is strong playing at our stadium and with our fans. 

 What is the main approach or process based on taking important decisions at the club? What is one important decision that you had to make in 2023?

In general, our sports director and president take important decisions. However, on our marketing and administrative team, we work on interesting projects and have more input into the final decision. The management is open for new ideas and innovation. An important decision that we will likely have to make in 2023 is related to the continuity of our coach legend Pedro Troglio, who has won everything possible with Club Deportivo Olimpia. Perhaps there will be other better offers for him, and we would have to assess what to do. 

 What are some of the main areas and projects on the commercial side?

The main projects on the commercial side of the club are related to new sponsors, especially in our female team and for our stadium. Commercially, our aim is to grow and strengthen our brand internationally, mainly in Mexico and the United States, and penetrate with our app and loyalty programs.

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