How a young sports news site published a crucial scoop that brought down Rubiales

Soon after Spain emerged victorious in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the celebration quickly turned to outrage when Luis Rubiales, the Spanish Football Federation chief, kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent. In response to the criticism, Rubiales recorded a non-apology apology during a stopover in Doha. The team also released a statement from Hermoso claiming that the kiss had been consensual and should not detract from the team’s victory. However, it was later revealed that these were not Hermoso’s words and that Rubiales’ team had fabricated them. The truth was brought to light by Natalia Torrente, a respected football reporter from the sports news site Relevo. She exposed the fact that Hermoso did not make the statement and refused to assist Rubiales, who had pressured her to appear in the video. This exclusive story placed further pressure on Rubiales, leading to his suspension by FIFA and subsequent resignation from his position two weeks later.

Relevo, a sports news site with a young and innovative newsroom, has gained popularity through its extensive coverage of women’s sports, particularly women’s football. It stood out during the Women’s World Cup by sending two full-time journalists to cover the event, while other Spanish newspapers sent none. The site’s Football Editor, Sandra Riquelme, leads a team of talented female reporters who have been instrumental in Relevo’s success and the uncovering of the Rubiales scandal. The site’s commitment to covering women’s sports has resonated with readers, resulting in a significant increase in website views and social media followers.

Relevo was launched as a project by Vocento, a major Spanish media group, with the intention of competing with established sports news brands. The site’s strategy focused on targeting women and Gen-Z audiences, which had been largely overlooked by other news organizations in Spain. This approach influenced Relevo’s product design, staffing choices, and content selection. The newsroom is comprised of a mixture of younger social media-savvy journalists and experienced colleagues who were drawn to the opportunity to do things differently. Relevo’s coverage prioritizes lesser-known sports figures and avoids publishing clickbait or objectifying content, which has contributed to the site’s brand strength.

During the first five months of its existence, Relevo operated solely on social media and cultivated a strong community of sports enthusiasts. It strategically chose platforms like Twitch and TikTok to engage with younger audiences, while also establishing a presence on Instagram and Twitter to appeal to women and older news consumers. Relevo opted not to venture into Facebook and YouTube, instead dedicating its resources to creating tailored content for each specialized platform. This decision paid off, as the site amassed a significant following before launching its website.

Relevo’s success can be attributed to its commitment to unique content creation, thoughtful audience targeting, and a focus on building a brand that goes beyond traditional sports journalism. The site’s dedication to covering women’s sports in Spain has filled a void left by other media outlets and resonated with readers who have felt excluded by traditional sports coverage.

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