Exclusive Interview: Bruce Daniels - LFA Commissioner

Bruce Daniels Jr. is the man behind the LFA. In 2005. moved to Brazil to start a real estate company. After finding out that there's over 100 teams in Brazil, he began to dig deeper. Now, he's working on forming the professional league in Brazil along with his partners.

Getting Started
Soccer is the main sport in Brazil. There's not enough sports media content out here, so I figured, let's try to put together a business plan and take it from there. We used the Majors League Soccer model where the teams are owned by the league and they're operated by independent management teams. The reason we did is to control the quality and cost. We managed to close a three year TV agreement for a minimum of 10 games this year, 13 games in 2014, and 16 games in 2015 via the largest sports channel in Brazil - Sport TV owned by Global which is the 2nd largest media company in the world, right behind ABC. 

We have 6 teams with offices in 5 cities - Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Cuiaba and Florianopolis. All the teams will be coming to Sao Paulo, where we're building a stadium. We're building the first official American football field. We'll have over 400 people working for the LFA once the season starts.

This year we will have 5 games during the regular season, followed by semi-finals, and finals on Nov 4th. 

My partner Marcelo and I have set up a company that's focuses on sports called Brazen, where we're the owners and operators of the league and, we also have two strategic investors in Brazil.

We have purchased the rights for the National Team as well for the next 21 years. We're looking forward to help the Brazilian National Team and we're hoping for seeing the team on the field by 2015.

Teams and Players
In Brazil, most of the American football teams are tied to the soccer clubs, so we've started completely new teams since football has to have its own history. We'll have a Brazilian player draft and 42 Americans coming in. There will be 7 Americans per team - 4 will play offense, and 3 defense.

1,500 players registered for the draft. We'll select 228 of them this Sunday (July 21). We'll go through aprox. 52 rounds of draft. Players will be relocating to cities where the teams are based. Salaries are not enough though, but we're allowing the franchises to protect certain players. It's essentially an NFL type of a draft.

Some of the most known Americans who play(ed) and coached in Europe, and who will be joining us in LFA are Tony Simmons and Aki Jones. 

Our interest is long term growth of the sport in Brazil. We personally talked to each American we're bringing, and they will also be position coaches. We also spent 3 months traveling around Brazil and hosting football combines. 

The League
We're doing this long-term. We're working with the investors from The States as well as strategic investors here in Brazil. 

We're investing in building these teams, in training the Brazilian players, as well as coaches, national team, etc. We want the kids to see Brazilians playing American football on a high level. 

After we establish the teams we'll be able to work on the junior programs. We're also working with the national league in Brazil and helping them establish the amateur league. Our season will be from March to May, and the amateur league will run from August to Nov/Dec. 

Mia Bajin
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