Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

beIN SPORTS journalist Roberto Rojas on networking, podcasting and his rise in the industry

Posted on 22 February 2019 by Jack Cunningham

Roberto Rojas is a Paraguayan-American journalist, who has had an active role in sports reporting since he was 16.

Five years later that hard work has paid off and he has just started in his new role with beIN SPORTS. Perhaps his most impressive scoop thus far was when he broke the news — well before any British journalist — of Miguel Almiron’s transfer from Atlanta United in MLS to Newcastle United.

Like any reporter looking to break into the industry, Roberto had to work extremely hard to get to where he is now.

“I was writing for a sports blog called Vavel, essentially just for experience and getting to know how the business of a sports website works,” Roberto told the Sports Gazette.

“I was writing match reports, previews, analysis and doing interviews with certain players. Thanks to them I was able to go and cover live events.”

From there, his big break arrived and he was selected as part of the Copa America team.

He continued: “I went there three years ago and covered seven games. Since I am Paraguayan-American, I was able to go to all three Paraguay games.

“On top of that, I went to four more games; Brazil vs Peru, Venezuela vs Argentina, Peru vs Colombia and the final where Chile beat Argentina on penalties.

“It was a great experience and, for myself at just 18, what I was able to do was remarkable.”

What helps is the fact that Roberto can speak three languages — English, Spanish and a little Portuguese — a valuable asset in the industry.

“Connections are so important and to network is crucial,” he explained, “but being bi-lingual has allowed me to open more avenues to connect to more people from all over the world.

“I am very grateful for that and that was what I was able to do and get a job at beIN SPORTS. Hopefully that just opens more doors to a successful career.”

Roberto also co-presents Low Limit Futbol, a football podcast specialising in some of the more unusual leagues around the world.

He said: “Low Limit Futbol has helped me tremendously because it has allowed me to connect to various people as we try to get guests every single week.

“From there you build relationships, you build connections and you go from there. I have been doing it since I was 16.”

Roberto with BBC’s South American football correspondent Tim Vickery/Roberto Rojas

Now an established part of the sports media and something popular among aspiring journalists, Roberto stressed the importance of podcasts.

“Everyone needs to know that podcasts are so important nowadays because in this decade, podcasts have exploded into something that has surpassed even radio and TV programmes,” he said.

“This is because you can set up a podcast on your phone, computer in a little studio. It is so easy and all you need is yourself or maybe a couple of friends and you can talk about almost anything.”

Crucial, too, Roberto added, was finding a niche in the market, something that he hit on with Low Limit Futbol.

“I think that the one thing that made us very successful is that Low Limit Futbol tried to move away from the Premier League and La Liga. We have opened our doors to the entire world.

“We look at Africa, North and South America. We talk to people from Sweden, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico; from all over the world. This allows us to learn much more and we can see how globalisation has really affected football.

“I think that to anyone who does want to start a podcast, I would say just find something you are passionate about. It could be Barcelona, Atlanta United or Flamengo, it can be about anything.

“The important thing is to be consistent and try to market yourself because you can always reach out to people who are willing to listen and want to find new content.”

Roberto has just started his new job at beIN SPORTS and he made it very clear that this is through having good relationships with people in the company, which provided him with a great opportunity.

He said: “I have always had a good relationship with beIN SPORTS. We had people from there come on our show, including people who work behind the scenes. People have always been nice to us as we have always been nice to them.

“So, gaining that relationship with the right people and to have open lines of communication meant that when the job opportunity emerged, they emailed me and it happened so quick. Just like that I got the job.

“I am really excited and it is justification for the goals I set myself and to always stay committed and consistent. This is the reward for it.”

Featured photograph/Roberto Rojas