The Big Interview: Rob Alberino

In a sport in which global awareness has historically been of Dolphins, 49ers and Cowboys, the Chiefs are mounting a serious challenge. Robert Alberino admits to being a little surprised initially at the notion that Kansas could conquer Miami, San Francisco and Dallas by winning the hearts of National Football League (NFL) American football fans and newcomers worldwide. But the view now is “why not?” Alberino, Vice-President of Content and Production at the Kansas City Chiefs, tells The SportAccord 2024 Daily that the goal of “world’s team”, as previously outlined by Chiefs President Mark Donovan, is very much on the agenda.

Even Taylor Swift is on the team!

“It’s a lofty goal for certain,” Alberino says. “When I first heard it a few years ago I wondered how a small, Midwestern American city of under one million people could achieve it. Then I saw the momentum, excitement and determination not only of the company, but the team themselves.”

Alberino rejoined the Chiefs in his current role in 2021 after originally serving as the club’s Vice President of Media and Marketing from 2010 to 2013. The 2024 season will be his 30th in the NFL. His job is to lead all content efforts, including creation and distribution across traditional, digital, social and over-the-top platforms. He tackles it with innovation and impact, and never in isolation, as he also oversees all aspects of game production, presentation and entertainment elements at Arrowhead Stadium.

“The Chiefs are working overtime to use the on-field success to help catapult the stories – both historically and currently – to fans of all levels,” he says. “With a robust media and marketing team, daily work continues from short-form to long-form work so that there is a great ‘buffet’ of content for novice to avid fans.” That on-field success has elevated the likes of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to global recognition.

World-class content and great storytelling

Alberino says the team’s achievement in becoming only the ninth in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls this year is “rocket fuel” for the mission. But when it comes to media, simplicity is the watchword. “World-class content and access plus great storytelling equals hearts and minds won,” Alberino says.

“We are getting people’s attention across the globe and all are welcome in the Chiefs’ Kingdom! We need to make more trips to places that need tangible connections to the Kingdom – the word needs to be spread, but also touched and experienced. We are working on this and on educating the world about American football. It’s a tall task, but we are all in!”

The relationship between Grammy-winning superstar Taylor Swift and Chiefs player Travis Kelce did not need any promotion. “We have truly let the world do the work for us,” Alberino says. “We don’t tout or amplify the relationship, as all of our players are treated very similarly coverage-wise. The world has linked to the phenomena and so we are riding the story book wave as well.” But at the heart of everything is the recognition that the most important link is between the players on the field and the fans – a bond that builds loyalty in times of celebration and resilience if results are poor. “It is our job to entertain, drive emotion and keep that place rocking,” Alberino says. “When the fans are down, we bring them up and when they are up, we keep them there and push the limits. The more access you can get from the team, the more fans can live their fantasy and feel closer to the team. Nobody roots for logos – they root for people.”