Leonardo De Andrade, a fifth-year in communications, has turned his passion for American football into a way to inform others from Brazil about the sport. Credit: Courtesy of Headshots Columbus

Leonardo De Andrade was 10 years old when he began watching American football with his mother in Brazil. He didn’t have a great understanding of the game at the time and never would have imagined being where he is today.

De Andrade grew up in Brazil before he moved to Spain at the age of 15, where he attended an American high school. After graduating, he moved to the United States to pursue a degree in communication at Ohio State.

It wasn’t until he moved to America that De Andrade said he found his passion for the “chess-like” sport of American football and decided he wanted those back in Brazil to feel the same way about the sport that he did.

“I do what I do because I love football and because it’s unfair that only the U.S. has it so big. I need my country to love it as much as the U.S. does,” De Andrade said.

In his free time, De Andrade, now a fifth-year in communication, uses YouTube as a platform to spread knowledge about American football to those in Brazil –– a population who he said has started to take a huge interest in the sport.

“My freshman year, I started to notice the market for American football in Brazil started to grow a lot. People started to get interested and some teams started to appear and now there is a league,” De Andrade said. “It’s really developed.”

When De Andrade started his YouTube channel two years ago, he said he decided to start with the rules of the game. He said he filmed 10 videos in Portuguese featuring the basic rules and positions so that his followers could develop enough knowledge to actually enjoy watching the sport.

From there, he said he started to analyze games and give his opinion as to what was going right for a team and wasn’t. De Andrade said that he then started playing Madden, a football video game,at the request of his followers so that he could explain football as he was playing it.

Today De Andrade has 6,300 followers on YouTube and 17,400 on Instagram, where he does most of his marketing. The popularity De Andrade gained by informing people in Brazil about the sport has opened up many opportunities for him.

He has attended the Super Bowl for the past two years and was asked last December to commentate on a game with ESPN in Brazil.

Both times De Andrade attended the Super Bowl, he hosted a giveaway for his followers, which included a trip with him to that year’s Super Bowl. One of Leo’s followers, Andre Milech, won the first year and said it is an experience he will never forget.

“Attending the Super Bowl was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Milech said in an email. “I still can’t put to words what it meant for me.”

Milech said he came across the giveaway when he saw one of De Andrade’s sponsored Instagram posts and followed the necessary steps to enter, which included subscribing to De Andrade’s YouTube channel. Milech said that’s when he began watching De Andrade’s videos, and he enjoyed the content.

“I really think Leo’s content is very good and I have always enjoyed it and watched it regularly,” Milech said. “Now, and especially after the Super Bowl giveaway, Leo’s videos have become part of my day-to-day routine.”

De Andrade is a full-time student, graduating in May, and said that even though he has only made $40 in two years for his YouTube videos, his passion for it has even put it above his academics.

“I’m not going to lie, I have prioritized YouTube over school sometimes. I’ve not done an assignment to be able to post a video,” De Andrade said. “It’s just purely out of passion, I don’t make any bank.”