WFS arrives in Seville and influences 18.5 million people.

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Carlos Alberto Fernandez |

Sports Letter, (EFE).- The World Football Summit opens in Seville, where the ball of the football industry will roll with an economic impact of 18.5 million euros, according to the Andalusian City Council. The sixth part of this event will bring together 2,500 visitors on site, a thousand more online and 170 speakers over two days, Wednesday and Thursday next week, who will learn about football trends on and off the pitch.

Before leaving Europe to visit the African continent (Durban, South Africa) for the first time in November, WFS lands on FIBES in Seville, “a city with great football tradition, which is in a period of attracting business tourists, attracting major international fairs that can help you to increase this traffic,” explains CEO Marian Otamendi in an interview with Efe.

Of the 2,500 people who will meet in Seville, 62 percent will come from outside Spain. “Our vocation has been international since we started in 2016,” emphasizes the person in charge of this meeting place for the football industry.

It is, in fact, “its most attractive point and distinctive value, networking, interaction” that occur within the 48 hours in which “business” emerges. More than 50 presentations are planned, as well as an exhibition area in which another fifty brands will present their new products.

Investment funds will have their place among the speakers Alejandro Irarragorri of the Orlegi Group, the new owner of Sporting de Gijón. “They have realized that sports organizations are an asset with a lot of revaluation power, and that is why they are investing a lot, especially US and Asian funds, as well as some funds from the Middle East,” says Otamendi.

Some go even further, creating “multi-club” governance to “share resources, talent” and ultimately “enable economies of scale”.

It’s that clubs “do not cease to be companies with income and expenses”, although they have their own characteristics, and they are looking, as the WFS CEO explains, for new income. An example is Barcelona and its leverage.

“Some of these levers are new financial products that drive more growth and are different from traditional ones. I think all the leverage that can be used to raise revenues is welcome,” defends Otamendi.

Barcelona have sold a 24.5 percent stake in Barça Studios to Mediapro partner and founder Jaume Roures, who will be based in Seville. “These operations are part of the monetization of the clubs, in addition to the classic income from ticket sales and merchandising,” says the CEO of the event organized by Sevilla.

Clubs are also looking into “engagement,” the commitment of consumers to their brand, to get more monetization on matchdays. This is the “Americanization” of football, the show goes beyond the field. “We still arrive in Spain, see the game and leave. It’s about the fan arriving earlier, eating more, buying T-shirts, ordering a hot dog or popcorn from their seat. It still seems strange to us, but it will come, ”Otamendi predicts.

The forum will analyze new methods of access to stadiums, facial biometrics. “We are on a path of greater control, and I know it is divisive, but in terms of security and availability, the procedure becomes more efficient; it’s more flexible and secure access,” he says.

Generation Z consumption models will be on the WFS table: “They were born with a mobile phone in their cradle and consume football differently. They talk about their dislike of football, but the La Liga statistics do not show this, but that they consume it differently.

Aside from the economy, football, Otamendi argues, “is a very important lever for inclusion, learning and best practices, combating racism and embracing diversity.” It requires “positive referents” who “influence” society.

He notes that now, for example, “girls look at themselves in the mirror of Alexia Putellas, which they want to become when they grow up”, and not in the mirror of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Beatriz Alvarez Mesa, president of the Women’s Professional Football League, will share her “growth strategies” in Seville. Women are empowered in football.

“Last year we made a promise to Women in Football, a British organization that promotes equality in football, and we made a commitment that 30 per cent of the speakers will be women. We have overcome it and are proud of it. They are not quota women, but with a proven track record. It’s granite because at the end of the day the football industry is still very masculine,” says World Fooball Summit CEO.

With the “spirit of Captain Thunder” he denounces racism in sport “absolutely unacceptable”, he wishes that the “football war” in Spain between La Liga and the Royal Spanish Football Federation “soon be corrected and resolved because everyone loses” those two organizations and fans, and a glimpse of what football will be like in five years.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can clearly see the rampant intrusion of technology. People are surprised by the number of technology companies and startups that come to the World Football Summit. There is a lot of research, innovation and development in terms of player performance, tactics, injury prevention, stadiums, scouting… it will be a more “tech” sport, we will have more and more impressive images, and the main thing is that WFS accompanies this growth ,” says Otamendi, surrounded by hundreds of books in her office.

Entrance WFS arrives in Seville and influences 18.5 million people. was first published in EFE news.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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