October 7, 2022

The WFS in Seville generates an economic impact of 18.5 million

Carlos Alberto Fernandez |

Sports Writing, (EFE).- World Football Summit opens in Seville, setting the ball of the football industry with an economic impact of 18.5 million euros, according to data from the Andalusian city council. The sixth episode of this event will have 2,500 attendees on Wednesday and Thursday next week, a further 1,000 online and 170 speakers in two days, discovering the trend of football on and off the pitch.

Before leaving Europe to visit the African continent for the first time in November (Durban, South Africa), WFS disembarks at FIBES in Seville, in a “city with a great football tradition and that is in a period of attracting business tourists , attracting major international exchanges that can help you increase that traffic,” the company’s CEO, Marian Otamendi, explained 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 point for the football industry.

That is in fact “the most attractive point and the differential value, the networks, the interactions” that take place in 48 hours, in which “business” is created. More than 50 presentations are planned, as well as an exhibition space in which another fifty brands present their novelties.

The investment funds will have their space with Alejandro Irarragorri, of the Orlegi Group, the new owner of Sporting de Gijón, among the speakers. “They have realized that sports entities are an asset with a high revaluation potential and that is why they invest a lot, especially US and Asian funds and some from the Middle East,” says Otamendi.

Some go a step further, with a “multiclub” management to “share resources and talent” and ultimately “generate economies of scale”.

And it is that the clubs “do not cease to be companies, with income and expenses”, although they have their idiosyncrasies, and they, as the CEO of WFS explains, are seeking new income. The example is Barcelona and its levers.

“Some of these levers are new financial products to promote more growth and are different from the traditional ones. I think any levers that can be used to promote higher incomes are welcome,” defends Otamendi.

Barcelona has sold 24.5 percent of Barça Studios to Mediapro’s partner and founder, Jaume Roures, who will be in Seville. “These operations are part of the clubs’ revenues that go beyond traditional ticketing and merchandising revenues,” said the CEO of the Seville-hosted event.

The clubs are also exploring ‘engagement’, consumers’ commitment to their brand, to generate more revenue on match days. It’s the ‘Americanization’ of football, the show goes beyond the field. “In Spain we still arrive, we see the game and we leave. It’s about the fan who arrives earlier, consumes more, buys t-shirts, orders a hot dog or some popcorn from their seats. It still seems strange to us, but it will come,” predicts Otamendi.

The forum will analyze the new methods of stadium accessibility, facial biometrics. “We’re moving towards more controlled and I know it’s causing controversy, but in terms of security and accessibility, the procedure is getting more efficient; they are more agile and safer entrances,” he reasons.

Generation Z’s consumption patterns come to the WFS table: “They were born with a cell phone in their crib and consume football differently. There is talk of their dissatisfaction with football, but LaLiga’s stats don’t indicate that, but rather that they consume it in a different way.

In addition to economics, Otamendi argues that football is “a very important lever for inclusion, education and good practices, the fight against racism, the inclusion of diversity.” It calls for “positive referents” who “influence” society.

He points out that, for example, now “girls are looking at themselves in the mirror of Alexia Putellas, what they want to be when they grow up” and not in that of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. Beatriz Álvarez Mesa, president of the Women’s Professional Football League, will share the “growth strategies” they have in Seville. Women are stronger in football.

“Last year we made a pledge with ‘Women in football’, a British organization that promotes equality in football, and we pledged that 30 per cent of speakers would be women. We are over it and we are proud. They are not women on quota, but with a proven track record. It’s a granite, because ultimately it’s true that the football industry is still very masculine,” argues the CEO of the World Fooball Summit.

With the “spirit of Captain Thunder”, he condemns racism in sport, “absolutely unacceptable”, he wishes that the “football war” in Spain between LaLiga and the Royal Spanish Football Federation “be solved quickly and solved because everyone loses », those two organizations and the fans, and a glimpse of what football will look like in five years.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but what I see clearly is the unbridled advance of technology. People are surprised by the number of technology companies and start-ups coming to the World Football Summit. There is a lot of research, innovation and development in the field of player performance, tactics, injury prevention, stadiums, scouting… it is becoming a more ‘technological’ sport, we will have more and more impressive images and the most important is that WFS these growth,” he confirms Otamendi, surrounded by hundreds of books in her office.

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