Carlos Alberto Fernandez |

Sports Writing, (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 data from the Andalusian city council. The sixth installment of this event will see 2,500 attendees on site, another 1,000 online and 170 speakers over two days, Wednesday and Thursday next week, who will discover football trends on and off the pitch.

Before leaving Europe to visit the African continent for the first time (Durban, South Africa) in November, WFS lands at FIBES in Seville, in a “city with a great football tradition and which is in a period of attraction for tourists. business, attracting large international trade shows that can help you increase that traffic, “explains the company’s 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”, underlines the manager of this meeting point for the football industry.

That is, in fact, “its most attractive point is its differential value, networking, interactions” that take place in 48 hours, in which the “business” is born. More than 50 presentations are scheduled and also an exhibition area where fifty other brands present their novelties.

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

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

And it is that the clubs “do not stop being companies, with income and expenses”, even if they have their own peculiarities, and seek, as the CEO of WFS explains, new revenues. The example is Barcelona and its levers.

“Some of these levers are new financial products to foster greater growth and different from the traditional one. I think all levers that can be used to promote higher income are welcome, “defends Otamendi.

Barcelona have sold 24.5% of Barça Studios to partner and founder of Mediapro, Jaume Roures, who will be in Seville. “These operations are part of the monetization of clubs beyond the traditional ticketing and merchandising revenues,” explains the managing director of the event hosted by Sevilla.

Clubs also explore “engagement,” consumer engagement with their brand, to achieve greater monetization on match days. It is the Americanization of football, the show goes beyond the field. «In Spain we arrive again, we see the game and we go. It’s about the fan who arrives first, consumes the most, buys T-shirts, orders a hot dog or popcorn from his place. It still seems strange to us, but it will come, “Otamendi predicts.

The forum will analyze the new ways of accessibility to stadiums, facial biometrics. «We are going in the line of being more controlled and I know it generates controversy, but in terms of safety and accessibility the procedure becomes more efficient; they are more agile and safer accesses ”, he reasons.

On the table of the WFS there will be the consumption models of Generation Z: «They were born with the cell phone in the cradle and consume calcium in a different way. There is talk of their disaffection with football, but the LaLiga statistics do not indicate this, but rather that they consume it in a different way.

Beyond the economy, football, says Otamendi, “is a very important lever for inclusion, education and good practices, the fight against racism, the inclusion of diversity”. It requires “positive referents” who “influence” society.

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

“Last year we made a promise with ‘Women in football’, a British organization that promotes equality in football, and we pledged that 30% of the speakers were women. We have passed it and we are proud of it. They are not women by quota, but with a proven track record. It’s a granite, because, in the end, it’s true that the football industry is still very masculinized, ”says the CEO of the World Fooball Summit.

With the “spirit of Captain Thunder”, he condemns racism in sport, “absolutely unacceptable”, he hopes that the “football war” in Spain between La Liga and the Real Spanish Football Association “will be resolved soon because everyone loses”, those two organizations and fans, and sees what football will be like in five years.

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

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