World Football Summit attracts record numbers with 2360 attendees, 48 % of them from outside Spain, and more than 2150 professional meetings organised during the summit.
The third edition of World Football Summit (WFS), which took place this week (24th – 25th September) at the Goya Theater in Madrid, has consolidated itself as the most important football congress for the industry by establishing a new record of participants, with 2,360 representatives from institutions, clubs and companies, 48 percent of them foreigners.
According to Marian Otamendi, Director of WFS, this third edition has marked an unquestionable qualitative and quantitative improvement from last year’s edition: “In addition to the total amount of attendees, I would like to highlight their origin, with 48 percent coming from abroad. A key-factor that gives us the global character that we have been pursuing since our inception.
“I would also highlight the excellence of the speakers, with top-level professional within each one of the discussed subjects. In short, without falling into complacency, a high-level call for both the quality of the speakers, and the diversity of the topics covered. In addition – she continues – the interactions among the attendees have been very high, and through the official event App, we have registered 2.152 professional meetings taking place during the event.”
This international congress for the football and sports industry registered a total attendance of 2,360 unique visitors, 1,758 during the first day and 1,507, on the second; it brought together more than 100 top-level speakers, 60% of them foreigners, and gathered more than 160 clubs from around the world. Likewise, it increased its international reputation ratio by 16%, by bringing together attendees, speakers, media and accredited foreign correspondents from 80 different countries.
Some of the best international experts analysed the following key-topics within the industry: the project of the third continental club competition announced by the European Club Association (ECA), the organisational success of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the threat posed by ´state-clubs’ such as Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City, the use of technological advances such as fingerprint biometrics to improve security in football stadiums and the new format of the Davis Cup, promoted by Gerard Piqué’s company Kosmos Holding, whose final phase will be played in Madrid in 2019 and 2020.
The presidents of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, and of Juventus and the European Club Association (ECA), Andrea Agnelli; the new shareholder of Real Valladolid, Ronaldo Nazario, former players Jorge Valdano and Vitor Baía; the Belgium coach, Roberto Martínez; Edmund Chu, co-founder of Kosmos; the Legal Director of FIFA, Emilio García and its Digital Transformation Director, Luis Vicente, the captain of the Afghan soccer team, Khalida Popal, and the founder and Executive Director of HODI, Fatuma Adan, integrated, amongst others, the outstanding panel of speakers.
The Wanda Metropolitano, venue of the next Champions League final, Valencia CF, Iberdrola, and the General Director of Juventus, Giuseppe Marotta, amongst others, were awarded during the third edition of the Industry Awards at the Club Financiero Génova. In total, 120 nominations from 23 countries were submitted and 21 nominations were selected for the 7 categories.
The American startup YBVR, specialising in the broadcasting of sport events in Virtual Reality, was the winner of the WFS StartCup by GSIC in the category awarded by the Jury, whilst NFCSound, also based in the USA, was awarded the prize chosen by the audience. The winner of this startup competition co-organised by WFS and the Global Sports Innovation Center (GSIC) powered by Microsoft, in collaboration with N3XT Sports, will give them access to a Sillicon Valley SportsTech programme valued at more than 25.000 euros.
NEXT STOPS: BILBAO AND KUALA LUMPUR
After the Madrid edition, the organisation is preparing to celebrate, on the 13th and 14th of February 2019, the second edition of WFS Bilbao, with a special focus on the role of technological advances in the different areas of the football industry and on the preparation of the Biscayan capital before the celebration of the European Football Championship of 2020.
Next, and due to the importance of the Asian market from a geostrategic point of view and for the economic development of the soccer industry, WFS will hold a regional edition in Malaysia, which will host the 1st edition of World Football Summit Asia, on the 29th and April 30th, 2019 in Kuala Lumpur.
Internationalising a successful product – after only three editions – does not change the initial idea of making Madrid the world capital of the football industry.
“When we first started WFS we set ourselves the challenge of becoming a world reference for the football industry, which seems to be achieved in a short amount of time, and there is no better place than Madrid to host it,” says Marian Otamendi.
“Another thing is,” she adds, “following the strategic expansion of LaLiga, one of our global sponsors, we will surely replicate WFS, at a regional level.
“We believe that this edition or the one that will be held in Bilbao (February 2019), given the fact that they focus on a very specific topic, will add value to the brand and to the original idea: a great annual forum where the latest trends, concerns and developments of a growing industry, each day more important in the economic sector, have an opportunity to be shared and known by all.”
It is time for analysis and to collect all the data and experiences for the team at WFS and for Marian Otamendi the challenge is: “That the fourth edition will certify the top-level achieved and, as far as possible, overcome it. We finished just the other day and we are already receiving proposals for topics and ideas to be implemented in the next edition, although we still don’t have an official date.”