The future of soccer industry: a conversation with Marian Otamendi from WFS
Last week, the second edition of our “Meet, Chat & Drinks” event took place at our offices, an opportunity to invite trusted partners and discuss topics of interest.
This time, we had the visit of Marian Otamendi, the Co-founder and Director of World Football Summit (WFS), an institution that organizes global events for the football industry, connecting more than 80,000 people around the world.
Telecoming was fortunate to travel to Durban in 2022 and sponsor one of the WFS events. Since then, we have maintained a good relationship with the whole team, and it was a pleasure to interview Marian Otamendi.
Below, you can see a summary with the most relevant questions from the interview.
What is the role of the WFS as an organization among all the players in the soccer world?
At WFS, we define ourselves as the meeting point for the soccer industry. Our mission is to help the industry’s main stakeholders interact and generate new business opportunities. The European edition of the events, which has already been held six times, is the one that attracts the largest audience. It was a challenge to attract participants to the first event, but from there,as the community grows and our brand is better recognised, we have gotten a lot of interest and involvement. The momentum helps us attract more people to the events.
The profile of attendees is similar in all countries, but the interests vary, from fan engagement, to sustainability or women’s football. We cover the topics that are most relevant to the sports industry.
What has technology brought to this industry?
It is helping a lot in all areas; in fact, the future growth of soccer is closely related to the introduction of technology. Fundamentally in fan engagement, to attract and retain new generations, realities, and new experiences. I have been surprised by everything in injury prevention, tactical analysis and big data applied to day-to-day life and management.
How have soccer fans evolved in recent years?
It is one of the most beautiful challenges that soccer has right now. The traditional man who listens to the radio while in the stadium, coexists with all the new consumption patterns of the new generations, who are multiscreen, with short attention spans, and who do other things. At the same time, they watch the match and follow different platforms. New generations prefer to have fun and watch another part of the competition. Also, they are fans of the players more than fans of the teams.
Overall, the interest for soccer related content is at all time high, but we must understand the channels have diversified.
It is not only the live match anymore, new generations watch highlights, play video games, see documentaries, etc.
Do broadcasting rights have an economic ceiling?
There are significant challenges in where to invest. If there are many formats, in the end, the product can be exhausted, and the question would be, are people capable of consuming so much? Soccer will have to penetrate markets where it is not so famous.
What will be the soccer industry’s business levers in the coming years?
A fundamental one is to include fans themselves so that they consume more and not only buy the ticket or watch the game. It needs to go beyond that and clubs need to consider how to include fans in the sports business model. Technology is also essential, and it will undoubtedly drive growth. For example, some fans will only consume the highlights, and we must innovate and bring original ideas.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered throughout your professional career?
Reinventing myself to avoid monotony. At WFS, we have the task of making people realize that the soccer industry exists. It goes far beyond the 90 minutes of a match; behind it, there is a lot of work, and it is a challenge to show it and bring it to light.
From Telecoming, we thank Marian and the WFS team for coming to our offices and spending such an exciting afternoon with us. Thank you, and see you soon at one of your events.