From the very first World Football Summit (WFS), in October of 2016, to the most recent edition in September of 2019, LaLiga has been present and involved in making our events so successful. Going forward, LaLiga will continue to be an important ally as the Spanish league has renewed its WFS Global Partnership.
It was in May of 2017 that LaLiga first became a WFS Global Partner, but even before that the league had been a backer of WFS. That was clear from the fact that President Javier Tebas spoke at the inaugural event in October of 2016, giving a keynote speech titled “The Future of the Professional Football Industry”. Other LaLiga directors also took part in that event, such as Javier Gómez, LaLiga’s Corporate Managing Director at the time, who featured in a debate titled “Investments in Football Teams”, or Pedro Malabia, LaLiga’s Women’s Football Director, who gave a talk on “LaLiga and Women’s Football”.
From there, the relationship between WFS and LaLiga grew and it was a moment of great pride for both institutions to be able to make the collaboration official through the signing of the first Global Partnership. “We’re delighted to collaborate with WFS,” Javier Tebas said at the time. “The work they’re doing to improve each year is excellent and it’s important for LaLiga to present our work at this knowledge sharing forum, where the top representatives in the world of football meet. We want to actively participate in this and help grow the sports industry.”
“The work World Football Summit is doing to improve each year is excellent”, Javier Tebas – LaLiga President
Over the past three years, that’s exactly what has happened. LaLiga has been an active participant in all WFS events, from Madrid to Bilbao to Kuala Lumpur to the upcoming inaugural WFS Africa in Durban, and this has produced some of the most memorable WFS moments.
At the most recent WFS event in Madrid in September of 2019, there were as many as eight panels which featured insight from a LaLiga director. In addition to an open innovation start-up panel, LaLiga’s International Development Director Óscar Mayo spoke about the city of Madrid being a hub for sporting events, their Chief Communications Officer Joris Evers was part of a panel about impactful content, their Innovation Director Minerva Santana offered insight into innovation strategies in football, their Technological Protection of Content Director Emilio Férnandez discussed the anti-piracy fight, their Mobile and Gaming Director Daniel Vicente spoke about Spanish clubs’ digitalisation efforts and the LaLiga Foundation President Olga de la Fuente reflected on how football can positively impact lives.
Then there was the annual keynote speech from Javier Tebas, one of the leading figures in the entire football industry. In this past edition, he focussed on the future of data and artificial intelligence in the football industry, while his past lectures have covered a range of different topics.
“There’s a need to work on and promote the branding of the competitions. You can also lean on the individual clubs, but the competitions’ brands need to be worked on so that you’re not at the mercy of the sporting situation of the clubs or depending on them to have star players.”
World Football Summit Madrid 2016
“It’s not enough to have a Twitter account in Chinese that says little more than ‘this team beat this team 3-0’. There’s a need to develop a strategy with specialists.”
World Football Summit Madrid 2017
“Any industry that can’t adapt to the move towards new means of consuming content will suffer. The product will lose value.”
World Football Summit Madrid 2018
“You have a lot more data on the users in the world of OTT, such as the numbers of minutes they’re watching you, when they watch you, at what time they watch you, if they stop watching you, if they continue watching you, if they interact through multiple screens, etc. This world is a lot more complicated, but also a lot more accurate.”
World Football Summit Madrid 2019
It’s clear that there is a burgeoning collaboration between LaLiga and WFS and it’s telling that LaLiga has even organised its annual meeting for its 45 Global Network delegates to be held at WFS. Given that these conferences are where the football industry meets, it made sense to LaLiga for their get together to be held at this venue as well. As Óscar Mayo put it: “WFS provides a unique platform for the delegates and their partners to come together with clubs, brands and other stakeholders and discuss future actions and explore business opportunities.”
The work done, the events put together and the connections achieved thanks to the Global Partnership between LaLiga and WFS over these past three years has been immense, and there’s much more to come thanks to the official renewal of this alliance.
The next steps of this collaboration will be on show as soon as March of this year, at the inaugural WFS Africa in Durban, South Africa. There, LaLiga will once again have a major presence as the likes of Javier Tebas, Óscar Mayo and South Africa Country Managing Director Marcos Pelegrín will all be speaking about the various topics.