World Football Summit's CEO Jan Alessi during the 2023 Football Innovation Forum.

London Calling! Join us for the 2024 Football Innovation Forum

· by World Football Summit

As the 2024 edition of Football Innovation Forum (FIF) approaches, we want to take a look back at everything that was discussed in the 2023 edition

At World Football Summit, we are committed to finding drivers of growth in the football industry. As the landscape for football consumption evolves with the generational change, globalisation simultaneously opens up new markets and shields away others, and technology develops at a pace that, for most, is hard to keep up in financial terms, the industry sits at a crossroads. And the only way forward is to innovate.

That is why we created Football Innovation Forum, an international event focused on the economic power of innovation with top executives in the sport industry. On the span of one day, we organise discussions that are, first, focused on the economic power of innovation and, second, attempt to spearhead the adoption of new models and technology as a means of renovating what is already becoming a stale approach to the business.

Coinciding with the 2023 Champions League final, played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul between English club Manchester City and Italian club Inter Milan, FIF flew to Turkey for its 2023 edition to set up an event with over 200 guests, 23 speakers, more than 50 clubs leagues and federations, and six panels where international experts shared knowledge about technology, digital transformation, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

As the date for the 2024 edition gets closer, we want to take a look back at everything we discussed in the 2023 edition, to set up the themes for what promises to be the biggest Football Innovation Forum so far.


Sports aren’t enough anymore: once a space reserved for football matches, they are now opening up to everything from other sports, like the NFL, which will play in both London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu, to weddings, dinners and Beyonce or Taylor Swift concerts.

But why are they doing it? The answer was discussed in our ‘Beyond Innovation: Maximising the potential of your stadium panel’ powered by LALIGA. ”You never know what’s going to happen on the pitch”, said panelist Milos Nenadovic, Head of the Business Infrastructure vertical of the LaLiga Impulso project. “So, even though the quality of your product is outside your control, you have power over everything around the experience of it”.


With innovation in football becoming the gateway to a profitable business model, investments made need to always have an eye on the future, so our panel ‘Investing in Talent & Technology: A definitive How-to in securing the future’ gathered experts who have been doing that in their fields, like Yigit Arslan, Alternative Investments Director at Istanbul Portfoy.

“Technology in sports and media has seen the domains change a lot”, he explained. “My biggest advice to startups would be that they should always be engaged in investments – and have a good understanding of how you are investing. When it comes to content and media, if there is an inefficiency, it is important to address that with technology. There needs to be a very good understanding of the stakeholder environment and the ecosystem. ”


Following up on the importance of technology, our panel ‘Transforming Digitally: The necessary steps to stay ahead in 2023’ explored the lessons from digitalisation as we enter a world of AI and other technologies, which will allow the sports industry to reach younger audiences with the combined help of storytelling.”

“Football is not the most innovative sport, but that can change by focusing on the financial assets of entities, such as branding and technology”, explained panelist Dr. Amine Arezki, CEO & Founder of MarkaMotion. “Thanks to innovative business models, we give access to visibility for small businesses and clubs by targeting the right audiences according to the interests in different areas of these enterprises.”


Of course, none of this would be possible without a good strategy. And that is what many clubs are focusing on. As discussed in our panel ‘A Sustainable Future: Time for action is here and now’, sustainability is a word often associated with the environment, but the industry takes it as an all-around endeavor: creating a sustainable business means being able to power measures that benefit both the longevity of the club as well as of nature.

“If you want a sustainable future, you need to align the financial results of the game with the supporting results”, said panelist Serdar Yildiz, CEO of Sports ERP. “In a classic club, when you go higher than your expectations, you’ll make a profit. When you go below those expectations, you’ll make losses. But you need to create a self-hedging mechanism through your contracts to prevent you from having a deficit on the financial side”.


Technology and innovation will provide more power to those who make our favorite sport happen, the players. By being able to access greater amounts of data, they will be able to maximize performance, explore new commercial opportunities, and have greater control over their career.

Maheta Molango, Chief Executive at Professional Footballers Association (PFA) put it this way during the panel: “There is a traditional way of looking at football, which involves the player’s emotions, experiences and environment, while the new era that involves data, does not capture this and I think it is essential for the industry to try and look for the personal data of the players.


Finally, and in collaboration with Common Goal, an NGO whose aim is for footballers to donate 1% of their salary to charity projects and have been one of our most trusted partners over the years, we explored groundbreaking teamwork strategies and cutting-edge technologies transforming the world of football with our panel ‘Athletes today, Entrepreneur tomorrow: Radical collaborations innovate meaningful impact in football’.

Its founder, Jurgen Griesbeck, said that for him, “the most important thing is to create a conversation that football can help – it can help a lot. Common Goal is looking to help all the major stakeholders in football – be it clubs, leagues, federations or the fans.”


This year, the UEFA Championship final will be played in Wembley Stadium in London, which means our 2024 Football Innovation Forum will take place in the British capital. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host us for the event in what is a very significant reunion for us. Not only because of the stadium’s commitment to innovation as a means to transform the current business model of sports venues, but because it is a former WFS Awards winner for Best Venue.

Back in 2023, Daniel Levy, current chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, said: “We are truly honored to receive this prestigious award, which serves as a testament to our commitment to providing unparalleled fan experiences at our stadium. This recognition motivates us to continue setting the gold standard in stadium management across the global sports industry.”

If you are interested in taking part in 2024’s FIF, you can request your pass now. Join us, and become part of the future of the football industry.

Or if you require further information on how World Football Summit events can help your business thrive, make sure you fill out the form below and we will get in touch with you!