American Leagues

The Future of Football: Storytelling, Team Valuations, and Learning from American Leagues

· by World Football Summit

I recently had the pleasure of hosting Rayde Luis Baez, Founder at The Connect, on the World Football Summit Podcast. Let’s just say, if you’re still viewing sports as just “games,” you’re missing the bigger picture.

Storytelling: The Unsung Hero of Sports

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Simon Sinek might have said this in a different context, but the essence remains the same in sports. Rayde and I dove into the importance of storytelling in the sports world. Fans are not just spectators; they’re participants in a narrative that extends far beyond the 90-minute game.

Hot Take: The football industry is lagging behind in storytelling.

Our American counterparts in the NBA and NFL have mastered the art of narrative, from player backstories to team rivalries. Isn’t it time we catch up?


3 Quick Tips for Storytelling in Sports:

1. Humanize Your Players & Executives: Go beyond stats. Share their struggles, triumphs, and dreams.

The launch of David Beckham’s documentary is the latest example of this.


2. Create a Rivalry Narrative: These stories fuel fan engagement and fill stadiums.
3. Leverage Social Media: Use platforms like Instagram and TikTok to keep the story going, even during the off-season.

Valuations: A Reality Check for MLS and NWSL Teams

Money talks, but do we listen? The valuations of soccer teams in the MLS and NWSL are fascinating yet often misunderstood. We’re talking about franchises that are rapidly appreciating assets, the question is if these valuations are sustainable.

By the Numbers:

– Average MLS Team Valuation: $400 Million
– Average NWSL Team Valuation: $30 Million

Does it make sense that LACF has a $1 billion valuation and Newcastle has an approximate valuation of $794 million?


What can football learn from the main American Sports Leagues?

The American sports industry is more than just entertainment; it’s a masterclass in branding, monetization, and global reach. Each major league—the NBA, MLB, and NFL—brings a unique set of lessons to the table that the football industry would be wise to study.

The NBA: Crafting a Global Phenomenon

Globalization 101: The NBA isn’t just an American pastime; it’s a global phenomenon. Players from around the world, international fanbases, and games broadcasted in multiple languages have made the NBA a universal brand.

Key Takeaways for Football:

  • Storytelling bets must embrace the long term: Remember that the NBA started to film footage for The Last Dance in 1997!
  • Localized Marketing: Tailor your marketing strategies to engage international fans.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborate with global brands to expand your reach.

MLB: Balancing Innovation and Legacy

Tradition Meets Tech: Major League Baseball is a stellar example of how you can innovate without ditching your roots. Whether it’s incorporating analytics into the game or modernizing stadiums, MLB respects tradition while embracing the future.

Learn more about their approach in this great interview on McKinsey’s podcast.

Key Takeaways for Football:

  • Data-Driven Decision: Use analytics to deeply understand the fan experience and what about your sports product really adds value to it.
  • Preserve Cultural Elements: While innovating, make sure not to alienate your traditional fan base. Your fans connect with your sports property based on legacy, keep that in mind.
  • Sustainability: Incorporate eco-friendly practices into your stadiums and events, this is key to engaging the younger generations of fans as we discussed with Bas Schnater on the podcast.

The NFL: Building a Premium Experience

The ultimate premium sports product: Rayde said it best when he mentioned that the NFL balances “scarcity” and “quality” to create a fantastic premium sports product.

Key Takeaways for Football:

Final Whistle: Whether it’s the art of storytelling, understanding valuations, or taking lessons from American sports leagues, there’s a lot more to football than meets the eye. It’s time we stop playing catch-up and start leading the game.

Let’s disrupt the norm, question the status quo, and above all, elevate the beautiful game to new heights. It’s on us to build the football we want. The football we need.

Interested in hearing more about these topics? Check out the full podcast episode

This post is inspired by my conversation with Rayde Luis Baez. Special thanks to him for sharing his valuable insights on the World Football Summit podcast.

By Jaime Domínguez Pérez de Ayala, Chief Marketing Officer at World Football Summit