In just three years World Football Summit has not only become one of the landmark events of the global football industry but also a benchmark of entrepreneurial success.
Prestigious business schools worldwide, like Madrid’s IE (Instituto de Empresa) or the Johan Cruyff Institute, have shown interest in the story behind WFS and its successful model. Jan Alessie, Director of WFS, was recently invited by Borja García, director of the Master in Sport Management at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, to take part in the Sport Management Forum hosted by the British university internationally renowned for its sports-related courses and achievements.
Alessie shared his insights about the exciting moment that the sport industry is going through and the different business opportunities that it can provide, and also shared some of the key aspects that explain WFS’ rapid and constant growth since its first edition in 2016.
WFS has consolidated its flagship event in Madrid, with 120+ speakers and 2.300+ attendees from all over the world in 2018, and recently held the first edition of WFS Asia, with 1.600+ attendees and over 100 speakers. In 2020 the event will also travel to Durban (South Africa) for the first edition of WFS Africa.
Our director explained that World Football Summit was a personal bet of Nexus Fostering Partnership, the event promoter. “We believed that there was a real need for an event like this both in Spain and in Europe”, Alessie said. Thats why NFP was willing to face potential losses in its first event. Fortunately that never happened. WFS managed to break even, which was a “major achievement”.
Alessie listed the huge obstacles that WFS had to overcome to put together its first event. Obtaining financing and getting top speakers to participate in a congress that they had never even heard about before were the most challenging aspects. Ironically, the interest in the event has grown so much that three years later one of WFS’ most difficult tasks is to select speakers.
Funding and attracting top class speakers is precisely one of WFS’ success factors, as “great speakers attract attendees”. WFS has had some of the industry’s leading actors such as Andrea Agnelli, Chairman of Juventus and ECA, Javier Tebas, President of Spain’s LaLiga, Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s Secretary General, Miguel Angel Gil, Chairman of Atletico Madrid or Brazilian star Ronaldo Nazario, current president of LaLiga’s Real Valladolid.
Attracting the right sponsors and attendees, securing the appropriate mix of key stakeholders (club executives, leagues, associations, governing bodies, etc) and the most significant brands involved in the industry, are the other two keys to success, according to Alessie, for an event that above all is valued for its ability to provide networking opportunities in order to create important business connections.