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World Football Summit: FIFA World Cup Business Opportunities and Beyond

With the FIFA World Cup approaching, every business and investor needs to position themselves to take full advantage of the opportunities it presents. That makes this year’s World Football Summit a must-attend for anyone serious about capitalizing on both the World Cup and the broader football ecosystem. Here we take a look at the event, and what businesses can do to celebrate World Cup fever.

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With the 2022 FIFA football World Cup on the horizon, every man and his dog is at least aware that something big is brewing. And where there’s dogs, men, women, and children taking an interest, you just know that business is sure to follow.

For that reason alone, this year’s World Football Summit (WFS) is one event that should be on every business’s to-do list. Why? We’ll cover that soon. But first, here’s what’s ahead.

  • What the World Football Summit is all about
  • Why football is a massive business opportunity, especially in World Cup years
  • What businesses can do to make the most of this year’s world cup

Let’s get into it.

World Football Summit: What Is it and Why Does it Matter?

In one sentence, the World Football Summit is where the who’s who of world football network and discuss challenges and opportunities in the world’s game. And when we say the who’s who, we mean it — take a look at just a few names on the 150-name-long WFS speaker list

  • Peter Hutton – Meta
  • Cindy Parlow Cone – US Soccer
  • Emilio Butragueño – Real Madrid
  • Óscar Mayo- LaLiga
  • Jaume Roures – Mediapro
  • Alejandro Irarragorri – Orlegi Sports
  • Claire Bloomfield – European Club Association 

Okay, so maybe a few of those names aren’t football specific. But those that are — Real Madrid, LaLiga, etc. — pack a punch. And as for those that aren’t, well, they’re not exactly small fries in the business world.

On this point, Lucas Caneda, confirmed WFS attendee and Chief Operations Officer for CXSports, a digital sports monetization platform catering to teams, leagues, and athletes, says, “This is a must-attend for anyone in the football marketing business. Where else can you find such a density of decision makers in one place at the same time?”

Beyond Big Name Speakers, What Else Is There?

Like any good event, WFS presents a well-structured platform that covers every aspect of the broader ecosystem. This year’s event, for example, is organized around 11 major themes:

  • Performance
  • Sportstech
  • Partnerships and fan engagement
  • Investments and finance
  • Governance and legal
  • Purpose, sports integrity, and ethics
  • Women’s football
  • Sustainability
  • eSports
  • Blockchain, AI, and NFTs
  • Broadcasting (mainstream and OTT)

In a nutshell, there’s something at the event for everyone, from talent scouts out there on the fields to lawyers in boardrooms.

What About Business Opportunities?

Of course, we’re not here to discuss sports law or performance. What we’re really interested in here are the business opportunities. In particular, we’re looking at the networking opportunities WFS presents.

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So, first things first. WFS has six “speed networking” timeslots on its official schedule. Each is dedicated to a specific vertical, such as Partnerships & Fan Engagement. And if you remember a few names from the speaker list, you can be sure each will be attended by must-meet insiders working closely with the industry.

There are also a bunch of other networking opportunities scattered throughout the timetable, such as the obviously-named “Networking Breakfast” to the slightly more fun-sounding “Beer to beer.”

When and Where?

The next WFS event is this September 28-29, 2022, and will take place across multiple venues in Sevilla, Span.

For full details, head to the World Football Summit website here.

Business, Football, and the World Cup

While there’s no disputing football is big business — it is the world’s most popular sport — there’s something special about the FIFA World Cup. Much like the Olympics and other once-every-four-year events, the World Cup gets even non-sports fans crazy about the game.

To illustrate just how crazy, the 2018 World Cup audience numbers averaged around 517 million concurrent viewers across the event. To put that into perspective, that’s about five times what the NFL Super Bowl sees. And we all know what a commercial during that event costs (and if you don’t know, fair warning… it’ll make your eyes water).

What this presents for businesses is a massive opportunity to capitalize on the sentiment surrounding the event. After all, what speaks more to the people than national pride at a global event?

Here’s How Businesses Can Capitalize on It

Remember, the real power of the World Cup is that it draws all manner of people in. From out and proud football fanatics to the sports-phobic “I don’t even understand the rules, but I love my country” types.

Of course, how to capitalize on this really depends on the business you’re in and your budget. If you got the bucks, there’s the obvious advertising opportunity. But even the smallest of companies can do something.

Here’s a Couple of Ideas

At the very least, businesses should be putting on World Cup-themed events, or holding World Cup-based competitions. Even if it’s something as simple as a Facebook post asking, “Guess the winner of this year’s World Cup. Correct answers enter the draw to win a new [insert the product you want to promote here].”

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See, not that hard? And it’s guaranteed to at least get a few new eyes on your brand.

Alternatively, for the right type of business, holding in-store (or restaurant/bar/etc.) events is another great way to tap into World Cup fever. And when we say right type, we don’t just mean sports-oriented.

Just take a look at what other non-sports brands have done in previous years.

Mcdonald’s, for example, once held a “Tastes of the World” promotion for the World Cup where they created celebratory sandwiches inspired by top footballing countries like Italy, Argentina, France, and Uruguay. Great World Cup tie-in and a great way to spark new consumer interest in an otherwise everyday product.

And Don’t Forget — Football’s Big, Even Outside of World Cup Years

Of course, while non-World Cup years are maybe less relevant for certain businesses, football and business opportunities are an evergreen field of opportunities. You just need an ear on the ground, and decent network, and a willingness to strike while the iron’s hot.

Fortunately, the World Football Summit takes place multiple times per year, even in non-World Cup years for those who can’t make the European event.

As for beating getting in before the World Cup kicks off, that only leaves Durban, South Africa (November 16-17, 2022). But there are already confirmed events for 2023 for those more interested in the evergreen football opportunities.

(Featured image by Pixabay via Pexels)

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Angelique Moss is a London-based entrepreneur, writer, and traveller. The world of business, finance, and technology, is her preferred cup of tea. She also writes about the developments and discussions on health, art, luxury and media. A top writer for several Medium publications, she has published hundreds of widely read articles on investing, stocks, global markets, cannabis, and technology for multiple platforms. She is also interested in culture, history, and social affairs.