Watch: WFS Live Day – Takeaways and Highlights

Watch: WFS Live Day – Takeaways and Highlights 595 334 WFS Live

Day three of #WFSLive saw leaders from across the global sports industry discuss a wide range of topics, spanning from fan engagement to the increasing trend of US investors venturing into European football. One of the most interesting points of the day was raised by FIFPRO’s Senior Legal Council Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud, who suggested that national team matches should be paused due to the pandemic because of the risk that they involve for players and clubs.


Jordan Gardner – Chairman & Co-Owner, FC Helsingor

“Entry points in European football are much lower than in North America. Franchise evaluations in North America are just getting to the point that they are outpricing a lot of potential investors. You can go to a second division in Spain, Italy, France or UK and you can buy a club for 15-20 million euros and that doesn’t necessarily exist in North America yet. I think there are opportunities to professionalise those clubs and add best practices from North America to create a lot of value from a financial perspective.”


Patrick Massey – Partner, Portas Consulting

“In the last 18 months, we’ve seen growing interest in a wider range of sports businesses. I’m really confident that, as we go forward, we’ll see more of these types of investments into football leagues in Europe, both in the bigger established leagues and also the smaller leagues. Firstly, we’re seeing investors really recognising that there’s a lot of value left on the table in football leagues in Europe, a real belief that they’re potentially sub-optimised compared to US competitions”.


Simon Chadwick – Director of Eurasian Sport | Professor of Eurasian Sport, EM Lyon Business School

“It’s really important that we understand the process of fan engagement rather than just use the phrase and try to be creative and respondent to it. I see fan engagement as a combination of motives, attitudes and behaviours and understanding people’s motives at this time is really important. There are going to be people out there who have lost their jobs, maybe they’ve been furloughed, maybe they’re going to be living in a high tax economy, so suddenly their motives may shift, considerably in some cases and inevitably leans into their attitudes towards being a fan.”


Alexandre Dreyfus – CEO and Founder, Socios.com

“Sports is almost the only industry that hasn’t been disrupted in the last 30 years. Travel, food, retail, banking, they have all been disrupted, but sport hasn’t. We have been selling the same product through the same channels. Now it’s evolving a little bit in terms of distribution and broadcasting, but the business itself of B2C and retail hasn’t changed. I believe that Covid-19 will invite to think slightly different.”


Marc Armstrong – Chief Partnerships Officer, PSG

“Sporting objectives are the number one thing, nothing made us happier than getting to the Champions League final this year. But if we go back in seasons, when we had an earlier exit than we would have hoped, we still had very strong result because of the things we were doing off the pitch. It’s about creating a point of difference between the core things that we do. If you can marry the sporting side with the things you do off the pitch you get the winning formula.”


Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud – Senior Legal Counsel, FIFPRO

“Last year, before the pandemic, we published a report showing that high-profile footballers were really pushed to the limit, putting their health and clubs at risk as a consequence. This is because they will get more injured than normal as they play so much. And this was before the pandemic: just imagine now that calendar is compressed. That’s why we think that now international duties have to be ‘on the bench’, let’s say. We need to focus on club duties, this is the players’ job.”


Jean Baptiste Alliot – Innovation Strategy Specialist, UEFA

“The Euro2020 organisation is planning different scenarios so that we are ready no matter what happens. If we are very lucky and there are great news regarding a vaccine, we can have fans in the stands. Otherwise, just like we did with the Champions League last season, we will play in a bubble and without fans or with a limit on the number of fans.”


Victor Guevara – Managing Director Operations, Development and Competitions. LigaMX

“We’ve had our joint venture with MLS since 2018. In 2020 we had the plan to expand our Leagues Cup and to expand our unique All Star Game between them and Liga MX. But this joint venture is not only about sport, it’s about best practice between both leagues, to collaborate for the 2026 World Cup, and it’s a good opportunity to improve the capabilities of the region, and not only the continent, along with CONCACAF.”


Athanasios Andreou – Lead Consultant, NTT Data Italia
“We have created a biometric, personalised ticketing system to give fans access to the stadium and protect them from the virus. It’s really easy: we take information from the tests and vaccines that have been carried out to know which fans cannot spread the virus. Hence, we make sure that only those people have access to the stadium.”


Andy Levinson – Senior Vice President, Tournament Administration, PGA Tour

“We want to be at the point where every week fans will be able to see not just the shot that’s being hit and shown on television, but every single shot. We have 144 players on the field, maybe 70 players playing at one time, but yet you can only show one shot on television. We would like to get to the point where we have personalised video feeds of every single shot so people can watch their favourite players, watch the action on a particular hole and so forth.”

Watch: WFS Live Day 2 – Takeaways and Highlights

Watch: WFS Live Day 2 – Takeaways and Highlights 598 335 WFS Live

Day 2 of our second edition of WFS Live saw leaders from across the industry discuss how sport’s properties need to rethink both competitions and business models in order to adapt to new technology and consumer’s changing habits.

In the day’s closing panel, the Chairman and Founder of Aser Ventures, Andrea Radrizzani, and the CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, Scott O’Neil, agreed that the current distribution model is not matching the demand and the opportunity that technology gives to reach community, to reach niche, to reach a bigger audience, to reach people at different prices and different power consumptions.


Lisa Zimouche – Freestyle footballer

“Authenticity is important, being genuine. If you support something, if you want to speak about a social issue, it has to be authentic because people will feel it. And action is very important. Being on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is important, having a platform to speak is important, but action to me means more than just words. Social media is good, but action is even more important.”

Maheta Molango – Principal, 3MS Consulting

“I think there is a huge opportunity in Europe in terms of increasing the amount of money fans spend on match-day. There is a huge gap between what fans spend here in Europe and what they do in the US. For me, the starting point is that if I want them to spend more money, I need to know much more about them. The digital, today, allows you to know who they are, the preferences they have, how they behave.”

Imanol Eguskiza – Innovation Manager, FC Barcelona

“FC Barcelona is generating more than 120 Teras of essential video data every year. For the last four years, Pixellot has been supplying us with top level technology enabling us not only to centralize and manage all the video content, avoiding any loss of such a huge amount of data, but also automatically triggering 16 unattended recording camera systems that we have deployed in all our fields. These systems are capturing every day all the games from the first football team to the youngest academy teams and the various sport sections.”

Justin Toman – Head of Sports Marketing, PepsiCo

“Nearly 40% of Gen Z’s are influenced by social media in their purchases, that’s what’s truly driving the decisions and the eyeballs of these consumers. We are pivoting all our marketing initiatives to make sure we are accounting for that and really making that a focal point. Any campaign or any platform we do we start planning them by saying ‘how is this going to be consumed digitally? How can we bring consumers and fans closer to this great event that not everybody can come to, but how can we reach millions of people by giving them digital content?”

Ramón Alarcón – CBO, Real Betis

“You can buy advertising wherever you want, but in an institution like Real Betis, with a lot of engagement and a lot of loyalty, we have to generate engagement with some values that create a link between us and the community… Some years ago, sponsors were asking for digital assets, but now they are asking for values, to create a story.”

Juan Carlos Rodríguez – President of Sports, Univision

“Data will be the core engine of growth in the future. If you take into account the capability to personalize the broadcast, plus the zero-latency of the 5G, plus the data generated by companies like Driblab and by the audience, you can create a new business that is live gambling during the games. The future of the growth broadcasting and the value of rights and players will be fueled by this new revenue stream.”

Peter Hutton – Director, Sports Partnerships, Facebook

“One of the things that I find really frustrating with the football calendar at the moment is the interruption of the leagues’ season for the international weekend, which doesn’t feel meaningful… Putting all the International football together in the summer, as the World Cup does perfectly, is a great way of building a story, of having something that sponsors and broadcasters can get behind. The current model where you drop in a couple of games is the real weakness of the current calendar. I love international football, but it’s got to have context and a story, and it doesn’t feel like it has on international weekends.”

Luis Vicente – Group CEO, Eleven Sports

“Today you have a massive amount of young girls choosing football as their preferred sport, and one of the things they like is that it has a much more open environment than the men’s version of the game. That’s definitely a massive opportunity. Commercial partners, broadcasters, all the big weaponry that made the men’s game what it is, is very interested in supporting women’s football. If we have the right strategy, this will be one of the biggest sports that the world has ever seen in the years to come.”

Scott O’Neil – CEO, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment

“As we think about how we build for the future, we need to focus on data and content. Those are the two keys that will lead us into the next decade or so. You can add on a third leg of that stool, which is what we call ‘data seen direct-to-consumer’ and the capability to actually find new consumers. We as a sports industry, in particular the team space, we need to get a lot better, a lot quicker.”

Andrea Radrizzani – Founder and Chairman, Aser Ventures

“I strongly believe that, on the sports side, distribution, at the moment with the traditional pay TV, is not matching the demand and the opportunity that technology gives to reach community, to reach niche, to reach a bigger audience, to reach people at different prices and different power consumptions. We need to redesign the distribution model that has been active and been around for 20 years, because now I think we are missing opportunities to create more various rights holders”.

Watch: WFS Live Day 1 – Takeaways and highlights

Watch: WFS Live Day 1 – Takeaways and highlights 573 314 WFS Live

WFS LIVE kicked off today with six insightful panel discussions that saw leaders from across the global sports industry reflect on how the different stakeholders can contribute to making football a more purpose driven sport and business. As Common Goal Founder Jürgen Griesbeck pointed out, the industry will necessarily need to shift “from a charity and giving back perspective on contribution to a DNA  perspective” in order to engage with modern fans, who according to different experts “vote with their values.”

“If you misalign with their values, whether it’s all the safety values for athletes that you’re not looking at or it’s social injustice that you’re not addressing or it’s gender inequality, there’s a whole list of things,” former olympic champion and CEO of Sports Innovation Lab Angela Ruggiero said, “there’s a misalignment and these fluid and more fickle fans may not buy your tickets or watch your content.”

Jacques-Henri Eyraud – CEO, Olympique Marseille

“Let’s face it: football doesn’t have a good image. Football is the universal sport, the number 1 source of entertainment across the world, but I don’t think we have a great image. We certainly need to improve it and that should be very high on the agenda, on our list of priorities and even more so after the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Jürgen Griesbeck – Co-Founder, Common Goal

“It’s not too harsh to say that football has been living in a bubble, where it didn’t have to question itself too much because despite the financial crisis or the crisis in reputation of some of its institutions, it just has continued to grow year over year. Maybe now it’s the time for football to accept that it can play a leading role, and not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it is the smart thing to do, and move from a charity and giving back perspective on contribution to more of a DNA  perspective.”

Lisa Baird – Commissioner, NWSL

“I do think that legislation and quotas can play a role for countries that need to come a little quicker, but I also think that we should be equally talking about how women are driving success in sports. That’s happening now, we don’t have to say: ‘put us there because we are women’, but ‘put us there because we are successful’. That’s a new part of the conversation that I think we should all be incredibly proud of.”

Ebrü Koksal – Chair, Women in Football

“Women’s football is like a blank white page. On one hand, men’s football can be extremely crowded in terms of the sponsor’s ability to activate the sponsorship rights and the message that they are giving, but women’s football still represents predominantly all the values that football was initially meant to be. It’s more about family values, more about competition and technical abilities on the pitch. That’s why brands like Barclays, Visa, Nike or Budweiser, who saw this significant opportunity, are benefiting from the first-comers advantage.”

Loretta Claiborne – Chief Inspiration Officer; Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Special Olympics

“I was always told to shut up, we don’t want to hear from you. They used the “r” word, which is “retard”. We don’t use that anymore, we use intelectual disability because first of all we are people first. When I look back at my life and I think about today, this whole thing with Covid-19, being a person with intelectual disability, we’ve been isolated all our lives.”

Arianna Criscione – Player, Paris Saint-Germain

“I don’t think any athlete has the obligation to speak up if that’s not what they believe or that’s not their platform or if they don’t know where their voice comes from. As an athlete, your obligation is to play your sport or to perform the way you want. Any person, if you have a platform that you want to use in order for social change because it’s something you truly believe in, then I think you should step up and speak, but I don’t think that just because you are an athlete you should step up.”

Charlotte Kirby – Vice President Global Strategic Relations, Sales Force

“CSR can no longer be a tick box exercise on an annual report. I’ve heard so many people say things like ‘you can’t just paint fences and call that giving back’, ‘you can’t just put your name on a football shirt and say that that is part of your philanthropic giving’. Society has moved on from that.”

Angela Ruggiero –
CEO of Sports Innovation Lab

“One key component of a fluid fan is that they vote with their values. If you misalign with their values, whether it’s all the safety values for athletes that you’re not looking at or it’s social injustice that you’re not addressing or it’s gender inequality, there’s a whole list of things. There’s a misalignment and these fluid and more fickle fans may not buy your tickets or watch your content.”

Johan Djourou – Footballer, FC Nordsjælland

“This image that athletes are just robots and that they are there to win the points or the league but they don’t have feelings. That’s totally wrong because at the end of the day we play with our emotions. When we are on the pitch, we play with what we have in our guts and in our hearts, we give everything to try to win and to make the people that follow us happy, so we definitely have hearts and feelings.”

Juan Mata – Footballer, Manchester United / Co-Founder, Common Goal

“I have been lucky enough to play for a number of years as a professional football player and win trophies and live incredible experiences thanks to football. But to be able to be a part of a movement which is trying to use the power of football as a social tool for change, I feel that it’s creating a legacy, that after we stop playing football we will feel proud that we started a way in which people can actually help. It gives me an incredible sense of pride, of hope and of passion for what I do on the pitch, but specially off the pitch.”

Dan Burrows – Senior Director, EMEA | Social & Community Impact, Nike

“It’s important that we recognise the role that purpose marketing or messaging has to inspire people to take actions. I think there is a really genuine role that purpose marketing can lead. I think that has to go hand in hand, as it goes at Nike, with direct investment into communities and it really being focused on impact and really looking to measure that impact as well.”

LIVENow x WFS Live

LIVENow to provide global on-demand broadcast of WFS Live

LIVENow to provide global on-demand broadcast of WFS Live 1920 1080 WFS Live

World Football Summit and LIVENow have joined forces to broadcast WFS Live sessions live to industry professionals around the world.

For the first time, viewers can gain on-demand live access to the 40+ conferences, keynotes, roundtables and Q/A sessions that will take place from November 23-27.

LIVENow is home to amazing live experiences and aims to entertain, engage and educate. Sports, concerts, workouts, stand-up comedy, inspirational speakers and more are broadcast to screens around the world.

And now, LIVENow will broadcast WFS Live, allowing viewers at home to watch inspiring keynotes, talks, panels and roundtable discussions from the comfort of home. The three packages include:

  • Full Access Pass at €19.99 – watch all sessions across the five-day programme, live
  • Day Pass at €9.99 – screen all sessions of any particular day as they happen
  • Panel Pass at €2.99 – view a particular session of interest in real time

Over 100 top-notch speakers from across the global industry will be taking the virtual stage to discuss and engage around the most pressing issues affecting the business of sports, from the financial effects and implications of the Covid-19 pandemic to the increasing role of professional athletes as social activists.

WFS Live‘s inaugural edition, in July 2020, gathered over 150+ speakers and 3,400+ attendees from over 120 countries, and this second edition is set to be even bigger.

During the inaugural WFS Live attendees made 10,000+ contacts, engaged in 10,000+ discussions and shared 22,000+ messages.

For more information and to book your spot at #WFSLive through LIVENow‘s platform, CLICK HERE.

Harder and Lewandowski

Lewandowski and Harder best players, German football wins big at WFSIA

Lewandowski and Harder best players, German football wins big at WFSIA 1194 896 WFS Live

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) is the big winner of the 2020 WFS Industry Awards, presented annually by World Football Summit; where Robert Lewandowski and Pernille Harder also became the inaugural Best Player winners.

The DFL claimed two categories: Best Executive presented by Nolan Partners, awarded to its CEO Christian Seifert, and Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League, awarded to the Bundesliga Match Facts powered by Amazon Web Services.

In addition, one of the Bundesliga’s most iconic players, Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, outvoted his teammate Joshua Kimmich and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to win Best Male Player presented by As. Danish player Pernille Harder, runner-up in the women’s UEFA Champions League last year with Wolfsburg before joining Chelsea, was named Best Female Player ahead of Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon) in second and Jenni Hermoso (Barcelona) in third.

As CEO of the DFL, Seifert led the Bundesliga’s successful restart, becoming the first elite football competition to return after the Covid-19 lockdown, setting the standards for many others to follow. 

Seifert beat Helsingor Chairman Jordan Gardner and Larry Freedman, President of Los Angeles FC, to become the fourth executive awarded with this prize after Gustavo Silikovich (former River Plate CEO), Giuseppe Marotta (former Juventus CEO) and Darren Eales (President of Atlanta United).

Spain’s LaLiga was also successful at this year’s awards, with Real Club Celta taking home the prize for the Best Internationalisation Strategy presented by Deloitte and Santander, the league’s main sponsor, being crowned the inaugural winner of the debuting Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sports category.

The Spanish club, who saw off Mediapro Canada and Asia Pacific Events in the final three, achieved a significant growth in key markets over the past twelve months; boosting its fanbase in strategic areas such as Asia, South America or the United States. 

Santander, the bank of world football, was awarded for ‘Fieeld’, an initiative developed together with its partners LaLiga, CONMEBOL and UEFA to bring blind people closer to the full experience of watching a football match. 

Visa, who has marked its largest investment to date within the women’s game through continued support of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and a multi-year partnership with UEFA, claimed the award for Best Women’s Football Initiative presented by Women in Football, whilst Horizm – a world leading digital asset pricing platform for sports and entertainment – clinched Best Supplier presented by SportsTechX

Other winners saw Asociación Deportivo Cali (Colombia) take home the Best Club Commercial Initiative presented by McCann, the recently inaugurated Allegiant Stadium, the Las Vegas Raiders high-tech field of dreams named Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia, and Dream a Dream winning the Football for Good presented by Common Goal category. 

The WFS StartCup by GSIC was won by Immersiv.io, a French startup aiming to reinvent fan engagement in sport through augmented reality. 

Awards will be handed virtually as part of WFS LIVE, the digital event that will bring the global football community together from November 23-27 to build the industry’s roadmap towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all stakeholders. The closing day will be devoted to honouring the winners, who will take the virtual stage for a 20-minute interview that will be streamed on the WFS LIVE platform.

Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General

Fatma Samoura signs: FIFA Secretary General to close WFS Live

Fatma Samoura signs: FIFA Secretary General to close WFS Live 1200 650 WFS Live

World Football Summit is proud to announce that FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura has joined the line-up of speakers for the upcoming WFS Live digital event that will see football’s global stakeholders come together around the main issues affecting the industry from November 23-27. Samoura will be the guest speaker at the event’s closing session on Friday November 27 at 5.20pm (CET).

Samoura – recently inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame alongside trailblazing women such as Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hillary Rodham Clinton – was appointed as FIFA’s first female and first African Secretary General in its 116-year history in 2016.

Prior to joining FIFA, Samoura spent 21 years working on high level United Nations (UN) programmes in Italy, the Republic of Djibouti, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, Madagascar, Nigeria, Central America and Central West Asia. Throughout her diplomatic and humanitarian career, her leadership and vision has helped empower women and young people, change lives and protect the environment.

Samoura’s experience in complex development, socio-economics and security, as well as her humanitarian values, have made her a strategic figure in the exemplary set of reforms lead by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, playing a key role in promoting best governance practices, tackling any kind of discrimination and, ultimately, making football truly global.

Samoura will speak with sports broadcaster Carol Tshabalala about her path to FIFA, her work alongside its president Infantino to use football as a tool to bring about positive development, her commitment to championing diversity and much more.

This will be Samoura’s second time participating in a WFS event following the keynote address she delivered at WFS17 in Madrid, where she spoke about what she listed as FIFA’s top priorities: “Promoting development, gender equality and most importantly good governance”.

“We are delighted to have Fatma Samoura speaking at WFS Live. At World Football Summit we believe that for football to continue being the world’s most popular game all stakeholders must acknowledge the need to embed social purpose at the heart of the industry,” said World Football Summit director, Jan Alessie. “No one can provide a more valuable testimony than someone that has a proven record of promoting social development across the globe.”

Widely considered the most influential women in sport, Samoura leads a stellar line-up of speakers that includes key decision makers from across the industry such as NWSL Commissioner, Lisa Baird; football agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola; Google Head of Sports, Entertainment and Marketing, Kate Johnson; HBSE CEO Scott O’Neil; FIFA Council Member María Sol Muñoz; Founder and Chairman of Aser Ventures, Andrea Radrizzani; and LaLiga President Javier Tebas, to name a few.

Mino Raiola, Daniele Boccucci, Jonathan Barnett

Super agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola to share same stage at WFS Live

Super agents Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola to share same stage at WFS Live 2560 1440 WFS Live

Jonathan Barnett and Mino Raiola – respectively named Forbes’ No.1 and No.5 most powerful sports agents in 2019 – will share the WFS Live stage on Thursday, November 26 (4:05pm CET) in what will be one of the most hotly anticipated panels of our second edition.

Barnett and Raiola, who represent some of the biggest names in the sport, will be joined by The Football Forum director Daniele Boccucci and renowned Italian football journalist Gianluca Di Marzio who will moderate the panel.

Up for debate in their Setting the record straight: Understanding football agents like never before panel will be the future of agents and players.

This comes amid a backdrop of calls from FIFA to bring greater scrutiny to the finances behind transfer and contractual negotiations, as well as counters from the likes of Barnett and Raiola that have previously warned of legal action over possible salary caps.

Widely considered one of the most powerful sports agents in the world, Barnett founded The Stellar Group in 1992 alongside David Manasseh and has since transformed Stellar into one of the biggest agencies in the world.

Barnett – named Forbes’ 2019 No.1 Sports Agent in the world – gained prominence for his role in brokering Gareth Bale’s record-move to Real Madrid in 2013 and this year saw his Stellar Group acquired by Hollywood talent agency ICM.

It’s very easy to explain who Mino Raiola is. One should simply recall the names of the players he assisted from the 90s until today and ask them to talk about Mino Raiola. In fact, he combines his extraordinary professional expertise with a personal relationship with the players that is exemplified in one of the main claims of its company: “We are family”. He was also named in the top-five of Forbes’ 2019 list of the most powerful sports agents on the planet.

Established in 2019, The Football Forum – of which Boccucci is a director – describes itself as “an international movement of football agents and players” that aims to develop best practice and maintain the highest employment standards for its members and beyond.

Boccucci was formerly with the Court of Arbitration for Sport before joining The Football Forum, that has Forbes’ top-four football agents in the world on its board: Barnett, Raiola, Jorge Mendes, and Roger Wittmann.“To secure your spot at #WFSLive and make sure you don’t miss out on this meeting of the Super Agents, you can book your ticket HERE.

WFSIA Best Male Player finalists

Robert Lewandowski and Pernille Harder top list of 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists

Robert Lewandowski and Pernille Harder top list of 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists 2560 1440 WFS Live

Footballers Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and Pernille Harder (Chelsea FC), Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert, the Allegiant Stadium, Visa, Santander, Twitter and the Eredivisie are among the finalists for the 2020 WFS Industry Awards.

Presented annually by World Football Summit, WFSIA acknowledges and rewards the achievements of executives, managers, sponsors, agencies, media, NGOs and other professionals whose talent, passion and dedication help make football the world’s most popular sport.

Lewandowski, winner of the 2020 UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich, will face his team mate Joshua Kimmich and FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in a quest to win the first-ever Best Male Player presented by As.

For the Best Female Player award, Denmark’s Harder, runner-up in the women’s Champions League with Wolfsburg, will face France’s Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnaise) and Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso (FC Barcelona).

These categories were added this year to reward the efforts of professional footballers, the great protagonists of this sport together with the fans, across one of the most difficult years in the history of the game.

For the Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sport, another category added this year, finalists are: SciSports and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) for the eQuality Index; Banco Santander, LaLiga, Conmebol and UEFA, for Fieeld; and Lega Serie A for Virtual Coach.

Eredivisie CV, for the Eredivisie Shirt Festival, and the German Bundesliga, for Bundesliga Match Facts (powered by AWS), made it to the final in the Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League, the last category debuting this year. Their rival will be international OTT platform Eleven Sports.

Twitter, one of the world’s leading digital platforms also made it to the final of the WFS Industry Awards, but in the category of Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia. The jury has highlighted the effort that the social media platform has done over the past months to provide a meeting point for football fans all over the world to share their passion for the game while access to physical venues was banned due to Covid-19. The Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas, USA) and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (London, UK) are the other two finalists.

Winners of all categories will be announced on November 16 and awards will be handed virtually as part of WFS LIVE, the digital event that will bring the global football community together from November 23-27 to build the industry’s roadmap towards a brighter and more sustainable future for all stakeholders. The closing day of this event will be devoted to honouring the winners, who will take the virtual stage for a 20-minute interview that will be streamed on the WFS LIVE platform.

All the 2020 WFS Industry Awards finalists:

Best Male Player presented by As
– Joshua Kimmich  – Bayern Munich
– Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
– Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona

Best Female Player presented by As
– Pernille Harder – Chelsea Football Club   
– Jennifer Hermoso – FC Barcelona
– Wendie Renard – Olympique Lyonnaise

Best Executive presented by Nolan Partners
– Larry Freedman – Los Angeles FC
– Jordan Gardner – FC Helsingør
– Christian Seifert – DFL

Best Venue presented by Mondo Stadia
– Allegiant Stadium
– Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
– Twitter

Best Club Commercial Initiative presented by McCann
– Asociación Deportivo Cali
– Club Deportivo Juan Grande Femenino
– Real Betis Balompié

Best Women’s Football Initiative presented by Women in Football
– Football Association Of Norway / Football For All In Vietnam Project
– Special Olympics,
– 16Over90 & Visa

Best Internationalisation Strategy presented by Deloitte
– Asia Pacific Events
– Mediapro Canada
– RC Celta

Outstanding Innovation Initiative presented by N3XT Sports
– Banco Santander & LaLiga, Conmebol and UEFA for Fieeld
– Lega Serie A for Virtual Coach
– SciSports & KNVB for eQuality Index

Best Digital Platform presented by Seven League
– DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
– Eleven Sports
– Eredivisie CV

Football for Good presented by Common Goal
– Diogenis MKO
– Dream a dream
– Indochina Starfish Foundation

Best Supplier presented by SportsTechX
– Horizm
– Live Penalty
– You First Sports – KNOT

WFS StartCup by GSIC
– Beyond Sport
– Idoven
– Immersive.io

Some of the football industry's finest will return to the WFS stage once more.

Football industry’s finest return at WFS Live for post-coronavirus panel

Football industry’s finest return at WFS Live for post-coronavirus panel 2416 1667 WFS Live

The second edition of WFS Live will see the return of one of our most popular panels as we get the band back together once more to bring some of the football industry’s finest to the stage: Ricardo Fort (Coca-Cola), Peter Hutton (Facebook), Ralf Reichert (ESL) and Luis Vicente (Eleven Sports).

The quartet will look at sport post-covid in a panel titled: Venturing into 2021 with confidence in what is sure to be a good humoured, insightful and unpredictable part of our WFS Live programme, although one thing is for certain; Fort will produce a bottle of Coca-Cola.

This will be the third time that these industry experts have come together in a virtual WFS space, with their debut appearance coming at our Talking Sport series in partnership with Eleven Sports back in May when the football industry was first coming to terms with coronavirus.

There, Vicente’s words proved prophetic when you see the English Premier League’s introduction of a pay-per-view broadcasting model.

He said: “I think the gaming industry models will be a massive influence for the traditional sports industry, because I really believe that micro-subscriptions will be key. Digital micro-transactions in pay-per-view will be essential and advertising will become more robust.”

Reichert also spoke on how gaming and eSports were big winners during that period as traditional sports leveraged the space with no live sport of their own to engage with.

“To grow 20% in this time in games is really shitty,” commented Reichert. “Most of these companies have grown 100-300%. Amateur tournaments have grown 5x compared to one year ago, while the viewership for eSports tournaments has grown 3x. Gaming is the big beneficiary of this.”

Both were back when WFS Live launched in July, as was Hutton whose insight into the world’s biggest social media platform was fascinating as he told us how Facebook is looking to make content more discoverable.

Hutton said: “I think it’s important that we make it easier and easier for people to find relevant content and you’ll see a huge area of curation coming into Facebook now, as well as a clear focus on how you get to the content you care about.”

Completing the lineup is Fort, who this year was named as one of our WFS Icon Speakers thanks to his mixture of good humour, ambush marketing and vast knowledge of sponsorship that he brings to the WFS stage. As evidenced by Fort’s assessment of the changing relationship between sponsors and content as a result of this global pandemic.

“The experience of watching football with empty venues is not the best but that content can be very helpful for brands to tell stories elsewhere” said Fort. “We have to use it in different, more creative ways, through digital platforms,.”

This group are must-watch, compulsive viewing so make sure you don’t miss out on their trilogy panel when we bring the band back together at day two of #WFSLive on Tuesday, 24 November.

WFSIA Best Male Player award nominees

WFSIA Best Player nominations: Lewandowski, Messi, Bronze and Harder make final 30

WFSIA Best Player nominations: Lewandowski, Messi, Bronze and Harder make final 30 2560 1440 WFS Live

Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Lucy Bronze and Pernille Harder head the 30-strong list of World Football Summit Industry Awards (WFSIA) Best Player nominations released today.

The first ever WFSIA Best Male Player and Best Female Player awards – in partnership with leading Spanish news website AS – saw two 15 long-lists drawn up by some of Spain’s top journalists.

And now, fans will be able to vote for who of those final 30 names they think should take home the award on 16 November – a week ahead of WFS Liveby voting HERE on the AS website.

Final votes will be weighted by 25% of fan nominations and 75% of our jury – made up of football journalists from AS, El País and Cadena Ser.

Three finalists for each Best Player category will be unveiled on 11 November, and the winners revealed five days later.

The Best Player awards were added to this year’s WFSIA – which is already considering 80 vetted candidates from 31 countries all over the world across the other nine categories – in order to celebrate and reward the efforts of players who have helped bring entertainment back into our lives following the global coronavirus pandemic.

As World Football Summit director Jan Alessie put it when the Best Player awards were announced: “We believe that this is a good moment to add to our WFS Industry Awards a category that rewards the work of the players, who are together with the fans the great protagonists of this game and this business.”

Here are the 30 finalists in full:


WFSIA Best Female Player award nominees

Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyon), Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon/Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash/West Ham), Debinha (North Carolina Courage), Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Chelsea), Jenni Hermoso (FC Barcelona), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars/Chelsea), Dzsenifer Marozsán (Olympique Lyon), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Lena Oberdorf (Essen/Wolfsburg), Sandra Paños (FC Barcelona), Alexia Putellas (FC Barcelona), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)


WFSIA Best Player Award nominations

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Sadio Mané (Liverpool), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)