alejandro agag

Day 4 highlights: Simon Oliveira, Al Guido, Joe de Sena, the WFS StartCup and more

Day 4 highlights: Simon Oliveira, Al Guido, Joe de Sena, the WFS StartCup and more 1097 521 WFS Live

Day 4 of WFS Live powered by R9 saw leading social media experts discuss why athletes are becoming powerful influencers and why this trend is only just starting. Successful entrepreneurs like Alejandro Agag (Extreme E) or Joe de Sena (Spartan Race) exchanged views on what football can learn from other sports, whilst Barça’s Marta Plana and Pixellot CEO Alon Werber addressed the crucial role of technology in the “New Normal”. Plus, we had the semi-finals of the WFS StartCup by GSIC.

Simon Oliveira (KIN Partners) on who can become the LeBron James of football:
“If you look at the audiences of Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar I think they have the power of a Ferrari in their hands but they’re still learning to drive. They have enormous potential, some individually have more than the combined audience of The New York Times, The Washington Post and the LA Times put together. However, I think where LeBron was very clever was he very much identified what the content slate would be from his perspective. It was built around American black culture and things that he was passionate about. I think any footballer going to this are needs to be very clear as to what their identity is and what the content stream and platform should be for.”

Al Guido (49ers) on the need to embrace user-generated content
“We have 20 people on our content team capturing 49ers and other sports every single day. However, we have 10 million fans all over the world capturing 49ers content, so you have to embrace it. User-generated content is just another form of our 49ers Studio team. Last year, Live Nation and Ticketmaster had more reaction for tickets going on sale for the NFL season based on user-generated 30-second advertisements versus studio-recorded production quality, because people want to be in the action, they want to see what happens there.”
Alon Werber (Pixellot) on how automation and AI can save clubs post-Covid
“A lot of clubs in the world live on venue tickets and are going to lack revenue streams in the coming season, in which there are going to be severe restrictions on stadium attendance. Bringing quick and low cost production to allow them to continue connecting with their fans via a subscription model or through sponsorship deals can be almost a matter of life or death for these clubs in the coming season. At Pixellot we’ve been engaging AI and computer vision to film, produce and stream completely automatic games for 4 years and today we are installed in around 8,000 fields of 16 different sports. Last January we were producing live 100,000 hours of life events.”
Ricardo Dias (Ambev) on bringing content to people’s homes
“It’s time to stay at home. We are taking the opportunity to create new occasions for consumption. We are investing in e-commerce, lives and bringing them to people’s homes. It was not part of the plan, but it will certainly add a lot of value in the future.”
Diogo Kotscho (Orlando City SC) on creating and engaging digital communities

“At Orlando City, what worked was creating and engaging an entire community. As a result, today it is easier to see Orlando City flags, shirts and stickers around than Orlando Magic, the traditional NBA team and more related to tourism. We brought Kaká in the first year, which was important to start our journey with the fans.”

This is a time for the sports industry to be bold, experts urge

This is a time for the sports industry to be bold, experts urge 1240 580 WFS Live

The fact that the world has completed changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic can open up opportunities for the sports industry in terms of implementing changes that directors and commissioners wouldn’t dare consider in normal circumstances. While there may previously have been a fear of the negative feedback that could have come with shaking up certain areas, industry experts believe that this concern no longer exists given that the whole world has been shaken up anyway.

This was the view of the experts who took part in the ‘Sports Post-Covid: What Can Football Learn From Its Counterparts In Times Of Crisis?’ panel during WFS Live powered by Ronaldo. The guests for this panel were Al Guido, President of San Francisco 49ers and chairman of Elevate Sports Ventures, Alejandro Agag, CEO of Extreme E, Arnon de Mello, senior Vice President and managing director at NBA Latin America, and Joe de Sena, CEO and founder of The Spartan Race.

Michael Broughton, an advisor at Acceleration Equity, was the moderator of the panel and he got the conversation rolling. “Innovation needs a catalyst and the catalyst may have come in the most unexpected way,” Broughton said. “Fans may be a little more amenable to seeing things differ to the way they used to be,” he added, referring to the current situation.

Guido echoed that point with a fitting metaphor. He said: “With the NFL and the NBA, you might consider them as sort of ocean tankers. They’re hard to turn around because there is so much maturity in some of these businesses and their sport. Maybe their fans might have had a negative reaction if you’d tried to change something too much, but even that during this period is evolving. Even what players might be used to or what they might have signed up for. Now, you might see a coach who was saying ‘I’d never mic myself up’, but now they might put a mic on to bring fans closer. Because we all understand that we are in the most challenging time in our world.”

Agag followed on. “You have to take this time of the pandemic as an opportunity and you can do many things that, before, people were not ready to do,” he said, going on to give the example of virtual hospitality that is being implemented in Extreme E, the series of off-road races in remote parts of the world that wasn’t planning to have in-attendance fans in any case. As Agag explained: “It’s all about giving premium experiences to the corporate guests or to the fans at home, but they need to feel they’re different and have special access. Maybe one-on-one communication with the drivers, special cameras, special food, special merchandising or even a driving experience in their city with their favourite brands.”

In the NBA, they’re certainly planning to try out new technology and new methods, as De Mello told the WFS Live audience. He said, referring to the resumption of the 2019/20 NBA season, that: “We’re going to be testing a lot of new features. We’re going to have 30 cameras with different angles that nobody has ever seen.

While many of the innovations might be virtual, De Sena pointed out that in-person events have to be planned for too. Already some Spartan Race events have been held and De Sena reported back on the success of these, explaining that most people were open to coming along and running those races in a slightly different way to normal, with sanitary protocols in place. As De Sena said: “About 30% of the people are afraid and aren’t going to come to a stadium or an event. But, 70% of the people embraced it and followed the new protocols. I didn’t know if our consumers were going to play along. With the ones that showed up to the event, were they going to break all of the rules? By and large, everybody followed exactly the way they were supposed to.”

This panel took place during the fourth day of WFS Live, which is running from Monday July 6th to Friday July 10th. It is still possible to buy a ticket for the final day here, with all net proceeds to be donated to Fundação Fenômenos and the Common Goal Covid-19 Response Fund.

A selection of quotes from ‘Sports Post-COVID: What Can Football Learn From Its Counterparts In Times Of Crisis?’

Al Guido, on thinking outside the box to discover new revenue streams:
“I would say it’s incumbent upon all of us to find new ways to get revenue to come in the books. Things that we might have thought were off the books and couldn’t do and wouldn’t touch? We need to start thinking about the ability to do that. Whether that’s new sponsorship assets that are inside of television broadcasts. Whether that’s new distribution platforms. Whether that’s escape rooms. Whether that’s membership, as I saw what happened with BarçaTV and their membership platform with their fanbase. We’re all going to have to think through what the future of our revenue streams looks like.”

Alejandro Agag, on Fernando Alonso’s return to Formula 1:
“I think it’s great for Formula 1 to get Fernando Alonso back. I think he’s a great champion and he left probably too early. Probably the timing of some of his decisions or choices of teams were not the ideal ones. So, that probably kept him from winning a couple more championships, which I think he would have. I was texting him on WhatsApp and he replied with a funny phrase which will resonate with the NBA. He said ‘Yes, one last dance’.”

Arnon de Mello, senior vice president and managing director at NBA Latin America, on the opportunities for the NBA that the shaken-up time slots present:
“One of our biggest challenges was broadcasting games live in Europe and even parts of Asia or Africa. Now, we’ll have more time slots. Game will start to be played in the US in early afternoon, so we will be able to be on prime time in Europe or Africa, where we usually only came in very late at night or in the early hours of the morning.”

Joe De Sena, on making sure we don’t overlook the value of face-to-face interaction:
“I can’t tell you how many hundred people came around a corner [at a recent race], saw me and just started crying. That they got a chance to live again. I think all of the virtual things and initiatives we’re talking about are great and a requirement, but I think humans need interaction, even if it’s at six feet away. I saw it first hand. Literally, people were tearing up and crying. They’d been locked in their homes for so long and they just felt alive again.”