The Soccerex Global Convention conference programme will present industry relevant topics with expert speakers, presenting and expressing their views on some of the hottest subject matters of the world of football. The conference sessions will be spread across the four content areas of The Studio, The Academy, the Love Football Zone and new for 2017, The Lab, which has been created to showcase the latest niche innovations and expertise in some of football key sectors such as stadia and performance.
SAFE STANDING: A STEP FORWARD IN FAN EXPERIENCE OR A RETURN TO FOOTBALL’S DARK DAYS?
The ban on standing sections at stadia in England’s top two divisions, that was introduced in the wake of the Hillsborough tragedy, has long seemed at odds with fan’s desire to stand when supporting their teams. While supporters of the ban point to the impressive safety records since its introduction, improved options such as the rail seat and positive evidence from Scotland, Germany, Sweden and Austria where standing areas are permitted show that there could be an alternative. In this session campaigners on both side of the argument will be joined by club representatives, safety regulators and leading suppliers to look at what safe standing involves and what its introduction would mean for English football.
Football Supporters Federation
SPORTS GROUNDS SAFETY AUTHORITY
INTERNATIONAL OWNERSHIP & INVESTMENT
More & more football properties are no longer domestically owned. Investors from the US, China and the Middle East look set to dominate European football through purchasing stakes in some of their biggest assets. This investment creates new opportunities for the clubs and other businesses benefiting from the injection of finances and the access to new markets but to what extent are these investors properly vetted? What are the long term implications of their involvement and, from the investor’s perspective, will their investment objectives be met? We will bring together a panel of club representatives, legal experts and international investors to analyse the impact of international investment on the global game.
HOW DO YOU VALUE BROADCASTING RIGHTS IN A DISRUPTED MARKET?
For many years, the value of football broadcasting rights have been on an ever-steepening curve but is this about to change? Technological and media developments are altering consumption habits and recent viewing figures for football via traditional broadcasters are significantly down. With OTT streaming services bidding for – and securing – significant rights packages and social media giants dipping their toe into live sports, the market is looking more fragmented that ever before. At the Global Convention a panel of broadcasters, rights holders and media gurus will debate the value of rights in this disrupted marketplace and look at whether it has created more problems or more opportunities for the rights holders and media companies involved.
THE RISE OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
Social media has created an environment where brands and sporting organisations can talk directly with their fans/consumers but it has also enabled individuals to emerge whose authenticity of voice gives them an appeal and a credibility that big organisations cannot compete with. The growing influence of these individuals is becoming an increasingly important tool in the marketing arsenal of many brands in the football industry as they look to engage key fan groups. We will bring together a diverse group of experts to analyse influencer marketing and the opportunities – and challenges – it presents for rights holders, brands, media channels and the influencers themselves.
Chief Creative Officer
WITH FOOTBALL TOURNAMENTS, IS BIGGER REALLY BETTER?
2016 saw an expanded UEFA European Championships in France and FIFA have voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026. For the Confederations and smaller nations involved, expanded tournaments present increased revenue opportunities and the chance to compete at the top table with the established elite, as Wales and Iceland did so successfully at Euro 2016. However, for the hosts there are the technical challenges of accommodating more teams and more matches – potentially in a shared hosting situation which creates more logistical problems for the teams themselves – the players face more gruelling schedules leading to burnout and the club face losing their employees to potential injury. At the Convention, we will ask a selection of senior football stakeholders; are bigger tournaments really better?
THE FUTURE OF STADIA DESIGN
Influenced by a mixture of factors including technological advancements, environmental requirements and commercial challenges, architects are producing more and more innovative stadia designs that will shape the arenas of tomorrow. While these future stadia will undoubted provide a connected experience more advanced than anything we’ve seen today, to what extent will the technology involved be future proof? How will they strike a balance between maximising commercial opportunities and ensuring the venue is first and foremost a place to watch football where the fans passion translates into an atmosphere that can drive forward their team? Gathering together some of the industry’s foremost architects and stadia managers we will look at the future of stadia design and how it will change the match day experience.
IS DOPING A PROBLEM IN FOOTBALL?
Football has watched on, detached from the doping scandals have unfolded in sports such athletics, cycling and tennis, with FIFA’s Chief Medical Officer once stating FIFA has “led the way in anti-doping,” citing the 2014 FIFA World CupTM in Brazil, where there were no failed tests and where biological passports were introduced to the tournament for the first time – a move that has since extended to the European Champions League. However, as the problem of doping does not seem confined to one sport and the rewards on offer in football so high, can we really assume that the world’s most popular and high profile sport is completely clean? In this session sports scientists, anti-doping experts and football regulators will assess the extent of doping in football and what is being done to identify and police it.
WEARABLE TECH: THE EVOLUTION OF SPORTS PERFORMANCE
Already a massive industry based on personal fitness monitoring for the mass market, in elite sports the tracking capabilities of wearable technology mean it has the potential to provide important real time data on player performance that can be analysed by advanced sports science teams and acted upon by players and coaches alike. Already common place on the train field for many clubs, as the technology becomes smaller, more lightweight and more durable wearable tech may become as common and as essential as the boots the players wear – and from a performance perspective, perhaps more important. At Soccerex, technology experts, data analysts and sports scientists will evaluate the impact of wearable technology on the market and share their thoughts on the future applications that will drive the evolution of football.
BREAKING FROM TRADITION: FOOTBALL’S NEW SPONSORSHIP ASSETS
The days of sponsors being satisfied with just having a logo on a teams shirt have long gone. Brands today are looking for more innovative, content and experience driven engagement opportunities which, in turn, is forcing rights holders and agencies to be more creative with the portfolio of assets they offer. While new physical properties still exist – as seen with the Premier League offering shirt sleeves as new sponsorship inventory – they do so in the context of more integrated packages with mobile and digital platforms at their core. Via panel of rights holders, brands and sponsorship directors, the Global Convention will deliver exclusive insight into the value of football’s new sponsorship assets and how they can best be activated by brands.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOOTBALL & ESPORTS
With more and more live gaming content being made available via social media and the UK getting a dedicated 24 hour gaming channel, eSports looks set to break into the mainstream in 2017. Clubs such as Manchester City, Wolfsburg and West Ham have already signed professional contracts with gamers, showing that football is aware of the potential of eSports but what can the game and its digital counterpart learn from each other commercially? How should traditional football brands work in the eSports space and will there ever come a time where the two are competing for audiences rather than complementing each other? At the Convention, a meeting of football and digital minds will dissect the relationship between football and eSports and analyse how the two can best collaborate both now and in the future.
PLAYING CRUYFF’S WAY – A LEGEND’S LEGACY TO THE GAME
“You need both quality and results. Results without quality is boring. Quality without results is pointless” – Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff firmly believed the game of football must be played to entertain the fans. His philosophy of attacking ‘total’ football, a formula to not just win games but also inspire people, has revolutionized the game as we know it. Cruyff left his mark on generations of exciting players and continues to influence many great coaches until this day. This session, co-hosted by Cruyff Football and featuring the people closest to Johan, will highlight his vision and principles of play and share his most valuable lessons.
THE FUTURE OF FAN GENERATED CONTENT
Content is king in the modern world, with the capturing and distribution of content central to fan engagement strategies for both rights holders and media organisations alike. However, improvements in technology and the growing influence of social media on society have brought another player into the content market – the fans themselves. Able to operate on the same playing field unfettered by corporate restrictions, fans are creating content that is increasingly valued higher than content created by the rights holders themselves and, through aggregating this content, new media channels are emerging. How can clubs, leagues and federations use fan generated content and its considerable commercial potential to their advantage? We will bring together a mix of media and content experts with senior rights holders to look at the future of fan generated content in football.
Head of Copa90
EDDIE JONES ON THE ART OF COACHING
Eddie Jones is the hugely successful Rugby Union coach who, having coached his native Australia and Japan is currently in charge of the England Rugby team. In his first 12 months with England he brought about a remarkable improvement, taking a side who had failed badly at the 2015 Rugby World Cup on a long unbeaten run that included a Grand Slam in the 2016 RBS Six Nations. Eddie is a firm advocate of cross sport learnings and in this special session he will share the secrets of his success with England Rugby, what he has learnt from other sports and what football can learn from rugby.
MAXIMISING YOUR CLUB’S BRAND VALUES
Whether it is AFC Ajax’s emphasis on youth, Manchester United’s commitment to attack or the glamour of Real Madrid football clubs around the world have certain characteristics that define their nature and underpin their approach both on and off the pitch. In this special session, we will gather a panel of senior club figures to analyse the importance of having defined values within a football club; how they can create and support the club’s identity and what structures are needed to ensure these are maintained, despite the large turnover in managerial, coaching and playing staff. The session would also look at how these values are applied across the different playing and business aspects of a club and how they can help the club grow their fan bases, both domestically and internationally.
EDWIN VAN DER SAR
Chief Commercial Officer
YOUTH FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT – TRAINERS V COACHES
“I have never seen a team make its debut. Only individual players do. Therefore, an academy should focus on individual development” – Johan Cruyff
Nurturing high quality home grown players is an important challenge to any club and a precondition to any sustainable national football development strategy. Productive youth development requires the proper recipe and high quality ingredients. One of the most important debates in youth football today is the gradual shift in paradigm, away from a focus on youth team performance and towards a focus on individual development. Cruyff Football will co-host this session, designed to present and discuss different visions on talent development, with the people behind two of the best academies in Europe and a highly successful football nation.
Head of Talent Development
Royal Belgian Football Association
MARIA RUIZ DE OŇA
Head of Coaching Development
BEN LYTTLETON (MODERATOR)
Journalist/Broadcaster and Consultant
OPTIMIZING VENUE REVENUE GENERATION
Stadia are more than homes to sporting action. They facilitate large gatherings of passionate fans who are ultimately consumers and, as a result, they offer huge opportunities for revenue generation for the club or stadia owner. From the capturing and analysis of data to the design of stadia to meet fans needs, the Convention will deliver expert insight and case studies on how stadia revenues can be maximised throughout the year, including a presentation from iXpole who’s sponsorship and hospitality platform helps club’s like RSC Anderlecht improve their match day cashflows and look at Bristol Sport’s successful redevelopment of Aston Gate.
Chief Stadium Operating Officer
LISA KNIGHTS (MODERATOR)
Chief Media Officer
FACEBOOK ON FOOTBALL
Not surprisingly, there is a strong link between the world’s most popular sport and the world’s most popular social media platform; football is the source of millions of conversations and interactions across Facebook, with the social media giant delivering a variety of offerings including games, awards and even streaming of live matches to meet the demands of their audience. Likewise, rights holders and traditional media have recognised the importance of Facebook as a channel to communicate with fans and it is increasingly an integral part of their overall marketing approach. In this special session, Facebook will deliver an update on their approach to football and look ahead to what they see as the biggest opportunities for both fans and rights holders alike on their platform.
Sport Partnership Lead, EMEA
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The conference at the Soccerex Global Convention is designed for you the football industry and our agenda is shaped by our conversations with the different stakeholders within it. We do our best to cover the latest and most important issues affecting each sector but you may think we’ve missed something that should be addressed.
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