Football tackles new market

World Football Summit

Football is big business and in Spain, it accounts for 1.37 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

But, as strange as it may sound, football has not reached its full potential.

In January, Deloitte Football Money League announced Real Madrid had regained its place as the world’s richest football club by becoming the first club to generate revenue of more than €750 million during the 2017-2018 season.

But those numbers pale in comparison to other business entities, including British preschool animated television series Peppa Pig, whose parent company Entertainment One, has revenue worth over €1 billion!

And while Asia is huge on football, it still represents an untapped area in terms of sponsorship and club merchandise for European clubs.

This lucrative market is one of the reasons for the World Football Summit (WFS) to hold an Asian summit in Kuala Lumpur from April 29-30.

“Football is its own industry. Besides the clubs and players who are the stars, there is an array of companies which are directly or indirectly involved with football,” said WFS director Jan Alessie.

“However, what works in Europe may not be the same in Asia and this is why we are coming to Kuala Lumpur for the World Football Summit Asia (WFSA).”

He added there are several countries in Asia where football is not even the No 1 sport and WFSA is a way of learning from them and to find out how to grow further.

WFSA, which will connect close to 2,000 professionals from 50 countries, will discuss the most relevant industry topics and generating business opportunities.

There will be at least 22 exhibitors, 70 per cent of whom are executives. They will be accompanied by more than 70 football clubs, including Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal, Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain and Borussia Dortmund.

A grassroots-level initiative called Project Kickoff between WFSA and Habitat for Humanity, an international NGO, will also be launched during the summit.

As part of the partnership, football clubs and players will impart life skills to children and empower them to develop sustainable living in underserved communities.

Separately, La Liga greats Fernando Morientes, Christian Karembeu, Gaizka Mendieta and Luque will face a Southeast Asian legends team which includes Zainal Abidin Hassan, Fandi Ahmad, Le Cong Vinh and Bambang Pamungkas.

Tickets to the summit are available for online purchase. For registration and event details, please visit https://asia. worldfootballsummit.com.