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>Blog >Interview with Ivan Ortenzi | Host of the SFS 2023

Interview with Ivan Ortenzi | Host of the SFS 2023

We have reached the sixth edition of the Social Football Summit, you have been with us since year zero, so since 2018, you can take stock of these years of an event in which many things have really changed in the Football Industry.

“First of all, I wanted to take this opportunity to applaud Gianfilippo Valentini, Massimo Tucci, and the entire Social Football Summit and Social Media Soccer team for having given life to an event that today is considered a fixed appointment for the entire football industry. An event born from passion and a vision of innovation of the dynamics and contents of this industry, capable of going through and being present even during the pandemic. With a note of pride and pleasure at having been involved from the beginning and never having doubted the value of the initiative and its creators. Just like the summit, football also went through a pandemic, suffering all the impacts and accelerations on its business elements like us. From 2018 to today, the phrase we often use “a world before and a world after the pandemic” also applies to the football industry. The summit has always tried to interpret change, decode the impacts, and propose visions of innovation. This last element has been what I have dealt with over the years with the help of the team and with the desire to start every year from a blank sheet of paper. Football today is very different from 2018. Its boundaries have expanded, the impact of technology is decisive, it has understood that it is a competitor of the famous “attention economy”, it deals daily with issues of mainly economic and environmental sustainability and the social role it plays in the territory, in society and in politics.

Today, using the term “football industry” no longer makes traditionalists or nostalgics turn up their noses but is an economic, financial, and cultural necessity.”

By the way, what have been the biggest changes in the world of football in this period of time?

“I use three images to summarize what has happened recently. The first is the famous photo taken during a World Cup match in Qatar which portrayed the balls connected with a USB cable to a power strip to charge the sensor placed inside them. In my opinion, the image summarizes how much technology is now part of not only the dynamics of the management of the football company, of the management of a team’s performance but of all the dynamics on the pitch. The second image is that of the crane in front of the church in Ascoli Piceno surrounded by all the balls that had remained on the roof of the building. It is the synthesis of how football has an intrinsic emotional, experiential, and aesthetic value linked to our memory of the different phases of our life. An image that for each of us evokes stories and memories. I steal the last image from the theme song of the TV series Ted Lasso which immortalizes the name of the famous coach with red seats on blue seats. It is a purely symbolic image behind which we can find a good part of the new dynamics of the football industry. The extension towards new markets, the ability to develop trans-media content, the attractive power of this sport for traditional and new brands, the evolution of the way of narrating football with new languages, new technologies with a horizontal approach with respect to the platforms paying attention to the new targets and new players in the ecosystem. Three images that should be guidelines for a vision of football that is not excessively Eurocentric.”

Now let’s try to take a look at the future, at World Football 2050. Here, tell us what we have to expect, and obviously, what we will talk about most at the next Summit in Rome.

“I think the main evolution that is emerging lies in the fact that the business model of the football industry is increasingly becoming a sum of different business models. The strategic and management need is to increasingly integrate these verticals (e.g. sports performances, the media house, merchandising, management of physical and digital assets, the territory) and extend business opportunities by interpreting new generations and new technologies. All in light of the analysis of data relating to investments in the sports industry not only for what concerns football. The data indicates that we are entering a new investment phase that will attract new investors and new forms of investment. A phase characterized by a continuous demand for quality sports assets with a remodulation of sports portfolios ‘investment in new sports, new geographies, and new complementary activities. In this scenario, women’s sports will also continue to offer an attractive opportunity for new and old investors. With the increase in capital flowing into the sports sector, football is called upon to further evolve in order not to miss this opportunity. The evolution of formats, governance models, and the product itself will be accompanied by the demand for sustainable investment models that balance financial and operational profitability with spending and the pursuit of performance. I am sure that the new investments will stimulate the transformation of the Football Industry to the point of placing the most sensitive cost items – contracts, the structure of assets, and the rules of the player market – within the spectrum of innovation.”

We have often talked about how to embrace the new generations and how football can intercept them and then retain them. In this respect who do you think has done better in the last 2 years? If there is actually someone who has moved really well.

“I don’t want to go too far in this answer. I prefer to underline how the football industry can increasingly be traced back to an entertainment system player in which it competes with other sectors, other contents, and other suppliers that compete for competitive positions within the football economy. attention. In this competition, the audience’s time is the contested commodity. In light of this consideration, we must therefore analyze the different fan targets which differ in age, territory, relational model, passion, and origin. We are witnessing the growth of marketing and communication which will have to be increasingly vertical, flexible, personalized, and capable of distributing experiences and value in a composite way. The first ally of this strategy is technology which will allow data, content, and channels to be managed in a more integrated way. The product football must evolve together with the different reference markets, experimenting with new dynamics of engagement with old and new fan targets. The second ally of this strategy is football content and stories. Knowing how to capitalize on the past, the heritage, the territory, and the before and after of the sporting event will allow us to integrate the revenue lines, freeing ourselves from a model that is still too polarized on let’s call it traditional television rights.”