WFS Asia will offer high quality conferences in its two stages, where world-class speakers will discuss and debate the key topics of the industry with a special focus in the region

AFC Keynote: Qatar 2022 and its cultural and sporting legacy for Middle East and Asia

Looking ahead to 2022, as well as many other international tournaments on the football calendar, what are the core objectives that the sport wants to achieve from these events? How will local associations and countries look to prosper from having the global game at their doorstep and how can a sustainable legacy – one that truly allows for economic success, youth development, cultural inclusion and strategic alliances – be attained? From employment to safety, playing conditions to legacy and security to management, this panel analyses the process and attraction of bidding, and subsequently hosting football’s prime event.

Will the 2022 FIFA World Cup see Asian countries make a dent?

Qatar 2022 will be two decades after the world stood up to see South Korea’s heroics at home which then propelled a giant wave of footballing development across the continent. Whether it is the sudden appearance of China and Saudi Arabia at the world stage or even the magnanimous performance of Japan at the FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Asian national teams are slowly becoming serious competitors to the European giants. With Asian champions Qatar playing at home, how likely are we to see another heroic performance from an Asian country – or more?

Eurasian football and its mutual development: Readdressing the foundations of a renewed relationship

Since the turn of the previous decade, the rise of Asian media markets facing west has risen very sharply. Whether it is LaLiga’s entire APAC media program setup or Germany’s Bundesliga reflecting it in their long-term media-rights deals in Asia with pay-television broadcasters Fox; the relationships made years ago still hold strong. However, with the rise of OTT and PPTV technology in play, the 2020-21 cycle of media rights renewal is highly under pressure for change. Is there a solution to benefit both parties?

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Predicting the technology aftermath in the sports industry

After the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the age of 5G was instilled into the concept of the greatest sporting event because of Asia. Japan’s technological advancements brought fan engagement into a different light altogether with AR and VR used extensively across the athlete village. Being only months away from the Summer Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, what innovations will their partners Intel have to give to the sporting fraternity which will revolutionize viewing as we know it?

Asian sponsorships still key for Europe’s top clubs’ quest for globalisation

For Europe’s biggest football clubs three main revenue streams exist – media, game day and marketing. Arguably, the latter of these is where we can see a faster growth and for this reason clubs have lately been involved in a relentless quest to penetrate the lucrative Asian market. Over the years, these clubs have reaped millions in revenue by selling their commercial rights, but also by establishing relationships lasting decades. Whether it is Barcelona with Rakuten, Arsenal with Emirates, or Bayern Munich with Samsung and Yingli Solar – the targets remain the same: more Asian sponsors, more global reach.

Asian women’s rise and stall in football: Sustained growth the necessity

Women’s football discussions have become a staple thing now but in Asia despite Japan having played in two Women’s World Cup finals, the women’s game still needs to fully embraced at the top level. The country’s bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup shows that there is a seriousness about the growth of women’s football. Across the continent, the rise of baby leagues for grassroots development of women’s football is seen as a major sign that things are headed in the right direction. However, what are the necessary steps for Asia’s continued progression in the sport catching the world’s overdue attention?

Asian footballers’ going global: The biggest continent’s stars pull focus

After seeing Heung Min-Son in the UEFA Champions League final, a lot of the football community started asking about just how good the South Korean K-league is. Previously, Ji-Sung Park for Manchester United had caused a similar stir in the football industry during 2008-2011. Likewise, LaLiga’s Takashi Inui, Takefusa Kubo and Wu Lei have become national superstars in Japan and China. Such consistency of Asian footballers on the world-class stage calls for the question: what more can Asian properties do to inveigle the necessary investment whilst driving international coverage of their local football, and then the global tournaments held in the continent?

Growing digital-fans call for creative engagement strategies

In a recent report by Nielson Sports, China and India, the world’s two most populated countries, have shown a level of interest in football at about a global percentage of 30%. To put this into perspective, India has a far higher level of participation at 22% ahead of perennial World Cup powers such as Germany, Spain and The Netherlands. These are not isolated results, given the immense amounts of Asian followers for clubs like Juventus, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund over apps like Line, WeChat and Weibo. This has added a sense of responsibility for creative heads at major football clubs to generate round-the-clock geo-localised content for fans across the wide Asian continent. Which clubs are leading the way? Which type of content and platforms are best to engage with the Asian audiences?

Football: the largest platform to build globally for Asian industrial giants

While European club’s working with Asian sponsors has become lay of the land, there has been a turning of the tide in recent times where Asian companies are starting to use the European formula to expand themselves in the central football continent. Japanese automotive industry giant Falken Tyres signed with 21 European clubs including Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, for brand promotion which was handled by the global sports media and marketing agency Lagardère Sports, based out of Singapore. Is this Asian-European partnership a reflection of a successful quid-pro quo?

European player transfers to Asia: a regularity bordering on future destination?

In 2016, China’s President Xi Jinping put through a “soccer bill” with the target of having 20,000 soccer schools and about 50 million registered football players, mostly children, by 2020. Their leader’s immaculate vision has helped shape the country’s growth in the sport, with China no longer a country simply for European clubs’ revenue streams generation. It is a tough market to enter, an even tougher one to successfully operate in, but it has been made easier by the transfers of successful athletes to the Chinese Super League. Whether it was Yannick Carrasco from Atletico Madrid, Oscar and Ramires from Chelsea, the Chinese football market is consistently working towards a bilateral setting with European clubs – and more than just sponsors.

eSports and Asia: Match made in tech-heaven?

The AESF (Asian eSports Federation) is the largest of its kind across the globe, with its continuous growth an unprecedented sight. The main reason the behind its unique growth in Asia is simply the acceptance of this format of gaming in the continent. However, with the ecosystem built around the massive popularity of non-sports titles like League of Legends, DOTA 2, FIFA, Street Fighter etc. how can the football community best harness the eSports movement to continue its growth trajectory across the continent?

Football for good: Addressing the need to create a better footballing future for all of Asia

Football is a sport that is internationally known, played and appreciated yet discrimination, racism and violence still exist today inside and around the game. Recent events across Europe have made this topic rise again as tournaments still provide the platform for radical extremists to take action and tarnish the values that the sport holds dearest. This behaviour not only creates a negative impact on the experience of the game but has consequences on the interest from external stakeholders – corporate companies, governments and associations – who are continually looking to invest in the sport. How can we achieve greater equality and greater inclusion so that football is seen in a shining light once more?

Governance of new competitions: Expanding footballing culture needs oversight

With the expansion of the football industry in Asia, its social, cultural, economic and political significance in the continent is also on the rise. The AFC Asian Cup has begun to attract both media and public attention internationally, and the professional leagues in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, has begun to play an important role in the global football industry. There is also active migration of international football players from and to Asian football clubs, and a number of Asian footballers are now performing in the major football leagues in Europe. Despite this increasing importance of football in Asia, however, the question remains about the examination of many of the socio-political and cultural issues associated with this growing sector.

Asian football leagues: key commercial strategies to reach new heights

The Indian Super League (ISL), run by All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) marketing partners Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), a subsidiary of IMG-Reliance was recently granted the status of country’s premier league, after years of debate on the subject. There has been a parallel growth of upcoming leagues in Asia like the Chinese Super League (CSL), K-League and Malaysian Super League. A fair amount of influence – not just in their naming – comes from their European counterparts, mainly in their style of coaching, the grassroots development as well as marketing strategies. Looking back over the past five years, has this decision to map the European model been successful or should Asia change the landscape in its own unique way?


Current and past wfs industry talks

“The level and quality of the speakers this year makes it obligatory to attend because you learn from each one of them”

Miguel Ángel Gil Marín – CEO, Atlético de Madrid