But the Eurolatam Marketing Summit is up to the challenge. In an exclusive interview, Oscar Perez-Códoba Dávila, Event Co- founder spoke to us about his plans for providing the sports industry with innovative and responsible solutions to unleash its full potential.
How was the Eurolatam Sports Marketing Summit born? And how was the rst Summit in 2016?
In 2012, INsports was born as a communica- tion and public relations agency that provided support on social networking for congresses, conferences and workshops on sports industry management and business. Little by little our model evolved to become part of the organizing committee of these events, especially in Europe. Since then we have been fortunate enough to participate in more than 70 events between both continents.
That’s how we began to understand the importance of these spaces in the push for innovation and good practices. At the same time, we are starting to strengthen relationships with organizations that really seek to promote an improvement in the industry, not only with clubs and federations, but with start-ups, associations, specialized media, etc. Suddenly we find ourselves as the meeting point between connection and knowledge, not only in projects but also in between regions. So many start-ups began to rely on INsports to improve their “packaging”, and sports properties asked us for information on success stories and technology. So we decided to transform our model into an exclusive sports innovation agency, the first to work on both continents.
At the same time I had the great fortune to have had real experiences with major sporting events, which was very relevant when contrasting an idea with reality. We were fortunate to work in athletics, swimming, in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and in the Copa America in Chile in 2015. In this last one was where I met Álvaro Muñoz, at that time Head of Marketing for the America Cup and now founding partner of Varsovia Sports, my partner and great with whom I have created the EuroLatam Sports Marketing Summit.
At the end of the Copa América, we had several conversations, contrasting concepts from Europe and Latin America. Thus we realized that there was a total lack of innovation and a delay in marketing concepts in the Latin American region. We also agreed on the obvious straight line that connects us with Europe, not only in history and society; but in organizational culture and way of understanding sports.
It was then that Alvaro clearly saw the opportunity to lead and attract revolutionary concepts for the sports industry, starting in Chile, but aimed at all of Latin America and. It was then that in 2015 he decided to launch Varsovia Sports, one of the most powerful marketing agencies in Chile. From the start, Varsovia Sports saw EuroLatam as one of the star projects and together we decided to create a concept that would serve to showcase new opportunities to improve our industry.
What are the challenges and opportunities that appear when uniting two markets as unique as the European and Latin American?
The biggest short term challenge in which we have made progress thanks to the EuroLatam Sports Marketing Summit was raising awareness among decision makers regarding continuous improvement. Making them understand that it is not enough to have desire, but to prepare, study, understand, collaborate, and measure. The concept of innovation is very complex and should be developed in blocks.
We believe that Europe has a very strong link to Latin America, starting with Spain. The Spanish sports industry today is one of the most successful in competitions; however, in recent years it has also been developing a transformation in its management, which is more focused towards good practices and sustainability. From Latin America we can take advantage of this knowledge and find our own way towards a better future.
On the other hand, it is clear that many organizations in Latin America are doing very well as well, so we are interested expanding their projects, so that we all encourage ourselves to improve as a whole, but we also want to shine a light on the fact that America is a territory that will bring many advantages to those who bet on it. This has been well received and we are aware that many sports organizations see Latin America as a place of great opportunities for business collaborations. The sports industry in Latin America has in nite possibilities, it is as simple as looking at the population of our countries, but as complex as understanding the business culture that has historically hurt us, it is right there where we want to plant that seed of innovation.
Who are your main customers and partners in Latin America? What role does the region play on your international business strategy?
We have the unconditional support of one of the clubs in Latin America that are most committed to innovation and globalization. Cruzados Universidad Católica supported us from the first edition, and for this one they have decided to go beyond being an Institutional Partner and becoming a Co-Organizer. Having them within the Organizing Committee gives us great strength in the region and the trust practically every organization in sport. It is one of the clubs that has the most formal links with other sports organizations in the region. We are very happy to have them on board helping make possible such a complex event that requires all the seriousness and professionalism available.
On the other hand, we have media partners of the rst level, like this magazine, as well as magazines and specialized media in Europe which have a totally professional approach and allow us reach our target market.
Finally, sponsors also play a vital role, since without them sustainability would not be possible. We seek to have well-referenced technological solutions that go in the line of innovation and good practices. This year we have technological solutions such as Funx and TGI that have worked successfully in both regions, which have known how to tropicalize their services and understand the Fan concept in both territories. It is very important to understand that innovation always comes from suppliers, in many cases original ideas of start-ups. However, they require clubs that want to establish and improve their products.
Can you tell us your general vision about the industry, its growth and development for the region?
The relationship between Europe and Latin America is growing a lot lately. This year great sports holdings saw in LATAM a land of opportunities, as did the City Group when acquiring a second division team in Uruguay, as well as the association between Atletico of Madrid and Atletico San Luis in Mexico.
On the other hand, it is essential to have good references in LATAM so that there is a point of attraction based on good work. Sports franchises are the reflection of the industry, so we tried to highlight cases such as Cerro Porteño with its socially responsible stadium, Chivas with its innovation project that led to sold-out stadiums and championships, which is the same that happened with the Bicampeonato de Cruzados. This year we’re again focusing on the good management of properties like Atletico Nacional, reviewing its success in recent years from the management side.
Furthermore, the visibility and following in the shape of fans that come hand in hand with Latin American athletes is very important in terms of what they bring to sports organizations in Europe. Examples are Neymar in Paris, Chicharito in West Ham or Alexis in Arsenal.
Finally, the right organization of major events is also crucial in showcasing these opportunities, such as it was done by the F1 Grand Prix in Mexico City, becoming for the second consecutive time the best prize in the whole circuit. In the same vein, other great sports players decide to relocate their events and bet on our countries, like the NBA, UFC, NFL and we shouldn’t be surprised in the near future to see LaLIga or Premier League matches.
The only way for this trend to continue is for Europe to see in its Latin American counterpart the same seriousness and professionalism in order to continue investing in our sports properties. Without a doubt, that is the main mission of the EuroLatam Sports Marketing Summit.
What should a top executive expect when attending the EuroLatam Sports Marketing Summit 2017 in Chile?
Our obligation as an organizing committee is to always analyze our event from the perspective of Fan Entertainment / Fan Engagement. Our delegates will be our fans, so we have a high responsibility to understand and fulfill their expectations in terms of content, experience and business.
Last year we did very well, but this year we are looking to be much better, so we have reviewed and improved each of these elements to take it up a notch.
Regarding content, we decided to bring more speakers from Europe and focus on issues that have a wider impact, but at the same time are concrete in certain themes. This year we have the trust of major players in the industry such as UEFA, LaLIga or FC Barcelona. The event also aims to think of the future, so we invite clubs with projects such as the National Football Club which has a new stadium in the pipeline and intends to learn as much as possible to improve the design of their facilities. The same goes for technology, digital transformation, marketing, sponsorship, etc.
As for experiences we have designed a se- ries of networking activities so that decision makers can know about those opportunities in a close, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Among these activities there will be dinners, visits to the city, cocktails, parties, etc. We’re also designing a “Fan Zone” for all delegates, which aims to provide a fan experience but also an experience as a manager. We also created the Innovation Matchday which is a workshop dedicated to dealing with specific situations.
Finally, when it comes to the business, we are looking for properties that see in Latin America an ideal place to expand on the growth of their brand, and we’re also looking at things the opposite way, with sports franchises that see in Europe a hub of knowledge and a new territory to conquer. Let’s not forget that most South American immigrants live in Europe. Finally we are looking for suppliers to come face to face with certain properties so that they can establish projects that benefit both parties.