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Business is a marathon, not a sprint: The destination is, becoming a business, that delivers benefits and value for the society

What are the strategies of modern football organisations to achieve success not only on the pitch but also in the society? At the FUTURE OF FOOTBALL BUSINESS Conference 2022 presented by keyper 12 Speakers from different fields and backgrounds shared their insights around this question.

Football is being played. Anytime, anywhere. In the world’s largest arenas. On the bumpiest football pitches. But in the end, the passion, the feeling of cohesion and emotion that goes with it, is what makes football unique and why it plays such a big role in society all over the world. 

Certainly, modern football is not only shaped by winning, but also about much more. In addition to the competition for sporting success, it must be focused on the economic competition and social developments have to be adapted in the business plan. 

In order to develop successful strategies in the football business, external factors must be considered, and a deeper look should be taken on what influences a club. Some factors can be controlled but others not. Therefore David Reisenauer (Executive Director Match Operations, Austrian Bundesliga) suggested, being prepared for everything and to build structures to react flexible and quickly to environmental conditions. 

Consequently, reflecting on the fans and adapting to issues of the society, becomes more and more important. In particular, issues which have not yet played a major role in the football business must be addressed.

Football as an emotionally charged sport has the opportunity to take large numbers of people along and reach them. This should not only be seen as an opportunity, but also as a responsibility.

“It is important to stick to the power a club has to reach people. Football can do more, it is a role model for many people and can create an impact on society,” said Jana Bernhard (Managing Director, FUSSBALL KANN MEHR gGmbH) 

Lisa Währer (Co-Founder and Managing Director, FC Viktoria Berlin Women’s team) committed to the aim of professionalizing women’s football. To set higher standards, gain more fame and create a shift in perception. But most importantly to set a statement by aiming Bundesliga in the next 5 years.  

“[…] create a strong brand and storytelling around the team and our goals […] create a strong network around founders, investors and supporters. And – this is the main goal behind it – create a female movement that’s bigger than sports,” Währer said.

Another topic that is getting a lot of attention in society is sustainability. Above all, companies have a big responsibility to protect the environment and to deliver benefits that extend far beyond traditional organizational boundaries.  

Josh Simpson (Partner, SixFive Sports and Entertainment) pointed out, that there is a need to translate social purpose to a club strategy. Therefore, clubs have to invest in the new generation, the mindsets and values must change, and employees have to be educated to hold on to the same goal: “What we are essentially doing is giving more than we are taking.”

This is required to reach the goal of being net positive.

In conclusion no matter what league or club, there is the responsibility to reach the long-term goal of developing the business and achieving value for the society with the right strategies. 

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