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15 Nov 2019

ASOIF Workshop addresses commercial challenges and opportunities for IFs

The first edition of a workshop targeted at commercial and marketing experts from International Federations (IFs), took place in Lausanne from 13 to 14 November 2019. Organised by ASOIF’s Commercial Advisory Group (CAG), the meeting addressed challenges related to revenue generation, identified through the “Future of Global Sport” report launched earlier this year. The participants shared best practices and heard expert opinions on the following topics:

  • global commercial trends in sports;
  • host cities and event hosting rights selling;
  • potential for bundling commercial rights; and
  • socio-demographic data collection from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Andrew Ryan, ASOIF Executive Director, opened the workshop by saying “The findings of ASOIF’s Future of Global Sport report inspired us to host this workshop. We will make best use of the unique expertise present and discuss together how we can best follow up on the recommendations and commercial challenges identified in the report.”

FIBA’s General Director for Media and Marketing, Frank Leenders, shared his experience of packaging rights and Kris Gemmel, ITU Head of Commercial & Marketing, presented his federation’s own digital channel The Head of FEI Digital, Stéphane Schwander, spoke about FEI’s innovative fan engagement strategy. 

Two IFs, UCI and World Sailing (WS), served as case studies in the rapidly growing field of esports. The UCI recently announced that it would stage the first-ever UCI Cycling Esports World Championships in 2020 on Zwift’s platform. WS has been a pioneer IF in engaging with esports and Harriet Strzelecki, Director of Brand & Marketing, presented how the federation successfully launched its eSailing strategy and platform, in partnership with Virtual Regatta in 2018, which overall now has 1.4 million unique players. The 2019 season of its eSailing World Championships concluded with a live final in Bermuda in October.  

Other external speakers included representatives from TwoCircles, Nielsen, International Association Event Hosts, ESL, Perfect World, Virtual Sport Association, PwC and Infront.

Andy Hunt, Chair of the CAG and CEO of WS commented “In such a rapidly changing global sports market, the workshop provided an excellent and timely opportunity to bring together CEO’s and the commercial leadership of the Summer Olympic IFs, to share best-practice, to hear from industry experts and to discuss and agree some of the key priorities that IFs should consider as part of their commercial planning. It also considered areas for collaboration amongst the IFs where common standards can deliver efficiency and create value.”      

New esports study

With esports featuring prominently on the agenda, the workshop offered the ideal platform to launch and present a new study which establishes the current engagement by IFs with esports. The research examines the major factors Olympic Summer IFs consider when deciding whether to adopt esports as a tool to digitise their sports offerings. It results in a number of recommendations for IFs on how to successfully approach an esports platform.

The new study reveals that the majority of IFs remain at an early stage in their esports development and that not all are equally suited to the development of an esport version of their traditional sports offering. Exceptions are some pioneer IFs, which also include FIFA, having licensed EA Sports to create the most popular sport-centric video game to date – “FIFA Football”.

Click here to access the study.