Following the announcement of our partnership in December, we spoke with Beach Soccer Worldwide President Joan Cusco about the development of Beach Soccer, how the sport is coping wth the pandemic and the role digital plays in their commerical strategy.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. For those who don’t know, what is Beach Soccer and what is the role of Beach Soccer Worldwide?
JC: Beach Soccer, in short, is what we like to call the most attractive modality of football. It is an action-packed modality, in which you combine the best beach atmosphere, music, amazing settings all over the world and a fast-paced, spectacular game with an average of 9 goals per match and one shot on goal every 30 seconds. Beach Soccer World Wide is the major entity recognized by FIFA behind the growth and development of beach soccer. We work to make the sport grow all over the world and at all levels, from grassroots and formation, to top class international events with the best teams and players in the world.
Like the rest of the sports community, Beach Soccer has been hugely impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020 – can you tell us a bit more about the scale of the impact and how you have used your digital channels to help engage with fans during this difficult time?
JC: As you said, like any other sport, beach soccer has been deeply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have seen many competitions cancelled or postponed in different countries, with the obvious subsequent affectation to our players and coaches. Fortunately, the beach soccer community is a very cohesive family, which we have worked to keep as together as always, precisely, through the digital channels. For the last months, we have managed to create and boost the conversation through our different channels to make everybody in the beach soccer family feel as embraced and thought about as always. Or even more. Our players, coaches, referees and fans have responded to that, and we have been lucky to have created a strong connection during these difficult months, with lots of different content and proposals which they have been really happy to participate at.
With positive developments being made in the development and administering of vaccinations, there is a growing sense of cautious optimism that sport will start returning to normal in 2021 – what is on the agenda for beach soccer in 2021 and what do you think would constitute a positive year for sport?
JC: We are optimistic by nature, indeed. Being a young and fresh sport, this is what defines us, and we have been working really hard to secure the competitions once the health conditions allow for the ball to fly again. This is why we are highly optimistic and feel very confident that 2021 will be a great year, full of beach soccer competitions, and including the biggest events once again, including the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, which is set to be our first event in the season, and also the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, to take place in Russia. Without forgetting, of course, dozens of key features of our yearly calendar, such as the Euro Beach Soccer League, the Euro Winners’ Cup, the Mundialito de Clubes… We are looking so much forward to it!
In the recent pwc Sports Survey, looking at how the industry gets back on track, digital media was highlighted as a key driver and, in particular, the abilities to deliver an enhanced digital experience and to monetize your different digital assets – how does digital media feature in Beach Soccer’s commercial approach and the way you deliver value for your sponsors?
JC: There is no other way of understanding Sports Business than through Digital. It is what helps you connect with your fans, sponsors and other stakeholders all across the globe, and this is how we understand it. This is why we give our Digital side such a big importance, always looking to feed it with unique, interesting and tailored content that our audience will not only appreciate but feel part of. And this is precisely what sponsors look for when partnering with a sport or a team. Digital assets allow to empower the idea of identity, of being a part of beach soccer, of involving everyone that is a part of our family. And this is what, commercially, we want to make our sponsors understand.
You have recently chosen to add Horizm’s real-time, digital inventory management platform to your digital strategy – why did you chose Horizm and how do you feel the platform will benefit Beach Soccer and its partners?
JC: We are very please for having partnered with Horizm, as they perfectly understand the need for real-time valuable data with which understand your performance in the global digital stage. With Horizm’s platform, we will be more efficient than ever in targeting, analysing and working towards our objectives, as well as it will help us provide our sponsors with a completely accurate information about our relationship.
What advice would you give to other federations looking to improve the commercial returns on their digital channels?
JC: I would tell them to do things in an thorough and professional way, because the competition for the audience and the sponsors is huge, and you cannot afford not to do things properly. I would also advise them to find a perfect travel companion to do that, as we have just made with Horizm.
For more information on Beach Soccer Worldwide please go to https://www.beachsoccer.com/