INTERVIEW WITH ALESSANDRO GIACOMINI, CEO OF INFRONT
Hi Alessandro, welcome to the Social Football Summit blog.
Today we would like to have a chat to understand how Infront has evolved and with what vision it is supporting the football industry.
- You have been at Infront since 2015, in the middle of what we were learning to call the digital revolution. But already for the past 10 years the world of sponsorship, advertising and marketing has been revolutionised in some of its most enduring principles. What has Infront done to address and ride the digital change of the last era?
As Infront we have always worked, both at the Italian and international level, on the development of new formats, creating by now 15 years ago a centre of excellence located in Italy, in our Milan offices, for the creation and realisation of new digital formats. We have served the entire group for years, thanks to our capacity for innovation, and at the same time we have always identified new commercial formats to keep up with or even ahead of the times. At the group level we have more recently created a new centre of excellence – Infront Lab – which uses the best technology available on the market to create new products that bring our customers closer to the fans.
- In the midst of the revolution just mentioned, we were faced with the pandemic crisis and lockdown also from a sporting and commercial point of view. How was that period dealt with and what is the current state of health of the investment and advertising landscape in Italian football?
The pandemic completely changed the balance, even in the world of sport. Companies needed to weight their investments more carefully and find effective and non-dispersive communication vehicles. In the absence of activations and direct contact with the public, there was a strong focus on digital, which even today is a fundamental and indispensable element of any communication campaign. Whereas before, investments were partially linked to performance, because a lot of emphasis was also placed on the aspect of awarness and reputation, now the numbers and returns – especially in digital – take the lead.
- How would you summarise the contribution Infront has made to the world of sport, its partners and the commercial development of the whole movement?
Infront has an extraordinary experience in the world of sport, not only because it deals with the entire production chain of a sporting event (from conception to management, media production, brokering of rights, sponsorship and so on), but also because it has had over the years the ability to manage world-class events in virtually every sporting discipline. I believe that our contribution to the world of sport has been crucial, both from the point of view of innovating sports formats, selling media rights, and audiovisual production, but also from an economic point of view, creating value both for the rights holders and for the commercial partners we have involved.
- What are the motivations and objectives behind the Academy project?
It is in the DNA of a company like ours, an international market leader, to promote valuable projects that benefit the entire industry and bring young talent into our sector. This is why we wanted to inaugurate the project with a technology partner such as AKTO Play Your Future, which is able to offer a path of immediate fruition for the fan base of our partners. I am convinced that the Infront Sport Business Academy represents a great opportunity for all those who love sport to find out if a career in sport business is really of interest to them, through top quality training and professionalising experiences, provided by some of the best Italian sports realities
- In this regard, what are the characteristics that a professional in the Football Industry must have in order to undertake the professional challenges of the future?
Over the last 20 years, the way we work in football has changed profoundly, thanks to innovations, globalisation and increased professionalisation. I believe it is essential for any professional today to be observant, curious, digital, modern. It is not necessary to replicate old patterns, but to borrow from the world of entertainment some of the logics that have led American sport, for example, to excel and achieve surprising economic results. It is not enough to look at Italy, but we must always consider the globality of our market, where there are no longer borders, but we speak of an international industry.
Like all professionals in the world of sport, those who want to venture into the professional world of football must have the main characteristic of the ability to innovate.
- How did the idea of starting the project with Udinese, Lega Basket Serie A and Lega B come about?
We decided to propose this initiative to some of our partners, focusing on those who have a transversal and localised reference audience throughout the peninsula. Lega Basket Serie A and Lega B are organising a championship in which, alongside the large squares, we also find the small provincial towns, so as to establish a dialogue with the entire Italian social fabric. Udinese Calcio, on the other hand, is a partner of ours that is historically attentive to innovation and value-based projects and immediately welcomed our proposal with enthusiasm.