“Growth” is a word that I tend to use very often. As I’m sure I’ve written many times in the past, I truly believe that growth (and love) are the most important elements of living an extraordinary life so I’m constantly searching for, evaluating and celebrating growth.
Last week we organized the 3rd edition of FICCI GOAL and the theme of “growth” was certainly present throughout the conference. FICCI GOAL is a property which my organisation, Libero Sports, along with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) created as way to support the development and sustainbility of the Indian football industry and promote strategic dialogue around the game.
The conference provides a platform for relevant global and domestic industry stakeholders to discuss the beautiful game in India offering a key focus on the various business opportunities unfolding along with the rapid growth of the Indian football ecosystem.
On a professional level, FICCI GOAL clearly has grown as it started as just a concept in a few minds and has now become India’s largest conference on the business of football. This past edition had representation from FIFA, Premier League, Real Madrid, US Soccer, Government of India, all levels of AIFF, Indian Super League, I-League and a number of other stakeholders in the industry.
On the same note, FICCI GOAL represented the growth of the industry as I remember 3 years ago the sessions were all about India’s future, India’s potential and fixing India’s broken football ecosystem. Now the sessions are much different. There are bright young professionals serving as owners of Indian Super League franchises discussing the $12 million a year investments they are putting into their clubs, there are top members of the industry serving as project managers of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup organising committee and there are representatives of the Premier League talking about the last 3 years of Premier League projects in India. No longer are we speaking in terms of “back then” or “one day,” everything is about “here and now.”
On a personal level, FICCI GOAL allowed me to examine my own growth in this industry. Whereas, many years ago I was still this random American guy in the corner trying to make a mark in Indian football, I have now earned a position at the head table serving as a panelist, moderator, salesman for Soccerex and the person called up to launch our bi-annual industry knowledge report. More importantly though, my knowledge, respect and level of interaction with key industry stakeholders has immensely grown over the past few years which is quite comforting. I used to survive conversations at these conferences which were so focused on the negative and now I can easily create when I meet someone new as there is just more positive to discuss.
So, overall FICCI GOAL 2015 was a success both professionally and personally. I’ll always push for more and I wish there could have been more sponsors, delegates and media present and this is definitely something which we will continue to work on, but I can’t do anything but smile as the growth was clearly visible which, as I stated earlier, is by far, the element I value the most.