The International Festival for Business 2016 saw more than 3000 people attend in its first two days last week. Last Tuesday saw deals struck between attendees and a special announcement made by former Liverpool and England football stars Michael Owen and Mark Wright.
The day opened with Owen and Wright announcing their new Chinese business venture Red Sports at a conference attended by more than 60 Chinese delegates and local officials.
As part of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s plan to make China a “world football superpower” by 2050, Red Sports will specialise in the development of soccer schools and coach education programmes in China. The announcement was made to an audience of high profile officials and more than 60 Chinese delegates.
The second day also saw the opening of the festivals “Business of…” sessions. Highlights included “The Business of Trust”, “The Business of Music” and the “Business of Football”.
“The Business of Trust” featured Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrat Peer and Managing Partner at DLA Piper discuss with Andrew Lynch, Assistant Business Editor at the Sunday Times how, in the wake of the financial crisis, businesses have lost the public’s trust.
“The Business of Music” saw Kev McManus, Head of UNESCO Liverpool City of Music, Judith Owen of the British Music Experience and Craig Pennington, Editor-In-Chief and Publisher of music magazine Bido Lito! and co-founder and Director of the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia discuss how music and culture can act as an economic driver.
Mark Palios, Chairman of Tranmere Rovers FC, joined Amanda Jacks of the Football Supporters Federation, Chris Brady, Director of the Centre for Sports Business at Salford University and Sue Wright, Business Development Director at Red Sports in a panel debate curated by Peter Hooton, lead singer of The Farm. The panel discussed “The Business of Football” and took questions from IFB2016 delegates on topics that included the role of social media in football, the impact of fan power, how globalisation is changing the sport and the future of women.
The day’s sessions closed ahead of former president of South Africa, FW De Clerk’s Blue Skies Speaker session at 17:30.