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3 Key Takeaways from the SPOBIS Conference 2023
Data as a key to the American dream
Andreas Terler
The financial future of football, the increasing relevance of sustainability and huge technological opportunities were the main topics of the talks, panel discussions and keynotes at the SPOBIS Conference 2023.

Europe’s largest sports business event, the SPOBIS Conference, brought together stakeholders from a wide range of sports sectors in Düsseldorf on May 31 and June 1, 2023.


Not only were all the clubs of the German Bundesliga represented at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Center, but numerous guests from international leagues and associations as well as brands from various sectors of the sports business were also present in the city on the Rhine.


As in the previous year, skills.lab was represented with a team as an expo partner at the SPOBIS Conference. In direct exchange, the visitors got an insight into the skills.lab systems on site. Among others, the former DFB national team player and now Vice President of the Schleswig-Holstein Football Association Navina Omilade came to have a closer look at the skills.lab technologies from Anton Paar.


Away from the hustle and bustle of the Expo areas, decision-makers from the sports business provided exclusive insights into the present and future of their field of activity in panel discussions and keynotes.


Due to landmark decisions in German soccer in the days before, the financial development of the DFL in particular was the subject of intense discussion.


These are our 3 key takeaways from SPOBIS Conference 2023:

#1 – It’s about targeted development, not hundreds of millions on the transfer market


The DFL’s failed investor deal was a major topic on both days of the conference, and the opinions of those involved on this decision sometimes diverged widely. While a new tender for the lucrative media rights is imminent, it currently seems unclear in which direction the Bundesliga, with its 36 clubs in the top two leagues, wants to develop. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a member of the UEFA Executive Committee and, more recently, a member of the supervisory board of FC Bayern, fears that the German top league is in danger of losing further ground financially to the Premier League. However, he opposes the plan by international competitors to force success on the European stage by flooding the transfer market with millions. “You work from morning to night for the cash of the agents and players. The Bundesliga can’t keep up in this rat race,” Rummenigge said. With this, he is taking the same line as fellow supervisory board member and honorary president Uli Hoeneß and campus manager Jochen Sauer, who told us in an interview how FC Bayern wants to find an answer to the transfer madness.

#2 – True sustainability is a relevant business case


If sustainability and sport are to be combined, the path to “greenwashing” is not far. But if the aim is to reach new target groups in the long term, serious strategies are needed in this area, as was emphasized in several discussions. The younger generation has a legitimate interest in knowing how sustainably a company really acts, making it easier for them to choose a potential employer, also in view of the shortage of skilled workers. In keeping with this, outstanding achievements in the area of sustainability were honored at the SPOBIS Conference. Award winners included FC St. Pauli and the European Championships Munich 2022.

#3 – Digital solutions are defining our time – more than ever before


AI tools like ChatGPT and Co. are on everyone’s lips and open up previously undreamed-of possibilities – for companies in general, but also for sports clubs and associations in particular. “If everything here is already full of data anyway, you might as well use it. The best thing to do is for everyone to do it. In sports, the core use case is scouting and talent development,” emphasized Volker Gruhn, Chairman of the Supervisory Board from German IT service provider adesso SE. So digital ways have long since made it possible not only to reach fans, but also to gain a lasting advantage over competitors. Precise data collection and analysis play an essential role in skills.lab’s systems. AI technologies show that the potential in these areas is enormous and that it will be possible to challenge and promote talent even better in the future with the help of technology.


With these thoughts in mind, the skills.lab team will continue to work on helping footballers, clubs and associations unlock their potential and take it to the next level. See you next year, SPOBIS Conference!