The closeness created by social networks and technology between football players and fans was debated this Wednesday, December 2nd, at the Web Summit, in the panel 'Athletes, AI and the future of digital revenue in sport'.
Pedro Fernandes Mestriner, CEO of Horizm, defended that "football players today function as a media channel", given that some of them "are true icons, not only for the way they play, but how they dress or what they consume and that is why brands are increasingly looking for them so that they can amplify the message they want to convey ”.
Also present on this panel were Esteban Granero, a former Real Madrid player and Richarlison who currently plays for Everton's English.
The Brazilian midfielder assumed to use his social networks frequently since “it is very important for the fans to be close to us. Social networks bring us closer to people on a daily basis, and it is good for them to follow us and see our training, for example ”.
Esteban Granero, for his part, sees a big change in comparison when he started playing professional football 15 years ago. “This way of communicating is good for the football industry. There are more and more companies that use technology and artificial intelligence to create this relationship between players and fans ”, he stressed.
Pedro Fernandes Mestriner, stressed that these tools with the new technological tools allow “to make a better assessment on the type of content that is most relevant for a brand and the type of adept that it intends to reach”.
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven fans away from football stadiums. A situation that Richarlison considers to be difficult "because we have no one to support us, but we always try to do our best to win, because the fans continue to follow us through television or the internet".
Asked whether they also consider themselves influencers, in addition to footballers, Esteban Granero underlined that “when you see yourself or someone you admire on television and follow that person's life and career, whether you want to or not you end up becoming an influencer”.
The current FC Marbella player stresses that football players “have a great responsibility not only as consumers, but also for companies”, given that today they have a great power to influence societies and technology ends up optimizing that even more ”.
An opinion defended also by Richarlison. “I always try to be as close to people as possible and I use my social networks for that. I like to get involved in important social causes ”, he said.