Ed Woodward on the future of football
Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward held a call with club shareholders on Thursday and made some very interesting comments on where he sees football going.
Woodward was for a long period a figure of fun, as Manchester United struggled in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson years.
In recent times however, Woodward has gained a reputation of a savvy businessman thanks to Manchester United’s financial success despite leaner times on the pitch.
And, Woodward has shown that he can make deals for Jose Mourinho as well, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez signed in recent years.
Ed Woodward on the revamped Club World Cup
During the call with Manchester United shareholders, Ed Woodward discussed the revamped Club World Cup that is currently being discussed between the biggest sides in the world, UEFA and FIFA.
Manchester United and Liverpool are amongst the clubs who have been approached regarding a 24-team Club World Cup that could start in 2021.
A consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank is leading the vision, which would bring in huge amounts of money into the game, with the winner of the competition earning £100 million.
Whilst Manchester United have not publicly committed to taking part, Woodward signalled the link between SoftBank, who have invested in global streaming platforms (OTT platforms), and their desire to improve the Club World Cup.
Woodward “Live compelling content will be the key battleground”
The Times report that Ed Woodward said on the call with Manchester United shareholders: “Many of you will have seen reports of a $25 million offer to Fifa, 12 billion of which is for four cycles of a revamped Club World Cup tournament between 2021 and 2033.”
Woodward continued: “The merits and details are currently being considered by Fifa and other stakeholders and I don’t intend to go into them here, however it highlights a few relevant points.”
The Manchester United CEO added: “It supports the view that OTT [over the top, or streaming] platforms will be the future of content consumption. Live compelling content will be the key battleground, and for whichever way the rapidly evolving media landscape unfolds, content generators are uniquely placed to be the beneficiaries. As such we believe live sports content will become increasingly more valuable in the future.”