The industry that surrounds sports betting requires strong leaders, who are capable of navigating the sector of the gambling industry that is most prone to accusations of corruption. To emphasize this acute need, Betting on Football 2019 invited the legendary Italian footballer Franco Baresi to give the opening speech, and our Becky Liggero caught up with him on the sidelines.
Baresi isn’t a common sight at these types of events, but after allowing Liggero to practice her Italian a bit, he explained that the bond between sport and gambling is strong. “It’s been a very nice and new experience,” he remarked. “The world of betting is of course very important for sport. It’s a big business, sports and betting have a lot to do with each other, we just have to make sure we separate them in the right way.”
The sporting legend knows a lot about leadership, and was a smart choice to deliver the opening speech. He played 531 matches for AC Milan between 1977 and 1997, winning several championships and having his number retired when he was done. He also a member of the Italian national team that won the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and returned to the finals once again in the 1994 World Cup, where Italy lost to Brazil in a heartbreaking shootout.
That wealth of experience gives him so many lessons he can share with the business world. “I believe leadership is of crucial importance in any sector for any business,” Baresi said. “For sports, and especially team sports, its fundamental. A leader needs to give the example, and needs to indicate the objective and the mentality to make sure that the team works together, and is able to reach more as a team than as individuals.”
For the more than 2,000 attendees and 40 businesses operating booths at this year’s Betting on Football conference, those are great takeaways. Leaders in the space will have clear objectives, lead by example, and from those qualities they will accomplish new levels of success.