David Davutovic on Preston Lions’ rich history and ambitions for the future

At the recent Preston in Business event, media personality David Davutovic spoke about Preston Lions’ storied history, it’s incredible impact on football in Australia and the Club’s future as one of the eight foundation clubs in the emerging National Second Tier (NST).

The Lions are well known for their incredible fanbase, garnered over 77 years of history and have significantly broadened this over many years. This transition means that for the first time since 1993, Preston will be competing on the national stage of Australian football.

Davutovic, a special keynote guest, reflected on the Lions’ foundation and their growth to being one of the most popular NPL-based teams.

“The club has played a huge role in Australian football. The club had 30 pretty successful years prior to the NSL and there is a truly rich history at the club,” said Davutovic, Managing Director of Bruce Media.

“The club has been in the top division, in the NSL for 13 years and before that from 1947 onwards there have been some great players come through and represent the country.” he said at the event.

“More recently, Sasa Ognenovski came through in the post NSL era and was a product of this club. He was voted the best Asian player in 2010 and won an Asian Champions League over in South Korea then went on to play for the Socceroos.

“There’s no doubt this club is right up there in its contribution to Australian football, and we are all very excited to see what the future holds.”

The NST has been an attractive idea for many years but with very little action from Football Australia, it never really came to light until recently.

Preston Lions were one of the biggest drivers and immediately put their hand up to become one of the foundation clubs. The club’s strong performance in critical revenue streams like sponsorship, gameday ticketing and membership have helped the club get into a position to take on this financial hurdle with an opportunity to dream of achieving the impossible.

“It’s really exciting for the sport and it’s interesting as to how it’s all come about,” Davutovic said.

“It’s a bit like the A-League expansion project of five or six years ago. It happened somewhat organically because there was this groundswell of support, and Preston as a club have (arguably) played the biggest role in kickstarting this momentum that triggered the second division.

“When it kicks off next year it’s going to be huge. Preston had the courage to step forward and immediately say yes and obviously it’s a massive financial commitment for the club but they said ‘we’re doing it’ and credit to the club for that.

“The current situation is eight clubs in the second division but my understanding is that they are looking at an expansion to 10 or 12 teams, maybe more from Victoria and they can really grow this second division.”

Australian football cannot afford to waste the momentum gained from fantastic performances on the pitch in international tournaments.

With the fast-growing rates of participation and attendance at the national level, as well as the emergence of a few amazing young talents hitting their stride locally and in Europe, there has never been a better launchpad for growth within the community.

Davutovic spoke on the future of Australian football after fantastic Socceroos and Matildas international campaigns – adding to the emergence of the ever-important NST.

“The future of Australian football is really bright, evidently in the results from the Socceroos at the last World Cup then the quarter final exit at the Asian Cup to a very decent South Korea side,” he said.

“Of course, the Matildas with a brilliant campaign are growing women’s football, even the representation here at Preston is great.

“I can actually see football taking on the other codes, because all of a sudden, teams like Preston and all the other state league and NPL clubs are getting recognised. They have been treated disrespectfully from around 2004 onwards.”

“They are part of the system and have just as much of a right to compete in the top division and in the Asian Champions League as the A-League clubs because at the moment it’s a pretty closed shop.”

The opportunity for Preston to make an even bigger mark on Australian football has presented itself with the NST and the club clearly has every intention to grow because of it.

Venezia FC and NYU team up for innovative opportunity

Venezia FC has confirmed it has joined forces with the New York University (NYU) Tisch School for Global Sport, embarking on an alliance targeted at merging academic understanding within the dynamic world of global football marketing.

This partnership, which was confirmed at an event that displayed synergy between scholarly authority and sports management, cementing an innovative step towards incorporating fan intelligence directly into Venezia’s FC international marketing strategies.

The significance of this collaboration is a unique experience set to commence in Italy this summer for students from NYU to have a chance at visiting Venezia FC, by having an hands-on project specifically designed to collect and analyse fan intelligence.

The information that will be accumulated from this enterprise are expected to have a pivotal role in transforming the club’s global marketing ambitions, making certain the approach are both successful and deeply linked to the core values and preferences of the supporters.

To commemorate the beginning of this collaboration, Venezia FC and NYU co-hosted an educational convention titled “The Emergence of a Renewed Global Soccer Phenomenon: Bringing Italian Traditions, Culture and Il Calcio to the United States.”

The event was led by Venezia FC’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and Head of Global Partnerships, Silvia Davi, as well as Academic Director and Professor at the Tisch Institute, Gina Antoniello, had gathered specialists in the industry to discuss the amalgamation of Italian football traditions with the American sports landscape.

The focus was not only on the academic and sporting characteristics but also celebrating the cultural ties between Italy and the United States.

Looking ahead on how much Venezia FC and NYU’s Tisch School for Global Sport can achieve to revolutionise sports in different areas is immense. This not only shows the evolving landscape of football globally, but also sets a model for similar partnerships between sports and educational institutions, aiming to further advance a profound understanding and appreciation of the world game across continents.

The serious waves Series Futsal have made and what it means for the sport

Football within Victoria in a broad sense is difficult to unpack from multiple angles. What is clear is the passion displayed by fanatics.

Although not a traditional form of football, it’s cousin futsal has slowly emerged as a popular indoor sport that has abundance of opportunity within Australia’s major futsal organisation, Futsal Oz.

Futsal Oz has been the manifestation of the football extraordinaire Peter Parthimos, who founded the entity in 2006. When discussing with Peter in regards to why he created Futsal Oz, he discussed how he wished to unify people, provide competitive competitions to those who played the sport, all the while providing opportunity to those who want to play on a leisurely level all the way to a professional level.

Despite having a turbulent tenure throughout the global pandemic in 2020. Futsal Oz came out of Covid-19 with a newly furbished Futsal court fit for its most talented players. The court resides in their Thomastown location. Series Futsal is currently the highest level of futsal across the country and features abundance of Australia’s most coveted football players.

Melbourne-owned Sport Recreational Wear manufacturer AKU is a proud partner, with many women’s and men’s series sides opting to use AKU as a kit sponsor. The company also designed and created kits which were featured in the monthly major event in Thomastown, combining the best players across the Series Futsal competition to represent their respective ethnicities. The event was broadcasted on FireTv, a subsidiary to American-Bulgarian Company TrillerTv, who specialise in combat and European Sport streaming. Melbourne born Commentator Michael Schiavello spearheaded the broadcast acting as executive producer.

Each Wednesday and Friday the competitions are streamed live via YouTube and its independently ran application “Wefroth”, allowing its humble yet passionate fanatics to watch each round of Series Futsal unfold.

Through the running of competitions and the opportunities it sets through broadcast, futsal is in a healthy position.

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