José Carlos Diez is Sales Manager for French-speaking markets at WSBSPORT. Since 2014 he has been working with companies in the sports sector, especially padel and indoor soccer.
Tell us about your journey before arriving in WSBSPORT.
Since I finished my engineering studies at the Polytechnic University of Valencia back in 2009, I have been in companies of different sizes and sectors. I started my career in the French multinational SUEZ, where I worked in several regional centres of its subsidiary SUEZ ENVIRONMENT dedicated to the treatment and production of drinking water, always in the Quality, Environment and Safety departments. After a while, I decided to become an entrepreneur helping Spanish companies to internationalize thanks to digital marketing. From there I had the opportunity to enter the sports facilities sector and more specifically in Padel and indoor soccer.
What do you enjoy most about working at WSBSPORT?
The good atmosphere among all of us.
What is your mission with the company?
I am the sales manager for French-speaking countries.
Where do you hope the company will be in five years?
Our company has a high potential, especially because of the human and professional skills of the people who are part of WSBSPORT. I see WSBSPORT in 5 years as a global consulting company capable of managing turnkey projects anywhere in the world, from the conception to the management of centres, in projects of any area of Sportainment, (sports & entertainment).
How would you describe the French-speaking market for indoor soccer and padel?
The French-speaking market has always been the main market for 5-a-side soccer as we know it today. At the moment, after 20 years of development, I think it can be considered a mature market, but with still a great potential for ambitious and innovative projects that can adapt five-a-side soccer to the new trends of entertainment and sport. The years 2010 have been the years of the internationalization of padel, moving out of its two main markets, Argentina and Spain. Today it can be affirmed that padel is a new sport that comes to stay. A few years ago it would have been unthinkable that there would be a Japan Padel Tour or that the next world championship would be held in the Middle East. Padel has had an uneven development in the French-speaking markets. On the one hand, France was the clear favourite to take over from Spain in the development of padel in Europe, but it has not yet taken off. In Belgium, however, padel has been taking off in the last 5 years, both in terms of players and facilities; although in Belgium there is already 1 padel court per 25,000 inhabitants.
What are the challenges of the market after the COVID19 emergency?
I think the main challenge for sports centres in the coming months is to prove that they can be safe places in terms of hygiene and disinfection to combat covid and other viral threats. In the last year, we have developed a whole series of protocols and systems that minimize the possibility of transmission, from temperature control, ultraviolet ray devices, the use of gels and barrier screens, quality certifications, all of this I think is enough to avoid future total closures.
If you had to advise a new investor or club owner on new trends what would you say?
The advantage that sports complexes have today is that they can obtain a lot of data on the habits of users since almost everything is reflected online. Clubs have to be able to analyze and use this information to their advantage to validate or improve their business model. They must facilitate user feedback and not hesitate to take into consideration their comments, complaints and suggestions.