The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer
Murray Barnett, ”Media & Sponsorship Unpacked”

Murray Barnett, ”Media & Sponsorship Unpacked”

October 7, 2021

Great stories and learning from Murray Barnett’s illustrious career across NBA, ISL, World Rugby and F1 to turning entrepreneur with his own boutique consulting agency during the pandemic. Lots of wisdom and great sharing from his journey over the past 2 decades.

 

Key Highlights

  1. Starting at Orbit, Satellite TV space in Rome, Italy and some Italian House Music 
  2. From Rome to Budapest to the NBA Europe in Paris – plan, plan and plan again – amazing level of detail, great lessons from David Stern 
  3. Lessons from being at ISL Marketing for the final years of the agency handling FINA & FIBA accounts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true (ATP disaster) 
  4. Next stop ESPN, Russell Wolf offering a role as Employee #1 in ESPN’s Disney office in London
  5. His focus at ESPN International – selling rights portfolio to other broadcasters, supervising ESPN channels in Middle East & Africa , identifying new opportunities to build the brand    
  6. Big international expansion and ESPN UK (Premier League rights for one cycle) – what worked and didn’t work 
  7. Success stories, ESPN Middle East, growing to 3 channels on ART and growth of ESPN Latin America and learning from top Disney/ESPN executives 
  8. ESPN MVNO (ESPN The Phone) – culture of trying lots of new things and turning failure into learning to pivot into new areas
  9. World Rugby (IRB),  Chief Commercial Officer role, from TV to sponsorship to hospitality.  Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and other competitions (HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series deal)
  10. Rugby’s different philosophy as a sport and significance of rebranding the sport to World Rugby, Olympic inclusion for Rugby Sevens 
  11. Rugby World Cup scale and size – US$250 million per event & Maradona visiting Twickenham story 
  12. Private Equity in sports - bringing external “influencers” to push change in sports, the role of “outsiders” like CVC and similar groups investing and coming into sports with a different perspective 
  13. Formula One Management – Head of Global Sponsorship & Commercial Partnerships – track side and hospitality packages       
  14. Massive ten year deal with Aramco (largest company in the world, Saudi Oil giant) and how AWS (Amazon Web Services) came into the sport 
  15. Aramco deal unpacked and how the deal happened.  And the big difference between selling TV rights and sponsorship deals. 
  16. F1 Esports, fan festivals and other new innovations 
  17. Founding 26West Sport during the Pandemic , boutique sports consultancy specializing in TV rights, sponsorship and commercial development 
  18. “Learning” being an entrepreneur the past year 

 

About Murray Barnett

Murray Barnett is a Sports Marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience in Media, Marketing & Sponsorship worldwide. He has uniquely worked for sports leagues, governing bodies, TV/media companies and sports marketing agencies.

Starting out in Italy and Hungary with Orbit and Nethold respectively, Murray worked on two international TV start-ups in marketing, sales and programming capacities.

Upon leaving Hungary, he was employed by NBA Europe to manage marketing partnerships & programme development with NBA Broadcast partners. From there he was headhunted by ISL to manage TV accounts for FIBA basketball and Fina swimming.

Amongst ISL TV’s sales portfolio were also IAAF, FIFA and ATP Tennis which Murray sold across a number of European territories. From there, he was asked to join ESPN to launch their European TV Sales operations which included 3 channel brands and over 10,000 hours of content sales. Murray was also part of the launch team for ESPN UK which broadcast English Premier League, Rugby and US Sports for four seasons.

After 11 years at ESPN, Murray was recruited for the role of Chief Commercial Officer at World Rugby, the governing body for the sport. His many responsibilities include all TV sales, content development, sponsorship & commercial agreements, licensing and hospitality.

Following the change of ownership at F1, Murray was asked to join the management team as Director of Global Sponsorship & Commercial Partnerships tasked with developing and growing commercial opportunities for partners within F1.

 

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Stephane Schindler, ”Game Changer”

Stephane Schindler, ”Game Changer”

September 24, 2021

Stephane Schindler, another French industry veteran who has left his mark across the sports world and in particular with CAA Eleven which changed the face of UEFA’s National Team competitions and commercial structures. Lot’s of great stories and details in our discussion.  Enjoy.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Starting as Intern at EUROSPORT, early days of cable TV in Europe
  2. Next stop Canal+, Head of Sports Acquisition of sports rights, Sport+ and Jerome Valcke connection
  3. Connecting with all the major rights holders during the role – early days of Sportel Monaco
  4. Joining IMG Media in France in 2000,  Michael Grach and Michel Masquelier roles   
  5. Great six years at IMG from selling rights to dealing with rights holders, lots of learning in the commercialization of sports rights (Golden Age of industry 1990-2010)
  6. Meeting Arnaud Lagardere and starting the agency in 2006, because Lagardere being a big listed company, organic growth wasn’t an option.  M&A growth model.
  7. Setting up Lagardere Sports from scratch as first employee and going on big acquisition spree from Sportfive, World Sport Group, IEC in Sports, etc. Building a portfolio of companies.
  8. Total acquisition cost, in the EURO 1 billion range for the above agencies to buy scale in the industry fast  
  9. Recently, the group was sold for around Euro 110 million (renamed Sportfive), 90% drop in value – failure in implementation and execution, at peak Euro 60-70 mil in profits
  10. Founding his own agency, Media Sport System, short 1 year as advisor
  11. CAA Eleven, how it all started in 2012 with UEFA looking to centralize the National Team rights  - idea driven by M. Platini, G. Infantino, G. Laurent Epstein, etc
  12. UEFA was looking for a similar structure to their successful TEAM Marketing partnership for their National Team rights
  13. Finding the right partner to create a brand new agency which would only focus on UEFA rights, partnering with CAA, big US talent agency
  14. Multiple rounds of bidding, starting with 15 bidders, final rounds against IMG and Lagardere.  Advantage of being a start up and brand new company, totally dedicated to the project.
  15. How CAA Eleven won the deal?  UEFA wanted to keep full control and have protection through an agency.  CAA Eleven’s first block of rights, 2014-18, since then renewed twice, currently till 2028
  16. UEFA Nations League – turning friendly matches into something more meaningful for fans and players – every match counts – going from 700 official matches to 1,500 on offer
  17. Successful both on and off the field (commercially)
  18. UEFA EURO 2020 in 2021 – his experience from the inside. UEFA made an early decision to move up by one year. Renegotiate with everyone from host cities, sponsors, broadcasters, teams, etc
  19. Overall big success and positive feedback from partners – now focused on EURO 2024 in Germany (Football is coming home 😊)
  20. Insights into UEFA’s and CAA Eleven OTT and media strategy and approach
  21. His crystal ball on future growth of media rights for Premium sports properties – live is rare & rare is gold  

 

About Stephane Schindler

Stéphane Schindler started his career in 1996 at Eurosport as Operational Marketing Manager.

In 1998, he joined Canal+ and became Head of Sports Acquisitions.

In 2000, he became part of IMG as TWI International Vice-President and IMG Head of Business Affairs France.
He was in charge of:
- the sale of the rights of prestigious sports events (Rugby World Cup, America’s Cup)
- the relationships with the French sports governing bodies (24 hours du Mans, French Tennis Open, “Tour de France”, “Ligue de Football Professionnel” (French Football League))

Stéphane joined Groupe Lagardère in September 2006 to launch the Sports Division for Arnaud Lagardère and became Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Lagardère Sports, where he managed and supervised:
- the strategy, the development and the acquisitions of the whole Lagardère Sports division (SportFive, IEC in Sports, World Sport Group, Upsolut and PR Event)
- all the operational activities in Media, Marketing and events

In 2011, Stéphane Schindler decided to launch MEDIA SPORT SYSTEM, a consulting firm operating in the Media & Sport business, as well as a worldwide network of independent partners in the field

Stéphane Schindler is graduated in TV and Telecommunications Management (DESS) from the University of Paris IX Dauphine, and in Management and Economics (Master’s degree) from the same University (Paris IX Dauphine)

Specialties: Media & Sports business :
- Sports media rights management
- Sports media production
- Media & sports investment strategy (M&A experiences)
- Brandtainment in sports

 

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Andrew Croker, ”Mr Chairman”

Andrew Croker, ”Mr Chairman”

September 11, 2021

Andrew Croker, Chairman of multiple enterprises and one of the most outspoken sports Entrepreneurs hailing from the UK.  Fun and colorful deep dive into Andrew’s 40+ years in the industry from his days following his dad around Football club board rooms to successfully launching Perform, the Global Cycling Network and getting Hawk-Eye into Football.

 

Key Highlights

  1. How it started, back in ancient history in 1973, his father becoming the General Secretary of the English FA
  2. Opening doors and hanging out with his dad in Football club board rooms and socializing with everyone in sports
  3. Joining BSB (later BSkyB) as employee #4-5, drawing up weekly sports schedule
  4. Finders, Binders, Minders and Grinders.  He was always a “Finder”
  5. How sitting next to Sir Frank Lowe (Advertising Legend) on the Concorde lead to launching Orbit –  sports marketing agency   
  6. Next stop, Ian Todd asking him to start IMG Football Division together with Paul Smith   
  7. Sportal – massive rise and big crash  - missed the big sale by weeks – dotcom boom and bust story of the year 2000
  8. Premier League international TV rights (IMG, Sport+, Fox/Newscorp partnership) –  working with new Sportfive as International Board Member and UK CEO
  9. How “Perform” idea was seeded and came together – group in Hamburg looking at Digital Production idea – Oliver Slipper – Premium TV  & Inform team
  10. Access Industries (Len Blavatnik) comes into the picture – meeting Robert Louis-Dreyfus – and eventually cutting a deal with Len to merge Premium TV and Inform to form Perform
  11. Going public and taking it back private, from de-coupling Perform’s profitable B2B business from DAZN’s B2C business and the differences in business models and valuations
  12. Next opportunity arrives with Play Sports Group – Claude Ruibal, Global Head of Sports of YouTube at the time providing the “seed money” for the Global Cycling Network on YouTube (Chairman role) – great story from how it started and eventually sold to Eurosport/Discovery Network in 2019
  13. Fascinating Hawk-Eye Football story (South Africa World Cup story and how we ended up in the same stadium in Bloemfontein)  and our thoughts on VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in football
  14. Oakwell Sports Advisory – Chairman Advisory Board – intersection between sports world and Private Equity
  15. His views on PE in sports, not mincing his words as usual – and a bit of Consultant bashing to top it off
  16. Final thoughts on why we both love the industry and can’t wait to get back out

 

About Andrew Croker

Andrew Croker is a very well-known figure in the sports management and media business, with over forty years’ experience. He has worked with many of the biggest rights holders, media owners, agencies and sports brands in the world. Andrew was the first Head of Sport at BSB, the forerunner to Sky Sports, and started and ran IMG’s global football division.

In 2007, as Executive Chairman, he co-founded the digital sports rights agency, Perform Group, now DAZN, the live and on-demand sports streaming service. He remains an adviser to Stats Perform, the leading sports data and streaming service. He also consulted to Hawk-Eye for ten years until 2019, focussing on the introduction of technology into football, and was also Chairman of Play Sports Group, which included the Global Cycling Network - the world’s leading community of cycling fans - until its sale to Discovery Networks in 2019.

 

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John West, “Power of Influencer Content”

John West, “Power of Influencer Content”

August 19, 2021

John West, a serial entrepreneur across multiple businesses before getting into the exciting world of Sports content, influencers and social media platforms.  Started Team Whistle in 2009 after several years of figuring out his next move.  Recently partnered and merged with Eleven Sports.  Learn about his entrepreneurial journey and amazing stories of how he build a company that now has over 4 billion impressions per months across over 1,600 “Channels” of influencers and online personalities.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early days as entrepreneur in environmental engineering business in his early 20s – company still around till today
  2. Getting a Harvard MBA while working and sold the business
  3. Next stop, New York City – Mitchell Madison, new Consulting group – fast growing business
  4. Silver Oak Solutions – 2nd entrepreneurial company in “spend management”, software to automate spending patterns of private equity firm’s assets – sold successfully as well
  5. How he got “back” into sports and learning from his kids habits on how they consumed content (media).
  6. A group of people who made the difference in getting Team Whistle started (Geraldine Laybourne, Don Tapscott’s book “Growing up Digital”  and Mark Lazor)
  7. Researched topic for four years, personal learning curve and getting the product right – GenZ focus – first few ideas didn’t work well
  8. Focus on UGC (User generated content) across social media platforms – now managing over 1,600 channels and platforms
  9. Big hit with “Dude Perfect” , help them with wider distribution, content creation and bring advertisers to them
  10. Now over 500 “partners” (influencers) and over 200 Whistle owned channels
  11. Not going Negative – Content focused on being “positive, fun and entertaining”, focus on 13-15 year old’s
  12. Raising Money for growth – total raise over US$ 110 mil by now
  13. Revenue share model with partners and influencers - don’t need to own all the content, key is owning the data behind it and finding ways to monetize it
  14. “Brother”  big show on Snap – one great example with a social media platform
  15. 4 billion monthly views, 600 million followers globally across all channels. Currently focused on US and Europe. Expanding globally
  16. Further growth by acquisition, getting high profile investors into the business (lots of miles travelled) and partnership with Eleven Sports (Andrea Radizzani).
  17. Logic behind the deal with Eleven and the synergies between the companies – merged stock deal – combined US$ 300 mil in revenue
  18. Esports & Gaming – 25 Pro-Gamers as partners, lifestyle, etc
  19. Harvard Business School connections and his involvement as the President of the Harvard Alumni network

 

About John West

John West is the Executive Chairman of Team Whistle, which he founded in 2008.  Prior to that, he was the CEO and Chairman of Silver Oak Solutions, which he founded in 1999, and sold to CGI in 2005.  Prior to that he was a Partner at Michell Management Group, and also Founder and CEO of Enstrat from 1989 until he sold it in 1996.

John has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  He has served on several Boards at Harvard, and is currently the volunteer President of the Harvard Alumni Association.  John lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

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Harpreet Singh Rai, “Wearable Health And Wellness”

Harpreet Singh Rai, “Wearable Health And Wellness”

August 5, 2021

Harpreet Singh Rai, the CEO of OURA Health Ltd, a Finish company which is making a huge splash in the wearable health and wellness space through its smart ring product.  He shares his stories how he became involved in the business and where he is planning to take it.  Great stories on how the product works and the benefits behind it, to the future growth and plans of the business.   

 

Key Highlights

  1. Coming out college wanting to be an engineer, spending his first 10 years in the financial world on Wall Street, including Eminence Capital, multi billion dollar Fund, investing in tech 
  2. Combined his passion for health and wellness with his research in the tech space and getting into wearables as an early adopter/user
  3. Running into the co-founder at a grocery store – and hitting it off 
  4. Personally investing in the company in 2016 and joining the board.  Joining the company full time, in 2017 as President/CEO 
  5. Founders from Finland, country with great history in tech and health culture (Nokia, Polar, etc)
  6. OURA – focus on sleep tracking – massive benefits of the right amount and type of sleep (lack of sleep is detrimental to health)
  7. OURA ring – how it works, the data it measures, what it does and comparison to other wearables 
  8. “Sleep is the world’s best (legal) performance enhancing drug” quote by Matthew Walker, Author of “Why we Sleep”
  9. What were the first users, beyond the early “bio hackers” adopters – awareness of Sleep becoming more main stream
  10. Sports connection, with NBA, UFC, NFL teams all inbound requests based on the product benefits 
  11. Covid influence on the business – very positive due to the ability to detect potential Covid infection before people show symptoms
  12. Shipped over 500k rings since inception, doubling every year – raised Series C, over US$ 100 mil 
  13. Great diverse group of investors globally, from Google to Temasek (Singapore Wealth Fund), Michael Dell and others. Strategic Investors supporting growth.
  14. Ouraring.com – only available online, shipping to 100 countries globally  - North America biggest markets, Europe and Asia growing 
  15. What’s the future going forward.  Wearable market, 200 million units globally – smart phones over 1 billion. 
  16. Opportunities for more use cases to measure important health markers and build in preventive measures to detect heart attacks and others early signs of illnesses      
  17. Next steps after raising the money -  growth, SPACs, IPO and other options out there 
  18. Strong growth margins and profitable business 
  19. Challenges and how to overcome them – strong company values = solutions focused (find 3 solutions to every problem), Ubuntu (ancient African word -humanity to others)

 

About Harpreet Singh Rai

Harpreet Singh Rai is the chief executive officer of Oura and a member of its board. His purpose is to be part of a team that is committed to improving the well-being of others. Under his leadership, Oura has grown to a team of nearly 100 employees and has launched its Generation 2 ring, shipping over 100,000 units to 90 different countries. He is responsible for Oura’s vision and strategy and guides decisions that ensure the organization’s financial health.

Before Oura, Rai was a portfolio manager who led the technology, media and telecom portfolio at Eminence Capital for 9nine years. He began his career working in Morgan Stanley’s merger and acquisitions group. Rai studied electrical engineering at the University of Michigan.

 

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Terrence Burns, “Olympic Marketing Unpacked”

Terrence Burns, “Olympic Marketing Unpacked”

July 28, 2021

Terrence Burns is best known as the “Bidding Guy” (in his own words), having supported and worked on more successful Olympic bids than anyone else in the industry. Lots of great stories and learn from his incredible experiences at Delta Airlines (which inspired several books) to working with sponsors and brands across the world. Great insights into the Olympic Games, from bidding processes and how it has changed, to branding the Games, to emotions which describes what the Rings mean to people.  Enjoy the history lesson of the Games while watching the Tokyo Olympics 2020-21.   

 

Key Highlights

  1. Starting at the bottom of Delta Airlines fresh out of College –  Maintenance Utility Employee & working his way up the ranks over a period of 15 years 
  2. Official Airline of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta – how it all started 
  3. Leading Delta’s sponsorship program of the Games, massive learning curve.  Key setting clear KPI’s, to manage the board expectations
  4. Moving from being a Client to the Agency side with Meridien Management, official marketing agency of the IOC
  5. Joining Founders Chris Welton and Laurent Scharapan as Sn. VP Marketing – commissioned first proper research on the IOC and Olympic brand  
  6. McDonald’s five Cheeseburger Olympic story to illustrate the change in thinking
  7. Sponsors have to tell a story to show consumers why they are involved and build the connection.  The fee is just the entry ticket to the party. 
  8. Celebrate Humanity Campaign with Robin Williams 
  9. Talking numbers of Olympic programs in early 2000 – both for the TOP and LOC program 
  10. Salt Lake City crisis and how it turned around through “research lead facts” with sponsors 
  11. Losing Moscow Bid, character building and leading to the next gig – Sochi 
  12. Partnering with Frank Craighill, one of the foundering partners of ProServe (Donald Dell’s Agency) and Chris Walton to launch Helios (adding Chris Renner, Prescient later)
  13. Success with Five Olympic bids & 2 World Cups , bringing Wrestling & Golf back into the Games, Asian Games, etc – helping to steer those bids and creating the stories around it
  14. PyeongChang winning bidding story vs Munich’s losing story 
  15. New IOC approach to decide on future locations – no longer beauty parades, now Executive Board looks at which cities reflect the Olympic Values and best location for the movement 
  16. Emotional Senegal story – Olympics means “hope” 
  17. Asian Games gig – a balancing act – Doha 2030 and Saudi Arabia 2034
  18. Current focus for him – working with Sponsor on the great decade of global Sports for North America, from the 2026 World Cup to the 2028 LA Olympics to potentially the Winter Olympics in 2030
  19. Basic advice to sponsors – don’t sign the BTA (Basic Terms of Agreement) before you get advice from an expert
  20. Latest numbers, US$ 200 million fees for TOP or LOC programs (4 year cycle) – the ratio of fees to activation investment debate
  21. LA Bid about the next 100 years of the Olympic movement 
  22. Sochi story – the US$ 50 billion number unpacked 
  23. Tokyo 2020-21 thoughts to wrap it up – differences in sponsor mind set in Japan or China vs the US market

 

About Terrence Burns

I have a long history in Olympic marketing, dating from 1993. My background is unique, and includes: 

  1. A combination of sponsorship consulting/sales, Olympic and World Cup bidding, Olympic Agreement negotiation, and international sports branding and communications.
  2. Serving "on all sides of the table" - as an Olympic sponsor, as a rights holder with the IOC/Meridian, and as a consultant to bidding cities and nations, rights holders and sponsors around the world.
  3. Advising clients as varied as Allianz, the Australian Rugby Union, Australian Football Federation, Samsung, Petro-Canada, the City of Moscow, BHP Billiton, TNT China, Bell Canada, Dow Chemical, Nissin Foods, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Paralympic Committee to name but a few.
  4. Directing Delta Air Lines' highly successful sponsorship of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
  5. Joined the IOC’s then-new external marketing agency, Meridian Management SA after the Atlanta Games where I served as Senior Vice President – Marketing, responsible for managing the marketing and client servicing relationships with the IOC’s global TOP Partners.
  6. At Meridian, I helped spearhead the first-ever global assessment and positioning of the Olympic Brand, resulting in the IOC’s first brand image campaign, “Celebrate Humanity”.
  7. Served as the lead brand and marketing consultant for the successful Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, PyeongChang 2018, and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic bids, the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup & United 2026 FIFA World Cup bids, and the Doha 2030 Asian Games bid.
  8. Served as the lead brand strategist for Golf and Wrestling’s bids to return to the Olympic Games.

 

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Patrick Mouratoglou, “The Coach”

Patrick Mouratoglou, “The Coach”

July 20, 2021

Patrick Mouratoglou, also known as “The Coach”, currently the most influential coach in tennis, sharing his incredible journey with us, starting with his difficulties in his childhood to overcoming them and turning his passion for Tennis first into a business (Academy) and then into a profession (Coach).  Amazing stories and incredible learning on multiple levels.  Best warm up story ever on the Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast. I am certain you will enjoy it.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early childhood stories and challenges (from low self esteem and panic attacks) and the lessons from it
  2. Winning the fight against his body and mind at the age of 11 – (first little victory) – lesson, we are the product of our life lessons (have a little win every day)
  3. Started playing tennis at the age of 4, playing 8 hours per day – Court was only place where he felt safe and confident 
  4. Age 15, parents “forced” him to stop playing against his will – another turning point in his life – his dream was destroyed
  5. Age 17, started psycho therapy for 10 years – developed tremendous skills how to read people due to his in-ability to interact with people 
  6. Working in his father’s company to learn the trade from the ground up – but wasn’t for him – pursued his passion for tennis again
  7. Great life Lessons from his meetings with his parents 
  8. Starting his first academy – renting two Courts (for E$ 3 per court per hour) – putting flyers on cars – after one year 40 “average” players taking lessons
  9. Next step – approached Bob Brett (at that time Boris Becker’s coach) to partner with him for the “Bob Brett Academy”
  10. Had two months to put it all together before Bob Brett showed up. Patrick was the “manager” and running the academy, unfortunately, after six years Bob leaves. 
  11. Worst business decision to build a name for someone else and now the “brand” disappears on him – luckily his young players stayed on
  12. He decided to put his own name on the “door”. Only problem was, he was not a Coach (yet).  
  13. From that decision onwards, it took him 10 years to win his first Grand Slam as a Coach – we unpack that incredible journey
  14. Marcos Baghdatis, first protégé, next lesson (from bad coaching)
  15. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, just made French Open Final  – 16 years old when she joined him, struggling together, great story 
  16. Serene Williams, she was going through a tough moment when they first met, hadn’t won a Grand Slam for two years and lost in first round in Paris 
  17. Called him to train in his tennis academy in Paris (at that time he was coaching Grigor Dimitrov) – “talk to me” story 
  18. He showed her what he thought she was doing wrong, working for 3 days and she loved it – next meeting in Wimbledon (which she won while Patrick coached her)
  19. Massively successful year in 2012, winning Grand Slams, Olympic Gold, etc at the age of 30 – and 10 Grand Slams later 
  20. Patrick Mouratoglou Academy  - from Nice, France to Greece & Dubai (Tennis Centers within top resorts)  
  21. Schooling and sports program – 200 students, 40 different nationalities – also for families, hotel, medical center, seminar area, etc 
  22. UTS – Ultimate Tennis Showdown – amazing new concept, shorter format, adapted rules, focused on digital audiences, players love it 
  23. Patrick talks us through his vision for UTS and what he thinks is right and wrong with tennis right now – must listen for anyone in the business of tennis
  24. UTS formula - short, dynamic, immersive and authentic content – started in 2020 in height of pandemic – coverage across 100 countries, 20 mil viewers, 10 invited players 
  25. Raising US$ 50 million right now, to build a League, 10 events per year in amazing locations across the world – like F1 (only same 10 players)

 

About

Patrick Mouratoglou is a French tennis coach and sports commentator of Greek descent. He has been the coach of Serena Williams since June 2012.

He founded the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in 1996 near Paris (later relocated to the outskirts of Nice), and has coached many up-and-coming players, including Marcos Baghdatis (whom he coached to the final of the 2006 Australian Open), Julia Vakulenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Aravane Rezaï, Irena Pavlovic, Jérémy Chardy, Laura Robson, Yanina Wickmayer and Grigor Dimitrov.

Mouratoglou started coaching the ATP player Marcos Baghdatis in 1999 when Mouratoglou invited him to his Tennis Academy in October 1999, on a one-week basis. Baghdatis was, according to Mouratoglou, "not an athlete at all", however within seven years he would become a junior world No. 1, win the 2003 Australian Open boys' title, reach the final of the same tournament in 2006 and reach the world's top ten.

In July 2007, he started coaching Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Within two years, Pavlyuchenkova reached the world's top 30 and has since made two Grand Slam quarterfinals and reached a career-high ranking of world No. 13. They ended their association in August 2009, and Mouratoglou moved onto coaching both Aravane Rezaï and Yanina Wickmayer. Rezaï enjoyed a successful 2010 season, entering the world's top 20 and winning the Premier event in Madrid whilst Wickmayer reached a career-high ranking of world No. 12 in April 2010. Mouratoglou stopped working with both Rezaï and Wickmayer in August 2010 and April 2012 respectively.

In December 2010, Mouratoglou started coaching Laura Robson, who was world No. 217 at the time and still struggling to break into the senior tour. They worked together for six months before separating shortly before Wimbledon in 2011, when Robson was still struggling to make any progress on the WTA Tour, having slipped further to world No. 257. During this same period, Mouratoglou also coached Jérémy Chardy within his academy.

In March 2012, Mouratoglou started coaching Grigor Dimitrov and set about guiding him back into the world's top 100, having dropped to No. 102 by the time he started. This association ended in September that year and Mouratoglou moved on to coaching Serena Williams.

By the time Mouratoglou started coaching Williams, she had just suffered her first-ever opening round defeat in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, losing in the first round of the 2012 French Open. Since then, Mouratoglou has guided Williams to her fifth, sixth and seventh Wimbledon titles, the Olympic gold medal, her fourth, fifth, and sixth US Open titles, her second and third French Open titles, three consecutive year-end championships titles, her sixth and seventh Australian Open title and lifted her back to world No. 1 in the WTA rankings.

 

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Giampiero Rinaudo, “Sports Tech, Made in Italy”

Giampiero Rinaudo, “Sports Tech, Made in Italy”

July 1, 2021

Giampiero Rinaudo, a passionate Italian sports tech Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO of Deltatre. Being the CEO for the past 35 years, managing the growth over three decades with now a team of over 1,000 technologists, designers, and innovators across the world who are driven by a passion to change the way the world consumes content. 

 

Key Highlights

  1. How it started, at the young age of 20 as a student, started to work part time in “timing support” with Olivetti – in Alpine Skiing and F1  
  2. In 1986, Deltatre was born, with three partners – continuing to service Olivetti in result and timing systems (manual time spotting at F1) 
  3. Olivetti starting to have financial problems, time to be a proper entrepreneur and start offering service to multiple clients 
  4. In 1995, about 40 people, growth in second decade driven by growth in media rights fees, especially Football 
  5. UEFA Champions League, big new client and opportunity, central results system operator 
  6. Staying at the cutting edge, working with top clients who push company to new heights and working globally 
  7. Internet and PC boom offering new opportunities, World Championship of Athletics, Gothenburg, 1995 – first real time results on the internet  
  8. Building websites and portals for Federations – clear focus to be a service provider, not in competition with our clients 
  9. In 2005 (second decade), 110 staff, two offices, heavily focused on 2-3 big clients, UEFA, FIFA, IAAF
  10. His own Entrepreneurial journey and learning – software developer turned CEO.  Learning on the job 
  11. Third decade, from 5 clients to 70 clients, streaming over the internet and social media, nearly 500 people 
  12. First Olympic streaming website for NBC at the Beijing Olympics 2008 – great success 
  13. London 2012 – first proper digital Olympics – again involved at a major level 
  14. Starting to develop “Products” for broader range of clients with smaller budget (changing from Service to Product culture)
  15. New Broadcasters clients, still focused on Europe and a few around the world 
  16. Growth funded internally until 2008, looking for growth beyond organic, Italian investor came in and Deltatre saved them during the subsequent global crisis
  17. 2016 Bruins Sports Capital (BSC), buys 75%, 25% still held by management – big growth in the US through BSC strong network 
  18. First new client(s) in the US, NFL Game Pass, then MLB, MLS
  19. OTT growth, now 50% of the business – broadcast clients 
  20. Acquisition of Massive Interactive – combining their product culture with Deltatre service culture 
  21. OTT – discussion about the evolution, the opportunities and challenge with monetization 
  22. Partnerships with Rights Holders, example with DFL (Bundesliga) and Sportec Solutions
  23. Beyond sports, a look at entertainment, Gaming & Esports
  24. Deltatre and Covid – effects on company & “one company” system & the “new normal” office culture 
  25. Look into the future of Deltatre – continued two digit growth, acquisition, etc 

 

About Giampiero Rinaudo

“When I was young, I wanted to be a timekeeper for alpine skiing,” says Deltatre’s Group CEO, Giampiero. Fascinated by sports, and growing up near Turin, Italy, within easy reach of mountains, it wouldn’t have been an unrealistic goal. But Giampiero, known as Gipi, would follow a related, but different, tact.

After completing his Computer Science studies at the University of Turin, he took his career dream as a starting point and supercharged it. Setting up Deltatre with two partners in 1986, he combined his interests in technology and sport to produce better fan experiences across the world – an ambition which began with creating ways to record times and other sports data more accurately. “I was a lover of computers and data and I loved sports, so I thought ‘what better than setting up Deltatre?’ Computers and sports were my passions,” he says.

When he set up the company aged just 27, Deltatre was unsurprisingly a very different place to today. An early project involved developing software to provide more accurate timekeeping for Formula 1, with the company installing transponders within cars to ensure lap times could be measured accurately – a tactic still used to this day.

Personal computers were in their infancy, meaning heavy equipment would often be carted to games. “They did the tasks we were doing at that time like record timings and inform about results,” he says. “Now we’ve moved in a completely different direction.”

Gipi could never have foreseen the incredible growth that Deltatre would encounter. From its humble beginnings as a team of just three, to more than 1,000 technologists, designers, and thought-leaders today in 19 offices across the globe. Now a silent partner powering many of the world’s most-watched events, including FIFA World Cups, UEFA Champions Leagues, ATP Tennis Tournaments, and NFL Super Bowls – to name just a few.

Disruption has remained constant over the past three decades – and Gipi and employees have evolved with it rather than fervently clung on to techniques of the past. With the recent acquisition of software company Massive Interactive, which specialises in the entertainment OTT space, this has never been more true. “When I look back every year, the company is never the same as the year before; it’s a constant transformation,” he says.

As well as the continued growth of the company, he believes one of his biggest achievements is the culture fostered at Deltatre. “It’s a very informal environment and my door is always open,” he says. And how does he want others in the company to view him? “Honest and loyal,” he says, “which I believe are also important sport values.” Outside of work, he enjoys alpine skiing, swimming, and hiking.

 

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Clive Bowen, “Racing Resorts”

Clive Bowen, “Racing Resorts”

June 17, 2021

Clive Bowen is a man truly shaped by his early career experiences; from his days at Rolls Royce to his years working with a large Saudi group before entering into the world of motor racing and him emerging as a world leader in building Racing Resorts around the world:

 

Key Highlights

  1. Studying mechanical engineering and landing first job at Rolls Royce (Aerospace) 
  2. Moving on to Wright Machinery (PPM). Amazing experience serving clients in Middle East – commencement of project management responsibility 
  3. Middle East stories from late 80s. A territory which changed dramatically each year for 20 years. 
  4. Great Lessons and stories from running Haldir Ltd., a division of a Saudi group for nine years. Commencement of the ‘always under promise and over deliver’ mantra
  5. 1997, meeting Paul Berger in Dubai and various other motorsports luminaries. Entry into the motorsport industry, initially as a hobby, then as a profession
  6. Pitching Dubai Autodrome for four years with Paul Berger. Cutting a deal with Union Properties, working with HOK Sports (now Populous). First design for a track and masterplan for a venue
  7. West Surrey Racing days - six years in Touring cars with MG – even becoming ‘team principal’ of the Junior MG BTCC team that launched the career of Colin Turkington
  8. Dubai Autodrome stories; how it evolved as a major property development 
  9. Next Apex project in Iceland and how 2008/09 financial crisis killed it
  10. Development of first "Race Resort", Hampton Downs Motorsports Park, New Zealand 
  11. Various Karting design and construction projects in Middle East 
  12. Herman Tilke, mutual respect - positioning Apex purposely below his F1 tracks 
  13. Difference in company philosophy: Tilke ‘race circuit focus’ vs ‘venue with a race circuit inside’ focus for Apex 
  14. Pragmatic approach to developing leads in the industry: 1 in 100 chance a lead turns into a construction project; Apex has had over 2000 inquiries, 200 project codes, turned into 20 construction projects. Typical five years lead time from enquiry to venue
  15. Difference between a race drivers point of view vs a designer's on what constitutes a great track 
  16. What makes an ultimate race track?
  17. Race Resort Projects in China
  18. Insights into the new Miami F1 track
  19. Potential new Race Resort in South East Asia 

 

About Clive Bowen

I established Apex Circuit Design Ltd in 1997 and developed it to become a world-leader in the field of motor race circuit design, engineering and master planning. My team and I design cost-effective, relevant, multi revenue, multi-use motorsport based entertainment destinations.

In 2009 we were appointed the FIA Institute Facilities Advisory Partner on a multi-year contract to support projects which are grant funded by the FIA Motor Sport Development Fund. Our service is to provide commercially and environmentally sustainable master plan designs for race destinations anywhere in the World.

We pride ourselves on creating exciting, interesting and commercially viable race track designs and currently have projects on 5 continents.

Our master planning services are accepted as among the World's finest. We are considered the de facto choice for commercial developers even in today's harsh economic climate.

We aim to meet the future needs of environmentally sustainable developments whilst also supporting and nurturing motorsport from the grass roots to the highest levels

Specialties: Race Circuit Design (Road course, street circuit, temporary circuit), Motor Sport Destination design, Entertainment Destination design, Master Planning services, Motor Sport event management, Motor Sport operational management, Motor Sport sustainability consultancy, Motor Sport environmental consultancy.

Please review our website at www.apexcircuitdesign.com for further information.

 

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Joachim Hilke, “From Hamburg To The World”

Joachim Hilke, “From Hamburg To The World”

June 2, 2021

Joachim Hilke, is a German sports marketing Veteran with an colorful career across NFL Europe, UFA/Sportfive early growth story,  HSV (Hamburg Football Club) and now with Fanatics in Europe.  Lots of great stories on how the NFL started in Europe and the challenges around it, to an insider look into German Football Club thinking and off course a deep dive into Fanatics’ amazing online merchandise retail business globally.  Enjoy.

 

Key Highlights

  1. From his College thesis to the first job at the NFL Europe with Rhein Fire - great stories how the League and team started (Americana in Duesseldorf)
  2. Next stop, UFA/Sport 5 -
    • HSV (Hamburger Sport Verein – Bundesliga Club) great stories about selling their rights and sitting on the board of a major Club.
    • Naming rights of HSV Stadium – AOL Arena – focusing on sponsorship and marketing while the rest of the company is mostly selling TV rights
    • UEFA National Team deals – the good old days of maximizing 2nd & 3rd party rights both in TV and sponsorship (Double production – sell both sides of the pitch to different sponsors)
    • Front Runner of UEFA Qualifiers packages now managed by CAA Eleven
  3. 2nd run at HSV – Chief Commercial officer & Board member again – dream job for a kid from Essen. At that time, team was a regular in European Football and amongst top teams in the Bundesliga  (Emirates Airlines on the Jersey)
  4. Challenging six years on the pitch, legal structure of German Football clubs make it challenging with Fans having a large say and voting rights (Members Club) – lots of emotions which start influencing decisions
  5. Current role at Fanatics – Managing Director Global Partnerships – massive online Merchandise and Licensing retailer, valued US$ 12.8 billion (up from 6b mid last year) – representing all major US rights holders
  6. com – V-Commerce Model (vertical) – the ultimate online sports apparel and fan gear store (80% of revenue online)
    • Difference between official apparel of Kit supplier and other fan apparel merchandise
  7. Demand for Fan products stayed strong during Pandemic, especially after Leagues started playing again - Fandom is still alive and well
  8. International roll out – differences in Europe to US model with Leagues – in Europe deals are done with Clubs and not Leagues
  9. Some big names signed up in Europe, German and English FA, PSG (Paris St Germain) and Bayern Munich
  10. With large volume but thin margins in merchandise, wondering why European Football Leagues don’t bundle merchandise like the American Leagues?
  11. Opportunity to take global IP to Asia and other parts of the world. Hillhouse Capital (PE Fund), JV partner for China market launch. Office in Tokyo, dealing with Japanese Baseball and US Sports
  12. Counterfeit products not a major focus or concern -  focus heavily on Football/Soccer for now

      

About

2017 – today, Fanatics International, MD Global Partnerships

2011 – 2017, Hamburger SV (HSV Fußball AG), CCO

1998 – 2010, Sportfive, CEO International

1994 – 1997, NFL International, MD Rhein Fire

 

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