The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer
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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Ricardo Fort, “Sport By Fort”

Ricardo Fort, “Sport By Fort”

May 19, 2021

Ricardo Fort spent his incredible career on the "brand side" of the business, deploying hundreds of millions of sponsorship and advertising dollars for the likes of Coca-Cola and VISA to name a few.

Great deep discussion about his views on sports as a platform from the perspective of a true "Advertising Man" who has worked with some of the biggest sports sponsors in the world. 

 

Key Highlights

    1. From studying Civil Engineering to realising that marketing was his calling at Unilever.
    2. FMCG space, great place to learn marketing, brands spending big dollars
    3. His dream (which was also mine) working for Coca Cola coming true. The Coke TV commercial that triggered it (featuring Zico). Third time lucky 🍀. 
    4. Starting at Sprite brand before moving to Coca Cola brand. Brazil the 3rd biggest market for the brand. 
    5. First involvements with FIFA World Cups, starting in 2002 Japan/Korea.
    6. Working across FIFA, UEFA and teams. 
    7. HQ roles, developing global frame work vs local team execution and leveraging the property 
    8. After the 2006 World Cup, back to Brazil before a stopover in India. These countries are a "mess", challenging new role. Fans are similar in their passion for their respective sports (⚽ & 🏏) 
    9. Short sting at Danone. Global Marketing Director based in Paris. Not the best match. 
    10. Next stop Visa in San Francisco. More similarities than difference in approach by Coke & Visa to sponsorship. 
    11. Beginning preparations for Brazil World Cup 2014 and Rio Olympics 2016
      My Sao Paulo and Brazil World Cup experiences 🇧🇷 🇩🇪 🏆
    12. Inside look on how Visa leverages and measures these mega events, very focused on the customer (mainly Banks at the time, now much broader). Develop specific promotions. 
    13. Being a big "Sponsor" - about the relationships with the Rights holders, not about the money 🤔? Ricardo explains. 
    14. Back at Coke - homecoming as VP Global Sports & Entertainment Partnerships
    15. Coke's massive global marketing and sponsorship budget, where and how to invest it. Being seen as the go to guy for the industry. Seeing 25 proposals per week. 
    16. Everything starts with a "Problem". How can a sponsorship help fix the problem. THE KEY MESSAGE (if you learn nothing else from our discussion). 
    17. Start with public filings by companies and look at what problems they have. Look for the challenges and how you can help.
    18. Beyond sports - global entertainment, movies, music and gaming & Esports
    19. Gaming - huge visibility, distribution, eye balls. Connecting with Gamers via Publishers. 
    20. Reaching hardcore Gamers, thru Influencers & Esports
    21. Coke in Gaming since 2002 with EA's Fifa, 2007/08 early days in Asia. Sensitivity to certain type of Games. 
    22. Being authentic as a brand is key - fans can smell fake from far 
    23. His thoughts on the "Sugar drink" issue 
    24. Coke vs Pepsi discussion 
    25. Sport by Fort Consulting - his brand new agency - going Entrepreneurial route 
    26. Helping other companies/brands with his 25 years experience in sponsorship 
    27. Current Project examples:
      • Working with brands who are looking at global events 
      • Sport tech start-ups 
      • Marketing plan for a Footballer, build a brand 
      • Higher education project 
      • Investors and Football club owners
    28. His final thoughts on Crypto & NFTs and brands

 

About Ricardo Fort

After 25 years working for some of the best companies in the world and almost a decade successfully leading the Global Sponsorship teams of Visa and The Coca-Cola CompanyRicardo launched Sport by Fort Consulting to help sponsors, leagues, investors and athletes successfully invest in sports.

An excellent track record dealing with major global and local sporting organizations and the savvy of having negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorship contracts, position Ricardo as an expert with unique skills to help investors evaluate, decide and negotiate partnerships.

At Coca-Cola (Atlanta, GA – USA), Ricardo led the Company’s global portfolio of sports and entertainment sponsorships, partnerships and events, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, UEFA, the Special Olympics, athletes, McLaren F1 team, record labels, movie studios, the gaming industry and other worldwide sports and entertainment properties.

Prior to this role, Ricardo was the SVP of Global BrandProduct & Sponsorship Marketing at Visa (San Francisco, CA – USA), where he was responsible for all global consumer marketing initiatives including branding, advertising, digital, design and sponsorships.

Ricardo led the Visa team, one of the most active sponsors in the world, in the end-to-end initiatives related to the International Olympics Committee, FIFA, the International Paralympic Committee, UEFA, the NFL, dozens of Football, Baseball and Basketball teams in the USA and hundreds of Olympic athletes.

Before Visa, Ricardo was the Global Marketing Director for the dairy category at the Group Danone (Paris – France), and held several other Marketing roles at Coca-Cola in Brazil, USA and India, and multiple roles at Kellogg’s and Unilever.

Ricardo obtained a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo and has a Specialization in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, both in Brazil. He is married and the father of two teenage girls.

 

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Mark Pannes, “From Basketball To Football”

Mark Pannes, “From Basketball To Football”

May 5, 2021

Mark Pannes is a highly accomplished US sports executive with an incredible career across the US and Europe, from his early days at the New York Knicks, to leading a large European Football Club (AS Roma) on behalf of a US Owner and learning the inside workings of one of the largest Banks in the world (HSBC Private Bank).  Mark has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and his views are well heard (through his own Podcast/Clubhouse talks) and respected in the industry. With the European Super League “fiasco” just over when we spoke, we off course took a good stab at the topic as well.  As always, lots of learning and great insights throughout the discussion. Enjoy.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. How it all started, a High School dream to have a career in professional sports, leads to studying sports at UT in Austin and a summer internship with the New York Knicks
  2. First job on the operational side at Madison Square Garden (MSG), 19 different trade groups (Unions) working in the building, etc
  3. 10 years with the Knicks -  Patrick Ewing and Pat Reilly days – MSG a vertically integrated company, the venue owns the teams and broadcast network – sales force is media let - Knicks the bait to sell other content at the venue (bundling)
  4. Starting to sell Knicks as a stand alone property, non-media related – drove US$ 4 mil of new revenue (total team revenue over US$ 120 mil at the time)
  5. Brand driven vs sales driven approach,  digital and CRM starting to kick off
  6. Ground breaking deal with American Express, co-branded card for the first time
  7. First Entrepreneurial experience – Skilo Brand agency – range of clients and projects  
  8. First overseas sting, overseeing acquisition and then managing a Parisian Basketball Club (Tony Parker, French NBA player was part of the investor group)
  9. After cleaning up the club in phase 1, spending most of the time on ways to finance the “underfunded” Club and connected with HSBC
  10. Next stop HSBC Private Bank, London, banking athletes and IP owners, borrowing against assets
  11. IP owners and athletes, asset & wealth management, borrow against revenue.  COI (contractually obligated income) as security
  12. Insider look during the global Financial Crisis (2008-09) – HSBC’s approach
  13. Next Raptor Accelerator, Jim Pallotta, US billionaire Family office – invested in AS Roma – new role as CEO of the club
  14. The numbers in the AS Roma deal – total US$ 160 million investment (according to reports)
  15. Learnings from his AS Roma days, running a Listed company, every club is a “selling club” – ability to sell players is important
  16. New Stadium plans, great project, big plans, the process to get it started (unfortunately till today it hasn’t come to fruition) (Roman politics or what happened?)
  17. European Super League (ESL) discussion – 48 hours of madness – his view as an American Sports Executive with European Football experience
  18. Mismatch and disconnect between team owners, there was no “executive team” in place to represent the group (it appeared), no apparent media partners, rushed announcements, etc
  19. BCG , JP Morgan and many of the big Clubs got their fingers burned it appears in hindsight – surprisingly many rookie mistakes across the groups   
  20. The underlying challenges between the big clubs and the “others” haven’t gone away – the issue will come again at some point in the future – even the big clubs have little leverage with UEFA, so they need to come up with these threats to push their agenda
  21. Union Sports – private consulting companies, advising on media and other long-term revenue streams
  22. Vancouver Whitecaps FC , turn around, clean up – just when the pandemic hit six months into it
  23. Inner Market Media – consulting and content creation for sports IP owners – focus on transatlantic view – “OTT Sports Speakeasy” (weekly on Clubhouse, Thu, 5pm UK time) and OTT Sports Podcast together with partner Michael Broughton
  24. Last thoughts on the growth opportunities in sports in current climate – expansion period for sports – new money coming in with lots of changes along the way in the process

 

About Mark Pannes

Mark is the Managing Partner of Inner Market Media. A 30 year sports and media industry veteran he has managed sports, media, entertainment, and licensing businesses in North America, the UK, Europe, and Canada.

He has served as CMO of the New York Knicks (NBA)CEO for AS Roma (Serie A)CEO for the Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS), and founding director of the global sports practice at HSBC Private Bank, based in London.

He currently also serves as a teaching fellow and advisory board chair for the Center for Sports Communication & Media at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is based.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Fordham School of Law.

 

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Paul Berger, “Middle East Sports Stories”

Paul Berger, “Middle East Sports Stories”

April 19, 2021

Paul Berger is a true Middle East insider, having been based in Dubai, UAE for nearly three decades and done it all from advertising, motorsports, helping to build the Dubai Autodrome to now running EMEA for the Arena Group, one of the leading temporary event structures groups in the world for sports, music, exhibitions to cultural events.   

 

Key Highlights

  1. Paul’s early days in Advertising in the UK and his route to Dubai. BBDO took him to Dubai. 
  2. From Advertising to Karting – setting up his first business (Leisure Karting) in Dubai – great stories (races in Oman, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi)
  3. Dubai Autodrome & Business Park -  how it all started and where it is now (www.dubaiautodrome.ae)
    1. Clive Bowen of Apex Circuit Design, designed the track (www.apexcircuitdesign.com)
    2. What worked and didn’t work and what is happening on the track now
  4. Next Entrepreneurial venture – Sports Marketing Global – focused on motorsports & brands from the Middle East  (partnered with Chris Akers – who was managing F1 Driver, Robert Kubica at the time)
  5. Working with McLaren (Ekrem Sami), first deal with Emirates in motorsports (and how amazing visuals did the trick)
  6. Abu Dhabi NDA & F1 story -  how the deal came about and contract was signed 
  7. Harlequin Marquees – brother in law business – new challenge – bringing it together with Arena Group, UK (a company with 260 year history – started in 1761)
  8. Arena’s first acquisition outside the UK, big growth since then through acquisition and Public Listing in the UK
  9. Paul’s role as CEO across EMEA – expansion across the region – 350 staff across Asia/Middle East, offices in Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, etc
  10. Arena America, Europe/UK, Middle East/Asia key regions– his region became the biggest and most profitable division (pre-Covid 2019) – hugely successful year (Anthony Joshua fight in Saudi) 
  11. The Arena Business – temporary Event Architecture – from tents to modular buildings, interiors, hospitality, etc 
  12. And then Covid happened and how that effected the Business and how Arena reacted to it – pivot business away from events, where could the equipment be used (temporary hospitals, etc)
  13. Saudi family was keen to invest, raised money to make it through Covid – prior to that he was in the process of taking the company private again with US PE group (management buy-out)
  14. Looking into the future, when is the event business coming back – his views on 2021 (transitional year) and 2022-23 – two year process to come back to 2019 numbers
  15. Sports in the Middle East – big growth over the last few decades and where is the growth in the future – Dubai was the initial driver, Abu Dhabi the last decade, last few years Saudi Arabia 
  16. Mostly driven by large scale events, from Boxing, F1, UFC, WWE, Tennis, Golf, etc – some top Venues now like Coca-Cola Arena (20k seater) in Dubai
  17. How to operate in the region – need to have a presence on the ground in the key markets, have local experts and strategic partners

 

About Paul Berger

Paul Berger has been working in the Middle East and Asia since 1993. He started his career in Dubai with the OMNICOM Group, as a lead Account Director on Emirates Airline, Pepsi Cola and General Motors. In 1997, Paul moved into the sports event management sector, by launching the first leisure motor sport tracks in the region. Indoor Karting, Outdoor Karting, the Dubai Autodrome FIA Circuit and local motor racing championships.

In 2009, he became CEO of Harlequin and subsequently sold the company to the Arena Group. In 2010, he became CEO of the Middle East and Asia Division for the Arena Group, launching the company in Singapore and Malaysia. Paul has subsequently expanded the division to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Korea and now Japan. Paul is also the President of the International Live Events Association in the Middle East.

 

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Hrish Lotlikar, “The Superworld of NFTs”

Hrish Lotlikar, “The Superworld of NFTs”

April 8, 2021

Hrish Lotlikar is a living example of a successful digital nomad Entrepreneur. A former Investment Banker turned VC, turned Tech, Blockchain and Crypto Entrepreneur. Besides covering Hrish's amazing career we take a very close look at his latest venture "Superworld", the relevance to sports and the connection to NFTs, the currently hottest trend in the Crypto and sports, music, arts IP (Intellectual Property) world. 

 

Key Highlights

  1. From High school to Navy Reserved Officer and Surgical Technician removing eyes 
  2. Pursuing Triple Degree (MBA, MPH, MD) in graduate school then taking him into Management Consulting and Investment Banking and his first Entrepreneurial exploit creating "The Wall Street Program", teaching how to get a Wall Street job.
  3. Next stop Venture Capital (VC), bio-tech and other tech companies with "world changing ideas" 
  4. From New York City (after the crash in 2008/09), traveling across Eastern Europe for 1.5 yrs. Great story on how to start a seed stage VC Fund in Ukraine with Victor Pinchuk (Ukrainian Billionaire) and tech accelerator in Belarus. 
  5. Early employee, Senior Business Developer/Global Evangelist of Toptal, Andreessen Horowitz backed venture
  6. Rogue Initiative Studios, LA based entertainment studio leveraging the latest in tech, VR, AR with Hollywood IP and partnered with Hollywood director Michael Bay
  7. Superworldapp.com - virtual world in augmented reality mapped onto the real world, with 64 billion virtual real estate blocks (NFTs) on Blockchain which can be purchased
  8. Superworld is Pokémon Go meets Foursquare meet Monopoly
  9. Connecting Superworlds to the Sports & Entertainment space, from Venues to activities in the virtual world 
  10. Still a few steps required to buy a block right now, thru your Ether wallet. Getting easier soon. 
  11. NFT market place coming soon, platform to create NFT for any IP, sports, music, art, etc linked to augmented reality to showcase the NFT 
  12. Exploring Online to offline (O2O) opportunities. Real Estate developers are exploring this space. 
  13. Bringing Sports IP into the virtual world. 
  14. NFT (Non Fungible Token) - basics explained
  15. NBA Top Shots (not Hot Shots 😂) discussion and how it connects to Superworld's NFT market place. Creating digital assets out of content, experiences, unique moments 
  16. NFT Salon vertically integrated into Superworld, music, art, architecture - Mars House example 
  17. Long tail of NFT content to put these NFTs into the "virtual world" of Superworld 
  18. Working across other platforms like Open Sea 
  19. Contact Innerworld@superworldapp.com for on boarding and other questions 
  20. ERC721 is the standard for NFTs, on the Ethereum Blockchain 
  21. Digital Assets (NFTs) can be programed to create earnings for artists in perpetuity (on future sales transactional and value creation). A whole new way of monetization for IP.
  22. Launch of Superworlds NFT Salon in early April:
    Contact Innercircle@superworldapp.comfor IP owners. 
    Collectorscorner@superworldapp.com for NFT Collectors 

 

About Hrish Lotlikar

Hrish Lotlikar is a Co-founder and CEO at SuperWorld. Previously, he co-founded Rogue Initiative Studios, a Hollywood film, TV, gaming, and immersive entertainment studio. He was also the founding Managing Partner of Eastlabs, an early-stage VC fund based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Previously, Hrish was a Senior Business Developer and Global Evangelist at Toptal (backed by Andreessen Horowitz, the Rockefellers & the co-founders of Facebook and Zynga), a venture capital investor at Spencer Trask Ventures, and an investment banker at both UBS Investment Bank and HSBCSecurities, where he specialized in public finance, corporate finance and M&A. He also was an Associate in the Global Business Development Group at management consulting firm Hewitt Associates.

Hrish was born in India and grew up in the United States. He also has spent many years living around the world in Europe, Asia and South America. He has a close connection to the people and cultures in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Spain, France, Vietnam, China, Colombia, Bali and Thailand.

Hrish holds a BA in Political Science from Rice University and both an MBA and MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago. In his free time he enjoys working out, fashion photography and traveling the world.

 

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Sophie Goldschmidt, “From Tennis, Basketball, Rugby to Surfing”

Sophie Goldschmidt, “From Tennis, Basketball, Rugby to Surfing”

April 1, 2021

Sophie Goldschmidt, has been recognized as one of the most influential/powerful Women in sports by multiple publications/organizations from Forbes, Adweek, Leaders in Sport, Sports Business, etc, working across the globe in leadership and senior positions from the WTA, NBA, England Rugby to the World Surf League.  All very different sports, with different opportunities and challenges along the way.  Great stories and learning from her exciting career over the past 20 years.

 

Key Highlights

  1. Journey from Baylor University playing NCAA tennis and landing at Adidas USA in Portland
  2. Working in the Adidas Tennis division, Indian Wells, Roland Garros, dealing with top players from Hingis to Kournikova,  Henman, Safin, etc
  3. Moving to WTA during the time the William sisters, Sharapova all becoming big stars, working with Larry Scott in the commercial and marketing space
      1. Sony Ericsson WTA Tour – US$ 88 million  (5-6 year deal) – breakthrough deal
      2. Porsche, Lotto, Wilson and Eurosport deal
      3. Moved WTA Year end final from LA to Madrid – new commercial deals
  4. Next stop, the NBA in NYC – David Stern and Adam Silver, tennis fans too - made connection through tennis and then moving into this new sport 
  5. Moved back to London as Managing Director EMEA, establishing NBA operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa – more decentralized operations, opening offices in Moscow, Milan, Istanbul, Jo-burg, etc
  6. Over 70 players from Europe in the League already at that time, NBA League Pass (OTT), finding new local marketing partners (sponsors), 
  7. “Basketball without Borders” across South Africa and other countries, grassroots development, something the NBA is very good at – Leading up to potential NBA League in Africa
  8. Long terms view,  “one kid at a time” convert from kicking to bouncing a ball  (David Stern)
  9. Opportunity to join England Rugby (RFU) as Chief Commercial & Marketing Officer – passion for the sport from her dad – opportunity for the sport following the very successful London Olympics and leading up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the UK
  10. First female board member at the RFU (also became the first female board member of the PGA European Tour during that time), evolved the brand and more progressive approach to sponsors, driving commercial and engagement with fans 
  11. CVC new investment into Rugby and her thoughts on it – new resources and more independent strategic thinking for the sport
  12. Joined the agency world at CSM – getting a look into the agency world
  13. Moving back to the US with the World Surf League as CEO – sport accepted into the Olympics, new wave technology with Kelly Slater Wave Company, etc
  14. Turning the challenge of the unpredictability of the weather (waves) into an opportunity, streaming vs linear TV, early digital adoption, less focus on live, lifestyle brand 
  15. Elevator pitch – as many surfers than golfers (over 400 million) in the world, beautiful location and people doing amazing things, highly engaged audience (sponsors from Corona to Airbnb)
  16. Big educational process, understanding and interest depending on the markets, Brazil is huge 
  17. Sophie continues on the WSL Advisory Board, in addition to new roles now as an Advisor in sports, media, tech, health & fitness including; as a business partner to the new connected Home Health & Fitness Platform (Tersa), LOVB volleyball, MIXhalo, Egoli, Racquet Publishing, Pamos and as Board Governor for the International Tennis Hall of Fame

 

About Sophie Goldschmidt

Sophie is a dynamic, senior, global leader with broad and deep proven experience in sports, entertainment, media and technology. Throughout her career she has been at the forefront of globalizing and innovating sports and entertainment properties.

Most recently she was CEO of the World Surf League (WSL) and previously in leadership, commercial and marketing roles at the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the PGA European TourAdidas and the global sports marketing & entertainment agency CSM.

Sophie is a member of the WSL Advisory Board and business partner for Tersa. She also currently advises Egoli, LOVB, MIXhalo, Racquet Publishing, Pamos, round21, West 10th, Sportable and McKinsey, is a mentor for Techstars and a Member of the Board of Governors for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

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Frederico Pena, “Brazilian Football”

Frederico Pena, “Brazilian Football”

March 23, 2021

Frederico Pena, better known as Fred is a "Jerry Maguire" inspired Brazilian Sports agent, working across Brazilian Football for 20 years, including many years with the leading Agency, Traffic. Great inside look into Brazilian and South American Football, the rise and demise of Traffic and how we worked together in Asia. 

 

Key Highlights

  1. How the movie "Jerry Maguire" and Brazil winning the 1994 World Cup in the US inspired his career path
  2. The Mueller Sports Group and Jeff Slack saved him from a boring Banking job
  3. Working on due diligence for Mueller Sports Group and Hicks & Muse buying Traffic
  4. Traffic deal. Mr Hawilla, the owner, amazing deal maker, sold 49% for USD 125 mil and then bought it back for a fraction when Hicks/Muse ran out of cash during Dotcom crash. TNT - Traffic & Torneos partnership holding key rights. 
  5. First role in Traffic, exploring Internet concepts as we all did during that time in 2000.
  6. Moving into TV sales - working with TSA in Asia as agent
  7. The challenges of selling South American Football in early 2000 and what we (Traffic & TSA) had to do to build the confidence with broadcasters. Selling it as a stand alone product
  8. Next step in his career to get closer to becoming an agent. Representing players just for sponsorship deals. 2002, deal w Brazil's Ronaldo, the best player in the world at that time
  9. Copa America 2004 in Peru - LG Electronics sponsorship deal. Tag team with TSA to broker deal
  10. Finally becoming an agent, starting his own agency at 29. Support from Hawilla. Being an Entrepreneur, not an easy start, 15 months before the first deal
  11. Trading Brazilian players to Europe. His Jerry Maguire moments
  12. How tough it is to become a Pro Footballer, lots of competition in Brazil
  13. Coming back into Traffic - TPO model (Third party player ownership) - player fund, youth academy. Not allowed anymore
  14. Selling controlling stake to Traffic of his agency - turned into Traffic Telantos - buying/selling players. Big deals, with top European and Chinese clubs
  15. Traffic's demise and the link to the Fifa scandal (started in 2013). Hawilla was brokering the deals with Federations himself
  16. Hawilla was a witness cooperating with the Department of Justice in the US. Hawilla being the Villan or Victim? 
  17. Traffic Sports business, rights, clubs, etc sold to pay for fines
  18. Management buy out of the Agency part for Round 2 as an Entrepreneur
  19. Now focus on young players. Dynamics between the small and big agents in Brazil 
  20. Biggest transfer in Brazil football - Vini Jr, now at Real Madrid - transferred at age of 17
  21. Brazilian Football industry and Covid - bullish on players, less on Clubs and Football structure -lots of sports politics - little long term focus 
  22. Red Bull entering Brazilian Football with a Club recently. 
  23. The flawed logic of bringing all top Brazilian players back and final thoughts on the Brazilian players ecosystem

 

About Frederico Pena

Education background in finance and economics having graduated from the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business (The Wharton School/CAS), the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA. Over 20 years of experience in the football industry, both in South America (Brazil in special) and Europe.

Fluent in 4 languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish and French), having lived in 5 different countries (Brazil, United States, France, Canada and England). Professional experience in football includes: player representation, player fund creation and management (third party ownership), consultancy in club acquisition, club management (in both Portugal and Brazil), marketing of sponsorship and TV rights (buying and selling).

Extensive international experience having travelled to over 30 countries in the world to do business with key industry stakeholders such as federations (Fifa, Conmebol, etc), clubs (Real Madrid, Barcelona, etc), sportswear brands (Nike, Adidas, Puma, etc), agencies (Dentsu, Sportfive, etc), sponsors (Coca-Cola, Hyundai, LG, etc) and TV companies (Globo, Fox, etc).

 

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Andreas Heyden, “Football Gone Digital”

Andreas Heyden, “Football Gone Digital”

March 12, 2021

Andreas Heyden, is a German web/digital native, learning from the tough times of the dotcom boom/bust days and the 2008/09 global financial crisis and now leading Digital Innovations at the Bundesliga (DFL - German Football League).  Great insides into the Digital innovations and projects of one of the leading Football Leagues in the world, which also aims to be the most innovative Football League in the world.  Plenty to learn for anyone in this space. Listen closely.

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early days in Andreas’ career and how that leads to his roles in the digital space and the learning of cycles across the past 20 years
  2. Crisis leaves clues and creates new opportunities Web 2.0 came after the dotcom crash,  Social Media boom after the 2008 financial crisis, what will come after Covid?
  3. RTL Interactive (part of RTL Bertelsmann, one of the biggest Broadcasting Groups in Europe) – video on demand, taking a traditional broadcaster into Web 2.0 world after the dotcom crash
  4. “I am a customer guy first, focus on the fan and customer”
  5. Sevenload – German version of YouTube – joining just before the 2008 crisis – tough road ahead in a start-up environment
  6. ProSiebenSat 1 Games – (another Giant of German Broadcasting)  & Maxdome– entering the Gaming world  
  7. His start as CEO of DFL Digital Sports (Bundesliga) – German Football League – his roles
  8. How to create new revenue opportunities with content and data – three initiatives he is leading (using AI and machine learning)
    1. Local relevance – providing customized content
    2. Bundesliga Match Facts (Data driven stats) & Club data portal
    3. Smart media archive – 150,000 hours of media footage digitized  
  9. Treat “AI” like a colleague – create customized content for different clients and customers
  10. AWS (Amazon Web Services) partnership and evolution of it – best in class in cloud services to integrated business partner now
  11. Deltatre partnership – JV in Football data, VR, etc
  12. Sports Innovation Trade Fair – every two years, setting up a real live environment(actual matches) to showcase new technology – next Spring 2022
  13. DFL Digital innovations during Covid -  on-screen innovation, augmented reality, additional match facts, new camera positions
  14. Glass to Glass strategy – from the camera Lens to the screen – DFL owns the parts of the entire value chain
  15. Betting space – DFL digital role – provide data to betting operators
  16. NBA Shots – NFT discussion – real collectables vs digital versions – exploring, difference in market dynamics
  17. OTT ready anytime if its needed – difficult question when will the switch to D2C happen vs the existing model
  18. Bundesliga looking at PE partnerships and the process internally

 

About Andreas Heyden

Since June 2015, Andreas Heyden is serving as CEO of the DFL digital sports GmbH being responsible for digital platforms & production and distribution of national and international media content. Before Andreas was the Managing Director of Maxdome GmbH since July 1st, 2013. Previously, Andreas was COO as part the management of ProSiebenSat.1 Game GmbH from December 2011 on.

Before this Andreas was a managing director of the startup Sevenload, where his responsibilities included cooperation with content and distribution partners as well as internationalization of the portal. Before joining Sevenload, Heyden was head of the innovation and production unit at RTL Interactive, where he established new internet business models in the games industry and other segments.

Heyden began his career at Metronet AG in 1996, where he worked in the Subscriber Marketing Department. In 1997, Heyden became a key account manager for I-D Media AG. Following his professional work in Singapore in 1999, he began working with Microsoft GmbH as part of the Product Marketing team for MSN.de.

 

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Jeff Slack, “From MJ To Football & F1″

Jeff Slack, “From MJ To Football & F1″

March 4, 2021

Jeff Slack, the new Managing Director of the Aston Martin Cognizant F1 team is a highly respected American Sports Executive with a truly global CV, having worked at Pro Serve & FAME in the US, Wassermann Media and IMG in the UK,  Inter Milan in Italy and a few others in between besides running his own agency the last few years out of London. His unique experiences are bar none across the globe and he is excited over the new chapter and challenge in F1.  Listen carefully and learn.   

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early days at Pro-Serve (Donald Dell's Agency) in Washington.  Experience working with Donald Dell and David Falk and the learning as a young man.
  2. Working with/for Michael Jordan (at David Falk’s FAME) – extraordinary experience
  3. Joining the Mueller Sports Group in New York,  launching PSN.com in South America partnering with Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst – and what went wrong
  4. Next stop CEO of Inter Milan as an American executive -  bringing US best practises to Italian Football and the reasons for it and stories behind it  
  5. The “Juve” scandal and the “wrongs’ of Italian Football at the time,  Inter had an amazing team and should have won a few Scudettos (Italian Championships)
  6. The next decade in the Agency world -  first Wassermann Media in the UK, building the Football Agency Division (working with Casey Wassermann)
  7. Next IMG Football in London -  Teddy Forstmann days as the owner of IMG – JV partnerships in Asia, with CCTV in China and Reliance Group (Mukesh Ambani) in India
  8. Launch of Indian Super League and work on the Chinese Super League marketing (both Football)
  9. CCTV stamp of approval of IMG and the doors it opened
  10. China Super League and two different opinions of its future   
  11. India Super League and TSA’s competitive bid partnering with CAA against IMG at the time and the challenges of the League since then
  12. IMG is sold to Endeavor Silverlake and this opens up an opportunity to set up his own agency
  13. JS3 projects – FIBA Basketball Champions League, working with startups, etc
  14. The Aston Martin Cognizant F1 story
  15. Lawrence Stroll, world class entrepreneur, passionate motorsports enthusiast, buying Force India F1 team & turning it into Racing Point F1 and purchasing a stake in Aston Martin separately
  16. Jeff’s role is focused on the commercial side and creating enterprise value for the team, building a community, etc  
  17. Great history of the team from Jordan F1 days and of course Aston Martin’s last time in F1, 60 years ago
  18. Positioning of the team and the sport in general and the amazing response and interest from sponsors and partners – testament to the Aston Martin brand
  19. Cognizant – who is the “mysterious” Fortune 200 company most people never heard of and how both sides work together to make the car go faster (smart partnership)
  20. Sebastian Vettel – an engineer racing a car – statement of intend
  21. New car launched on March 3rd – featuring the iconic green
  22. F1 2021 season and what to expect and how to prepare, from bubbles to testing, strict protocols
  23. Vision to be a top 3 team this year

 

About Jeff Slack

Jeff Slack joins the Aston Martin Cognizant F1 team after a 30-year career across the sports industry. The American sports executive has extensive experience at the highest commercial level of sports.

His career began managing Michael Jordan's marketing activities before moving into sports private equity with Hicks, Muse.

In 2000, Slack became the first American CEO of a top European football club, Inter Milan. He also has a wide range of agency experience, with leadership positions at Wasserman and IMG.

More recently, Slack has been a commercial adviser to FIBA and Dorna, as well as undertaking a number of personal investments in businesses across the sports industry.

 

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Bernard Stewart, “ESPN - An Insider’s Story”

Bernard Stewart, “ESPN - An Insider’s Story”

February 25, 2021

Enjoy our deep dive into the world of ESPN the "worldwide leader in Sports" through Bernard Stewart's eyes and stories. 

Bernard has had an illustrious career at ESPN for 30 years, from the early days of the truly first Sports Network in the world to overseeing its expansions globally and many other roles. Learn how ESPN started, expanded, the challenges and growth stories told by a true insider.

 

Key Highlights

  1. Coming out of College and Air Force teaching Film and starting independent projects in TV & Movie Production
  2. Start working at a Capital City company, WTNH TV New Haven – first break and being taught the world of “Broadcast Politics”. Created Program called “First Edition”
  3. ESPN – the start of the first Sports Network (1979) - father and son founding team (Bill and Scott Rasmussen) -  RCA’s first Satellite helps to distribute the channel across the US, start-up funding from Getty Oil (US$ 10 million) 
  4. ESPN = Entertainment Sports Programming Network, original programming from Tractor pulling to Softball (only 6 hours a day), major sports still at the big traditional broadcasters 
  5. ESPN Sports Center – iconic show, first time stories beyond the action and beyond the 3 min News highlights on traditional TV
  6. John Malone (Liberty Media), true leader in Cable growth and expansion and support of ESPN (the content piece)  – meeting with ESPN and Malone group, game changer in revenue share model
  7. Getting into the big League sports, MLB and NFL – didn’t come cheap – ability to pay purely because of large and growing cable fees (affiliate fees)
  8. A reflection on market reported numbers - ESPN in 2020,  US$ 11 billion Revenue, US$ 8.6 billion in Affiliate fees versus US$ 2.3b in advertising (only) – game changer 
  9. His producer Role – creating “stories” and working around broadcast embargos, etc -  1984 Olympics in LA and Sarajevo 
  10. 1983 America’s Cup – first time the US teams loses the Cup in 132 years – Bernard had a crew at event from the start to capture the drama while its unfolding, big success 
  11. Short sting at WBZ TV Boston before Round 2 at ESPN as Director Program Planning – it’s a monster to plan (war room to map out two year worth of programming), together with Program Acquisition team 
  12. Shaping the sports world through smart programming and connecting different parts of the industry 
  13. First overseas action – Australian group showed up, trailer in Parking Lot, recording content and shipping tapes to Australia  - syndication by tapes at that time 
  14. TV Conferences and Conventions – big part of the push for ESPN going global - new Sandbox to play in – develop international division (syndicating US content globally)
  15. Sportel history - Monte Carlo, Monaco early days – reminiscing on how it all started and ESPN’s – “the worldwide leader in Sports” role to shape the industry  
  16. Moving to Hong Kong as VP & GM of ESPN Asia Pacific – the opportunities and challenges to take the brand globally – understand, listen and being sensitive to local differences, get a seat on the table first - Disney buying ESPN in mid 90s and leaving it mostly alone 
  17. ESPN/Star Sports (ESS) world – ESPN & Murdoch JV in Asia – his view as a Board Member – how it started (my view) and his inside stories   
  18. The challenges of how to make it work and Marcus recent discussion with a Senior executive in the new ESPN/Disney lead Fox Sports Asia – Bernard’s career in a nutshell, creating opportunities - History of Cricket program example 
  19. Look at the current world of Sports Media Rights and Cable industry vs OTT dynamics – reverse world – shrinking Cable subscriptions
    1. Disney+,  ESPN+,  Netflix and big growth of OTT      
  20. ESPN+ USD 5.99 in the US -  cannibalization of business model? Is the House on fire or not discussion?
  21. Value for money philosophy ingrained in Disney and how that shapes their decision making – price vs value – and change with the times
  22. Disney & ESPN doubling down by purchasing FOX Sports channels globally (over US$ 70 billion transaction) -  his view, it’s about repositioning by Murdoch 
  23. SPACs – 60-70 launched over the past 12 months, new directions and new opportunities for the big players 
  24. Wrapping up with Bernard’s current roles and projects, back at writing scripts and film making, working with family offices raising funds for slate of films (AJE3 Studios – www.aje3studios.com)
  25. E-Zero – Ecological Zero idea

 

About

Bernard Stewart was a member of the original creative team that started SportsCenter and ESPN. During his extended career with ESPN, Bernard's senior executive roles included the development and management of long-term strategies for ESPN’s International family of networks. He was the company's most senior executive for all of Asia including India; Oceania (Australia, NZ); the Pacific (Japan), and the Caribbean.

After a lengthy career with the Walt Disney Company/ESPN, Bernard founded an entertainment, lifestyle, and production company. AJE3 Studios has a very active list of projects that include Family Office advisory, Film and Television, digital platform development, website design, and Branding Marketing.

Bernard's content development and acquisition experiences include directed high profile rights negotiations for premier world events including The FIFA World Cup, The Olympics, and The UEFA Champions League. He was a program executive involved in the development of the ESPY's; launched international versions of SportsCenter and an Emmy nominated producer, and have created or developed over 30 original series and multi-platform program concepts for network, digital, and syndication distribution.

Bernard is recognized as a featured international industry speaker with appearances that include Renmin University, The Peoples Republic of China; International Trade Specialist for the United States at The Bahamas Copyright Stakeholder Summit; the Jamaica Sports Business Summit on Global Brand building, and a featured speaker and Advisor to the Jamacia International Fim Festival.

Author of the business management and life coaching book, “Fifty50 - A Guide to a Successful Work-Life Balance”.

 

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