The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer
Ravi Krishnan, “From Australia to India”

Ravi Krishnan, “From Australia to India”

August 23, 2020

Ravi Krishnan is a true pioneer in Indian sports, from Australia with Indian origin, he was part of the team which set up IMG India 25 years ago and later on lead the organization.  We take a good look into what has happened over those 25 years in Indian sports and where it is heading in the future, including his own venture Stepathlon.  Enjoy the history lessons.

 

Key Highlights

  1. From being an inspiring youth tennis player in Australia to getting even more inspired reading an article about Mark McCormack and his route to get into IMG
  2. Part of the team to set up IMG India in the mid 90s, getting the basic right
  3. Hospitality of Cricket World in India in 1996 opened the doors to all the corporates, building relationships which lasted till today
  4. Sahara Cup in 1997, India vs Pakistan in Toronto, another game changer (it’s war minus the shooting)
  5. First ATP tournament in India in 1996, still around till today, not an easy start and not a huge initial success
  6. Inside look into the IPL and how it started, why it worked and the ingredients which made it work
  7. Franchise Model, the “Indian way” – and how other sports are now copying it in India with mixed success
  8. Banter on Media rights model
  9. Football in India & IPTL model dissected
  10. Stepathlon –  virtual racing, his vision, being a health & wellness company which brings a new form of “fan engagement” and activation to brands and stake holders (data driven)  
  11. Final advise for young execs – network, move and be prepared to fail
  12. And look into the future

 

About

Ravi Krishnan is a key and prominent name in the business of Sports, Entertainment and Media in India. According to BusinessWorld he has been a pioneer in India's sports management business, helping global sports and media group IMG find a foothold in the country back in 1995.

As Managing Director of IMG he was instrumental in creating properties such as the Sahara Cup, The Aircel Chennai Open, Lakme India Fashion Week and many more noteworthy events in India. He has played a notable role in developing potential new business opportunities in the field of Sports, Entertainment and Media. Ravi continues to explore and develop business in the Industry and helped secure Mahindra & Mahindra as the title sponsor of the inaugural Mahindra Sri Lanka Premier League.

As Vice Chairman, Ravi also played an important strategic role with Rajasthan Royals, champions of IPL 2008.

Ravi was featured among the 50 Most Influential People in Indian Sport by Sports Illustrated (2010) and India's Top 25 Executives under age 40 by Business Today (2004).

Currently, he is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Stepathlon Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd. (SLPL), a global wellness company that aims to create an ecosystem promoting corporate health, fitness and productivity by increasing daily activity, through a unique Mass Participation initiative called Stepathlon - A race around the virtual world. In the last two years, Stepathlon has contributed towards gaining participation from more than 500,000 employees from 722 companies across 75 Countries and 1040 cities/locations.

 

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If you are enjoying the Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast (SEP) series, check out our Virtual Sports Entrepreneurs University (SEU) too.

The Sports Entrepreneurs University is a natural extension of the Podcast series. It's a deep dive into the world of Sports & Esports. Marcus will be sharing his 25 years of experience and learning as a Sports Entrepreneur and connecting the dots. It's a 6 weeks course with an opportunity to join an Affiliate Partnership program after. Check out for more details HERE
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Jeff Marks, “Power of Contractual Obligated Income (COI)”

Jeff Marks, “Power of Contractual Obligated Income (COI)”

August 16, 2020

Jeff Marks is a true Sports Entrepreneur, having started several agencies from an early age and now leading a “best in class” COI (Contractual Obligated Income) Agency which is breaking grounds around the world, including a recent huge deal with FC Barcelona to manage the branding of the Nou Camp Stadium and new facilities.  Tons of learning and insights into the world of COI.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Early start during MBA days, Managing Director of a 2 Man Consulting business with his Professor. Stubhub story, the one that got away.
  2. Started Sports Business Ventures, Venture Capital Pledged Fund dedicated to Sports, partnered with Alan Rosenberg and other big hitters
  3. Premier Partnerships, premier Naming rights agency. Generating massive COI, for large US teams and franchises.
  4. Premier Ventures, advisory agency, another run at Venture Capital
  5. Innovate Partnership Group (IPG360), starting of a new business development group to help sports IP owners generate long term commercial revenue
    1. Two words you are not allowed to say “Sales” or “Sponsorship” in IPG
  6. Four Main Areas of Focus:
    1. Consultative business development
    2. Valuation analytics
    3. IP Asset creation
    4. Creative agency
  7. Proprietary Software – Partnership intelligence platform (a brand new Valuation System)
    1. Direct and Indirect Revenue measurements
    2. R&D, Technology, other non-traditional areas to measure returns
  8. Projects:  US Triathlon,  Circuit of Americas (US F1 Track), MLS teams, Canadian Premier League
  9. FC Barcelona story -  Goldman & Sachs intro leads to working on re-development of Camp Nou
  10. Not just about Naming rights of a Venue but way beyond …. Naming a part of the city
  11. B2B elements in sports partnership deals
  12. New NTT Japan Partnership, re-imagine marketplace
  13. Allianz and other examples of brands leveraging the power of Naming partnerships and Venue deals (Verizon 5G)
  14. Sponsorship Hierarchy of Needs (based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
    1. Social Responsibility getting more important
  15. Advise - Give and don’t sell – figure out how you can add value first
  16. Also working with Non-for-profit, municipalities and Health Care Groups on Marketing partnerships
  17. Final Learning, sales people always get recognized the most, important to also celebrate the team behind it and reward them

 

About

Jeff Marks is a sports business executive with over twenty years of experience working with C-level executives at Fortune 500 companies, sports teams, leagues, venues, governments, universities, franchise owners and investors. Marks currently serves as Founder and Chief Executive of IPG360 (Innovative Partnerships Group) which is a leading business development company that drives long-term revenue for prestige properties with a focus on sports and entertainment.

Marks has been credited with negotiating the largest naming rights agreement of 2016, the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, which turned out to be one of the most recognized sports deals of the year and a catalyst for changing how naming rights and commercial partnership deals are executed in the sports industry and beyond.

Marks has worked on over a hundred plus business partnerships over his career and a few notable partnerships include: Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Globe Life Park in Arlington, TD Place in Ottawa, Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium and O.co Coliseum and Tim Horton’s Field. Marks also executed one of the largest jersey naming rights deal in MLS history with the Atlanta United and American Family Insurance.

Jeff Marks is also credited for developing the sports industry’s leading valuation tool which is an analytical sales model for identifying, creating and valuing sponsorships and naming rights.

Marks is a frequent industry speaker on revenue related topics in the Sports Industry including NFL league meetings, Sports Business Journal and other industry organizations. Marks is an adjunct faculty member at University of San Francisco’s Sports Management Program and teaches “New Business Models in the Sports Industry.” He frequently provides sports business insight to leading national media outlets, and has also published industry studies on sports business trends and best practices.

Prior to IPG360, Jeff served as president of Premier Ventures which specializes in sports investment and advisory for owners seeking to build shareholder value around sports franchises, emerging properties and related businesses. Jeff was concurrently Managing Director of Premier Partnerships where he executed some of the top sports commercial business transactions in the country over the last decade. Marks was also Founding Partner and Managing Director of Sports Business Ventures (SBV), a sports investment and advisory firm.

Marks currently serves on the LA Sports Council Board as well as the Cedars Sinai Medical Center Sports Spectacular Committee. Jeff is also involved with his alma mater, the University of California Berkeley on the Revenue Generating Board and the Berkeley Athletics Southern California Committee. Jeff is a member of YPO and former chairman of the Golden West Chapter. Marks is also a past chair of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Marks earned a bachelor’s degree in International Economics with a minor in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is married with two children and considers Los Angeles, California his home.

 

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If you are enjoying the Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast (SEP) series, check out our Virtual Sports Entrepreneurs University (SEU) too.

The Sports Entrepreneurs University is a natural extension of the Podcast series. It's a deep dive into the world of Sports & Esports. Marcus will be sharing his 25 years experience and learning as a Sports Entrepreneur and connecting the dots. It's a 6 weeks course with an opportunity to join an Affiliate Partnership program after. Check out for more details HERE
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Greg Economou, “Sport goes to Hollywood”

Greg Economou, “Sport goes to Hollywood”

August 5, 2020

Greg has had an incredible journey and with it great stories to tell from his Pro-Basketball playing days at Greek’s Olympiakos to launching his first Agency and selling it to SFX, working with David Stern at the NBA, joining Madison Square Garden, Guggenheim Media, Ticketmaster in senior roles to now bringing his passion for sports to Hollywood with game1.  Listen, learn and get inspired.

 

Key Highlights

  1. From playing basketball at the University of Connecticut to going back to his roots with Olympiakos in Athens, Greek
  2. SME Branding story, after re-branding “The Patriots” (no not those Patriots), over 1,500 re-branding assignments across sports from Colleges to athletes
  3. Acquisition of SME by SFX Sports in late Nineties
  4. BrandThink, his new baby, taking branding to a strategic level
  5. Call from David Stern, after re-branding Detroit Pistons successfully, re-positioning of the League globally
  6. Early days of the Charlotte Hornets franchise – tough job in tough environment, small market team
  7. Back to the Big Apple, Madison Square Garden, focused on bringing in new Revenue
  8. Guggenheim Media – Dick Clark Production – exposure to entertainment and branded content
  9. Missing his Sports Tribe, swing back into Sports retooling Ticketmaster Sports Division
  10. Game1 -  Sports, Culture and Stories -  combining his passion for sports with his Hollywood partners Basil Iwanyk (John Wick franchise) and Michael Smith (ESPN Sports Center)
  11. Becoming a “storyteller” from short form, documentary, feature films to Podcasts in Sports
  12. Back to being an Entrepreneur
  13. The meaning of “Elevated Content”
  14. Forty projects in pipeline from Feature films, scripted, unscripted to podcast
  15. The Last Dance, amazing storytelling and perfect timing
  16. Danica Patrick, former Race driver, new show about Equality – Oprah Winfrey watch out
  17. Content distribution & Funding/Financing strategies
  18. Covid’s challenges and opportunities   

 

About

Greg Economou is a Co-Founder and Partner of game1, the cutting-edge content incubator that sits at the intersection of sports, entertainment, and culture, producing an array of sports-related content in conjunction with the world’s greatest athletes, teams, leagues, and their counterparts in the entertainment industry. This content includes feature films, scripted and unscripted television and digital programming, as well as audio programming. In his role at game1, he helps oversee the day-to-day operations of the company, while leading all revenue generation and white label studio efforts.

Economou also manages his own advisory and investment practice formed in 2016 that focuses on helping a variety of businesses succeed in and around the sports and entertainment industries through strategic counsel and at times financial support and investment. In this capacity, he and his team oversee a series of advisory assignments that range from strategy development, branding, marketing, and digital to client acquisition, business development and sales as well.

Prior to launching game1 and his advisory practice, Economou served as Chief Commercial Officer & Head of Sports at Ticketmaster. In this role, he directed the company’s extensive sports division, overseeing all Ticketmaster products and services delivered to clients throughout professional sports and college athletics, while also leading all new business development efforts as well. Economou also had responsibility over all of the company’s industry sales and marketing operations, including sales operations, brand marketing, enterprise marketing, sponsorship and partnership marketing, event marketing, as well as all premium product sales and services included in the Ticketmaster Agency offering.

Economou previously served as the Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer at Guggenheim Media/Dick Clark Productions where he built a thriving branded content practice with over $250M worth of deals in four years. Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President of Revenue Performance for The Madison Square Garden Company (CRO) where he oversaw multiple billion-dollar revenue portfolios. Economou has also held senior positions as the EVP of Business Operations & Chief Marketing Officer of the Charlotte Hornets (COO) and SVP of Marketing & Communications of the NBA (CMO). In addition to the above-mentioned roles, he also co-founded and sold two successful sports industry-centric consulting firms, BRANDTHINK and SME Branding. He began his career in sports as a professional basketball player in Europe, playing for Olympiakos in Athens, Greece – following a successful collegiate basketball career at the University of Connecticut.

Economou also serves on several advisory boards, including Journey One, LAFC, Merchant Advocate, OpenNode, ReachTV, and Sportsdigita, while formerly serving on the advisory boards of The Player’s Tribune and the American Film Institute.  He lives in Santa Monica with his fiancé, Juliette de Campos, and his three sons, Rip 20, Luke 17, and AJ 15.

 

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If you are enjoying the Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast (SEP) series, check out our Sports Entrepreneurs Mastermind (SEM) sessions too.

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The SEM sessions are an extension of the SEP series, where we bring experts from around the world together for 1.5-2 hours of brainstorming, learning, discussion and connecting.  It’s a live online round table format, moderated by Marcus Luer which includes a short presentation by him to set up the topic of the session and then the members will discuss, share their thoughts, ask questions and debate the topic.  The direction of the discussion is truly influenced by the participants of the given session.  It’s a fascinating learning experience for everyone involved. Come join us for future sessions by getting on our mailing list.  Please register HERE

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