The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer
Lucien Boyer, “Championing French Sports Globally”

Lucien Boyer, “Championing French Sports Globally”

January 28, 2021

Lucien Boyer, a rock star with a French accent in the world of Sports marketing, with an amazing career and stories to back it up.  Enjoy our journey through Lucien’s career across France, Australia and the UK, from the America’s Cup to FIFA World Cup and Coca-Cola to Louis Vuitton.  Lucien has leveraged the power of major global competitions and major commercial partners throughout his career. Enjoy the stories and the learning.  Plenty of it.

 

Key Highlights

  1. As a student getting involved in raising money for the French Challenger’s Boat for the America’s Cup, which takes him to Australia
  2. Eyes opened to the power of sports and combining his passion of sports with interest in marketing
  3. From Saatchi & Saatchi to Larousse Lamborghini Formula One  - driving revenue from 20 mil to 120 mil French France (pre EURO)
  4. Learning activation, telling stories for sponsors, branded content and content marketing
  5. Lifestyle Marketing Group (LMG), his first startup incubated by Saatchi & Saatchi – brand consulting in the lifestyle space
  6. Two Olympic Games coming to Europe, 1992, both Winter & Summer Olympics in the same year, Albertville (France) & Barcelona (Spain) – won pitch to promote the European Union
  7. Big Global Events have been his big breakthrough, next up 1998, FIFA World Cup in France
  8. Sold LMG to Havas to have access to a bigger global network. Rocky start to the new partnership, ISL part of the story
  9. Took over the whole sports business in Havas and started a global expansion drive after a new owner of the group came in
  10. At the peak 600 people, operating across 30 countries – over six years, including acquisitions – clear process and strategy in opening new offices, Coca-Cola a key client globally
  11. Acquisition of Ignition – ran Torch Relay for Coke and FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour
  12. 2002 FIFA World Cup, first EA FIFA Esports competition  
  13. Havas Sports & Entertainment (HSE), activation and execution of sponsorships (representing the client side) & creating new ideas and strategies for rights holders (Louis Vuitton Trophy Case)
  14. Olympic Bids for France, involved in many tough losses – realization that France will never win unless France has a bigger influence in global sports – moved to London  
  15. Winning agency of record for Barclays as title sponsor of the Premier League
  16. Moving up into the Vivendi Group as Chief Marketing Officer for the whole group (almost 50,000 employees)
  17. Creating new synergies across the group – used “Anglo -Saxon” Paddington Bear IP acquisition as proof of concept, new concepts in Music, Movie, Gaming, Licensing, etc across the group
  18. Vivendi integral partner in helping Paris win the bid for the 2024 Olympics & the key differences winning it this time around in his view
  19. Global Sports Week – the idea behind it. Shake, Shape & Share the future of Sport -  Next one coming up Feb 1-5th, 2021 – check out www.globalsportsweek.com
    • Connecting six other future Olympic cities to Paris virtually
    • Top speakers from Gerard Pique, Romain Grosjean, Justine Henin, Sebastian Coe, etc
  20. Inspiring Sport Capital – PE fund to support sports industry and new digital transformation – six major investments worth over EURO 75 million
  21. From Online Bridge to club management system to Yachting to Golf equipment – diverse portfolio – focus on growth capital, no restrictions on time and form of exit
  22. Fnatic Chairman – latest role to learn first hand the world of Gaming/Esports
  23. Helping the team grow and deal with challenges ahead – digital relationship started during Covid

 

About

Lucien Boyer is the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Global Sports Week. He is also Founding and Managing Partner of Inspiring Sport Capital, and he has now joined Fnatic as Chairman. Lucien is also serving as board non-executive Director of Groupe Le Five.
He was previously Chief Marketing Officer at Vivendi, the leading integrated media, content and communications group. Lucien has been an industry pioneer in sponsorship activation, branded content, experiential marketing, fan engagement and social entertainment.

Beyond his management role, Lucien is recognized as one of today’s leading experts in sports and entertainment marketing. He was awarded his first Gold at Cannes Lions in 2006, before serving as a member of the jury of the Branded Content & Entertainment category in 2014. He initiated the creation of the Global Sports Forum, of which he was the General Commissioner, a global debate platform around the sports industry’s future challenges. He also is the Co-Chair of the Digital Transformation & Innovation Forum at the French Chamber of Great Britain.

Lucien is a frequent speaker at many international conferences such as the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Advertising Week Europe and New-York, CMO Summit, Sporsora’s annual congress and the Ivy Sports Symposium. He has also been featured in many influential media including Bloomberg TV, The Guardian and Le Figaro as well as industry journals such as SportsPro, SportBusiness and SportCal.

A graduate from ESSEC Business School, Lucien Boyer is 56 years old. He is married, has three sons and after 6 years in London, he now lives in Paris. Lucien Boyer is passionate about sailing, skiing, the Olympics and music. 

 

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Craig Thompson, “Champions League And Beyond”

Craig Thompson, “Champions League And Beyond”

January 22, 2021

Craig Thompson has been on the forefront of Sports Marketing across the globe for over 30 years. We are taking a close look into his remarkable career with a deep dive into his role as a Founding Member of TEAM Marketing and the creation of the UEFA Champions League in the early 90s.  Amazing stories and lots of great learning as always from a true veteran of the industry.

 

Key Highlights

  1. From professional Beach Volleyball in California to Lausanne, Switzerland with FIVB and not a happy start/ending
  2. Next stop FEI (Equestrian) leading him to ISL, working with Peter Sprogis on IAAF events
  3. Credits and accolades to Horst Dassler for being one of the true founding father of our industry, unfortunately passed away too young
  4. From ISL to a founding member of TEAM Marketing with Juergen Lenz and Klaus Hempel
  5. The “TEAM” started from ground Zero again, the big opportunity, tendering for the Champions League project (had to raise Swiss France 200 million as part of the deal)
  6. TEAM wins the tender and has 8 months to pull off the first Season  (1992) – create broadcast schedule, sponsorship programs, operations, club manuals, etc
    • First time “mid-week Football matches”    
    • 8 Teams (two groups of 4 teams)
    • Every match at 8.30pm CET (appointment TV)
    • Country by Country Broadcast deals
    • Broadcast Sponsorship inventory from Broadcasters
    • Commercial Advertising Inventory (free spots) sponsors didn’t know what to do with it
    • Broadcasters had to show a post-match highlights of all the matches (drove exposure for all teams and competition)
  7. Success formula of TEAM was true TEAM WORK
  8. How to deal with the big teams and the egos in the room
  9. Challenges and success stories in the early days, highly successful product now with over US$ 5 billion in annual revenue
  10. The Dutch World War II story
  11. Tough decision to leave TEAM for personal reasons
  12. Champions Hockey League (Ice Hockey) – the next project – raised EURO 60 million – 2008/09 recession killed it, revived and still running now
  13. Next stop America’s Cup in San Francisco – changing the rules and appeal of the sport for younger audiences – racing Catamarans in SF Bay
  14. Cameras on boats, sailors with mics, and other inventions including America’s Cup Healthy Ocean campaign (Larry Ellison wasn’t a big fan)
  15. Mindspring Capital – focus on tech companies getting into sports (looked at over 600 companies the last two years)
  16. Mindspring Capital is a Team of investors and experts across the world, focused on early stage companies (B2B focus), paid advisor role and investor at the same time
  17. Ticket size, US$ 250k for 10-25% of company, plus advisory fee back
  18. Leadership lessons – rallying a small group of professionals, full transparency, listening to the best ideas in the room and getting rid of bad apples fast
  19. Love for sports and love for the job and picking your mentors and leaders carefully

 

About

For more than 30 years, Craig Thompson has been intimately involved in the creation and management of some of the most recognized sporting events across the globe:

CEO | 34th America’s Cup
Together with Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Racing and four-time winner, Craig created and launched the concept for AC34, which included the use of catamarans, racing next to shore, shorter TV-friendly format and the creation of the AC34 World Series.

CEO/Owner | Ovation Sports AG
Craig developed the concept and directed the inaugural season for the Champions Hockey League in association with the IIHF in Europe. Also specialized in development and management of sports properties and events for the Juventus Football Club, Spanish Basketball League, and UFL United Arab Emirates National Soccer League.

Managing Director | T.E.A.M. Marketing AG
In his role with the exclusive worldwide marketing agency of UEFA for the Champions League, Craig was a management board member for 11 years and key member of the 6-person team responsible for initial creation and subsequent development of the Champions League project. The Champions League generates billions in annual sponsorship and TV revenues and is Europe’s most important club competition in Europe’s most important sport — soccer.

If anyone is interested to reach out to Craig, please contact at: craig@mindspring.capital

 

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Andrew Craig, “40 Years Of Olympics & Racing”

Andrew Craig, “40 Years Of Olympics & Racing”

January 15, 2021

Andrew Craig, is a true industry veteran, from being an early executive member of ISL Marketing to rising to Deputy CEO, to leading CART as their CEO to a successful IPO, before spending the last 20 years as Consultant with his own business (The Craig Company) across successful Olympics Bids, International Sports Federations and motorsports.

 

Key Highlights

  1. His early days, getting started at Nestle as a Sales Executive in the 70s before moving into the Advertising world and starting his first agency in PR & Marketing
  2. Early involvement in motorsports and with Adidas
  3. Which turns out to be a fork in his career and lead to joining ISL as Marketing Director just shortly after it was founded by Host Dassler (son of Adi Dassler, founder of Adidas), with Juergen Lenz and Klaus Hempel leading the charge (early 80s)
  4. ISL’s Glory Days in the 80s – representing FIFA & UEFA, creation of SRI, first research firm in the industry, etc
  5. The Olympic TOP Program and the true story and players behind it – from Samaranch to Horst Dassler
  6. Key to it was bringing all the individual National Olympic Committee rights together under one umbrella
  7. Greatest moment, his first Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988
  8. What went wrong at ISL, bankruptcy in early 2000 (he had left in 1994) – death of Horst Dassler and Lenz & Hempel leaving – leadership issues
  9. Joining CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) Series as CEO, open wheel racing series in the USA
  10. Big challenge from the start with Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Indy 500) owner Tony George
  11. Two Racing Series competed for a period of time,  CART and Indy Racing League (IRL)
  12. Taking CART public on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1998, reason and process, benefits to team owners, valuation went up to US$ 750 million
  13. Some discussions with Bernie Ecclestone to buy F1 -  CART dissolved in 2003 and was purchased by Indy Racing League. Recently Series bought by Roger Penske
  14. “The Craig Company” – starting his own Consulting business in 2001
  15. Olympic Consulting – working with Olympic Bidding Cities – Vancouver, London, Sochi, Paris, etc
  16. The role and responsibilities of being a Consultant to Olympic bidding cities
  17. Understanding the fundamentals of the voting system – the art of winning bids (emotional connections)
  18. His role with Ifs (International Federations) linked to their Olympic participation (Olympic Wrestling story)
  19. Legacy Sports vs New Sports in the Olympics – his views on the balancing act and Esports potential   
  20. The big 2020 events which moved to 2021 – his and my views on Tokyo and others
  21. World Lacrosse’s Olympic ambitions  and his work with startups as investor & advisor
  22. To reach Andrew +12488192100 (phone) & thecraigcompanyllc@gmail.com

 

About

After an early career with Nestlé and in advertising, Andrew Craig moved to sport when he joined senior management at ISL Marketing in 1983. Responsibilities included work on the FIFA World Cup prior to focusing on the successful development of the International Olympic Committee’s global marketing program.

In 1994 Craig was appointed CEO of Championship Auto Racing Teams in the USA. Craig executed a successful IPO for the company on the NYSE in 1998. He consulted on the negotiations for the F1 Grand Prix in Baku. He served as Vice Chair of the FIA Touring Car Commission from 2008 to 2015 and as a Member of the FIA Endurance Racing Commission from inception through until 2018. Currently Craig is Permanent Representative in North America for the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Craig has extensive involvements in the Olympic World. He worked on four winning Olympic bids - as an advisor on Vancouver 2010 and as Senior International Relations Advisor on London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Paris 2024. He was an advisor to the International Golf Federation on its campaign to become an Olympic Sport and as Senior Advisor to United World Wrestling on its campaign for reinstatement in the Olympic Games. He served as Senior Advisor to the European Olympic Committees on the development of the European Games and served on the European Games Coordination Commissions for the 2015 and 2019 editors. Craig is Senior Advisor to World Lacrosse on its long term campaign for Olympic inclusion.

Craig serves on:
The Advisory Board of "Wait Time"​ (http://www.thewaittimes.com); a tech start up that optimizes service times at sports venue concessions and other time critical locations.
As a Director of “HookIt”from 2007 to 2017 and continues as an Adviser to the company. “Hook It” connects athletes with brands and measures athlete engagement through social media in real time. (www.hookit.com)
As a Director and Founder of Sport at the Service of Humanity (www.sportforhumanity.com)from 2014 to 2020.

 

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Pete Vlastelica, “Internet Entrepreneur Turned Esports League Builder”

Pete Vlastelica, “Internet Entrepreneur Turned Esports League Builder”

January 7, 2021

Pete Vlastelica is a true product of the Internet and Silicon Valley boom era, studying in Stanford in the late 90s and later getting an MBA at Berkeley.  From his entrepreneurial exploits building, growing, raising funding and eventually selling Yardbarker to FOX Sports to his most recent role as President & CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports (including Commissioner of the Overwatch League), building the Overwatch and Call of Duty Franchise Leagues.  Incredible stories and insights into his illustrious career and close up look into the world’s first franchise Esports Leagues.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Coming out of Stanford into Disney Internet Group in late 1999, going to London
  2. Back to New York working in a design and software agency
  3. Back to California for an MBA at Berkeley, focus on Entrepreneurship – while studying focused on starting his own company
  4. First idea failed, fractional ownership of Music rights (too complicated)
  5. Started Yardbarker with four buddies from Berkeley – first investors was one of the instructors, friends & family, bootstrapping, US$ 100k lasted 18 months
  6. Yardbarker become the largest network of sports blogs, with over 1,000 independent sites, bloggers and pro athletes (pre-Twitter days)  
  7. Growing the platform to over 22 million uniques and attracting millions in advertising dollars
  8. Funding rounds, from US$ 100k, to US$ 1 million to US$ 6 million (Series A) from proper VC investors (valuations in the twenty million range)
  9. Competition from other Ad Networks and 2008/09 Financial Crisis came along, new lessons, going into survival mode
  10. Fox Sports buys the business in 2010, a successful transaction for everyone involved
  11. Fox Sports Digital & Fox Sports days – building the digital platforms within the Network (FS1) – “sucked into the belly of the corporate beast”
  12. Joining Activision Blizzard, a true Gaming Giant (US$ 67 billion valuation), to build their new Esports Leagues modelling the sports franchise model
  13. Overwatch League – first League in 2018 with 12 teams – after 12 months of planning, building rev share model, governing structures, etc  
  14. Building a global City based franchise League – first of its kind  - attracting top owners (NFL, NBA, Premier League team owners)
  15. Educational process with investors – franchise fees starting US$ 20 million now up to US$ 30-50 million (3rd party sources)
  16. League monetizes League sponsors, media rights, licensing, merchandise, etc and shares with the teams in addition to prize pool (like in traditional sports) – first season reaching US$ 200 million in revenue (3rd party source)
  17. Building an entire League infrastructure from scratch, including minor league structures around the world, ultimately building a career path for players
  18. Call of Duty League – similar model but not as easy as copy/paste, designing a League to fit the Game, different styles and modes
  19. How 2020 effected the Leagues and season – huge learning curve on online vs offline competitions
  20. Dynamics between Teams and top star players – opportunities for sponsors and partners
  21. Korea learning – cultural export from K-Pop to Esports
  22. Interactivity between Gamers and fans, way beyond traditional sports model – Esports is taking fan engagement model to another level – sports needs to learn from it
  23. Comparing Esports Leagues vs Major Esports Competition with tens of millions in prize money
  24. Dota 2 – The International – tens of millions in prize pool, mostly generated from in-game purchase and special access passes by the fans
  25. The difference to traditional sports – short game of content (shorten supply vs demand), Esports is the opposite, 24/7 interaction with fans

 

About

Pete Vlastelica is President and CEO of Major League Gaming (MLG), a division of Activision Blizzard devoted to creating the best esports experiences for fans across games, platforms and geographies. Prior to MLG, Vlastelica was the Executive Vice President of Digital at FOX Sports, where he focused on content and product development, social media, technology, and creation of multi-platform content properties, including the Emmy-award winning “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan”.

He directed the growth of FOXSports.com and the mobile app FOX Sports Go, where he oversaw the streaming of thousands of live sporting events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, which set a new internet record for streaming viewers for a sporting event. Recognized for his influence in the sports media industry, Vlastelica is a member of Sports Business Journal’s prestigious “Forty Under 40” Class of 2014. Vlastelica earned an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Stanford.

 

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