Great discussion with my old friend Andrea Radrizzani, an Italian sports entrepreneur who build MP & Silva to a billion dollar company, the journey from Milan to Asia to now Leeds as Owner & Chairman of Leeds United.
How it started, Media Partners, early days of live streaming and website development (Web 1.0)
Working with strong leaders and visionaries at Media Partners
Move to Asia – first two years in Shanghai - distribution of media rights , next move to Tokyo
Dream was to distribute Serie A rights in Asia - it became much bigger
How MP & Silva got started, partnering with Riccardo Silva – set up in Singapore (50/50 partnership)
Growth of business with focus on Media rights - close to USD 1 billion in revenue at the end
Clear focus on Football rights initially, premium content, pay extra to get into market and build credibility
Focus on local market knowledge, at one point 21 offices around the world, breaking rights into smaller packages
Sell of MP & Silva to a Chinese group and the aftermath - starting the next businesses (Eleven) and buying Leeds United, making mistakes and learning from them
Proving he can build successful platforms, investors and partners joining along the way
Strategy of Eleven – focus on markets with less competition and opportunity to become a leading platform quickly (Poland, Portugal, Taiwan, etc)
Deal with DAZN and ELEVEN – future plans and roles
Leeds United story – how it all started and where it is now, boyhood dream come true
The journey from The Championship up to Premier League and staying there last season (scoring in last minute of game to stay in)
Working with High profile Investors (49ers, American Football team) and the combination of skills
Learnings from his career – how you define risk taking and the level you are comfortable with
Changing management style, lessons cost millions, listen more – building strong management teams
Play for Change – passion project and new projects coming up
Andrea Radrizzani is the Chairman of Leeds United and a leading entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of the global sports media industry for more than twenty years.
A self-made businessman, Andrea founded the investment platform Aser Ventures in 2015, specialising in sports, media and entertainment properties. Aser became co-owners of Leeds United in January 2017 and since May of that year, Aser has been the ultimate parent company of the club with Andrea as Chairman.
During his time with Leeds United, Andrea has overseen the return of the club to the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, following 16 years in the lower divisions. Whilst at Leeds, he has also appointed world-renowned coach Marcelo Bielsa, supported the development of one of the most successful academies in English football and bought back the Club’s iconic Elland Road stadium.
Andrea’s success in the business world dates back over two decades. Radrizzani began his career in sports media in 1999 with digital sports content distributor Media Partners and founded Media Partners’ China business.
He went on to co-found MP & Silva in 2004, launching the renowned sports media agency’s operations from its headquarters in Singapore and leading its global expansion into 20 countries as CEO and major shareholder.
Later, through Aser, Andrea launched the international sports content platform ELEVEN SPORTS in 2015. ELEVEN has since established itself as an innovative and fan-centric media platform in markets across Europe and Asia, with a rights portfolio that includes LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, UEFA Champions League and F1. ELEVEN recently secured domestic rights to the Belgian Pro League for the next five seasons.
Andrea is also the Founder and Chairman of Play for Change, an international charity that uses the power of sport to improve the lives of children in his native Italy and around the world.
Born in Milan, Andrea studied Public Relations at the city’s IULM University and graduated in 1996.