The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

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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