The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

Stephane Schindler, ”Game Changer”

September 24, 2021

Stephane Schindler, another French industry veteran who has left his mark across the sports world and in particular with CAA Eleven which changed the face of UEFA’s National Team competitions and commercial structures. Lot’s of great stories and details in our discussion.  Enjoy.  

 

Key Highlights

  1. Starting as Intern at EUROSPORT, early days of cable TV in Europe
  2. Next stop Canal+, Head of Sports Acquisition of sports rights, Sport+ and Jerome Valcke connection
  3. Connecting with all the major rights holders during the role – early days of Sportel Monaco
  4. Joining IMG Media in France in 2000,  Michael Grach and Michel Masquelier roles   
  5. Great six years at IMG from selling rights to dealing with rights holders, lots of learning in the commercialization of sports rights (Golden Age of industry 1990-2010)
  6. Meeting Arnaud Lagardere and starting the agency in 2006, because Lagardere being a big listed company, organic growth wasn’t an option.  M&A growth model.
  7. Setting up Lagardere Sports from scratch as first employee and going on big acquisition spree from Sportfive, World Sport Group, IEC in Sports, etc. Building a portfolio of companies.
  8. Total acquisition cost, in the EURO 1 billion range for the above agencies to buy scale in the industry fast  
  9. Recently, the group was sold for around Euro 110 million (renamed Sportfive), 90% drop in value – failure in implementation and execution, at peak Euro 60-70 mil in profits
  10. Founding his own agency, Media Sport System, short 1 year as advisor
  11. CAA Eleven, how it all started in 2012 with UEFA looking to centralize the National Team rights  - idea driven by M. Platini, G. Infantino, G. Laurent Epstein, etc
  12. UEFA was looking for a similar structure to their successful TEAM Marketing partnership for their National Team rights
  13. Finding the right partner to create a brand new agency which would only focus on UEFA rights, partnering with CAA, big US talent agency
  14. Multiple rounds of bidding, starting with 15 bidders, final rounds against IMG and Lagardere.  Advantage of being a start up and brand new company, totally dedicated to the project.
  15. How CAA Eleven won the deal?  UEFA wanted to keep full control and have protection through an agency.  CAA Eleven’s first block of rights, 2014-18, since then renewed twice, currently till 2028
  16. UEFA Nations League – turning friendly matches into something more meaningful for fans and players – every match counts – going from 700 official matches to 1,500 on offer
  17. Successful both on and off the field (commercially)
  18. UEFA EURO 2020 in 2021 – his experience from the inside. UEFA made an early decision to move up by one year. Renegotiate with everyone from host cities, sponsors, broadcasters, teams, etc
  19. Overall big success and positive feedback from partners – now focused on EURO 2024 in Germany (Football is coming home 😊)
  20. Insights into UEFA’s and CAA Eleven OTT and media strategy and approach
  21. His crystal ball on future growth of media rights for Premium sports properties – live is rare & rare is gold  

 

About Stephane Schindler

Stéphane Schindler started his career in 1996 at Eurosport as Operational Marketing Manager.

In 1998, he joined Canal+ and became Head of Sports Acquisitions.

In 2000, he became part of IMG as TWI International Vice-President and IMG Head of Business Affairs France.
He was in charge of:
- the sale of the rights of prestigious sports events (Rugby World Cup, America’s Cup)
- the relationships with the French sports governing bodies (24 hours du Mans, French Tennis Open, “Tour de France”, “Ligue de Football Professionnel” (French Football League))

Stéphane joined Groupe Lagardère in September 2006 to launch the Sports Division for Arnaud Lagardère and became Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Lagardère Sports, where he managed and supervised:
- the strategy, the development and the acquisitions of the whole Lagardère Sports division (SportFive, IEC in Sports, World Sport Group, Upsolut and PR Event)
- all the operational activities in Media, Marketing and events

In 2011, Stéphane Schindler decided to launch MEDIA SPORT SYSTEM, a consulting firm operating in the Media & Sport business, as well as a worldwide network of independent partners in the field

Stéphane Schindler is graduated in TV and Telecommunications Management (DESS) from the University of Paris IX Dauphine, and in Management and Economics (Master’s degree) from the same University (Paris IX Dauphine)

Specialties: Media & Sports business :
- Sports media rights management
- Sports media production
- Media & sports investment strategy (M&A experiences)
- Brandtainment in sports

 

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