Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Governance & Commercial Growth, Partnerships, Sport Business | Sep 23, 2020 | 8 min read

Charting the money, the moves, and the media across the global business of sport

By James Emmett


Hello everyone, and thanks for clicking through to this latest Leaders Digest, a compendium of bits and pieces put together by me, James Emmett, for you, the esteemed professionals of the sports and media industries, on a week-by-week basis.


6 Questions, Answered

1.)    Are you with me?
I’d really like you to be – from 5th to 8th October at least.

2.)    Is there a silver bullet?
The UK’s latest set of restrictions to combat the resurgence of Coronavirus – including the indefinite postponement of plans to bring spectators back to sports venues and a new ban on indoor team sports participation – has triggered a wave of consternation across the British sports industry. Collective pressure is now being exerted on a government that has been – to put it generously – inconsistent with its messaging, both outwardly to the general public, and privately to lobbyists and stakeholders within the sector. There is no silver bullet, but a clear bailout plan and something a bit better than a barely functional test and trace system would go some way to re-smoothing the path to recovery for an industry already doubled over.

3.)    Who says sport and politics don’t mix?
No-one who read the above, and no-one who’ll read the following: more than 300 phone calls took place between the White House and Big Ten representatives in the build-up to the college conference’s reversal of its decision to cancel its season last week.

4.)    Any positive news?

5.)    What does good leadership look like in Covid?
It’s a question we’ve been putting to leaders across the sports industry of late, and we’re not alone. Empathy, communication, good humour, humility, clarity of purpose and a willingness to accept you don’t know are all polling well.

6.)    If there are only two ways to make money in business – bundling and unbundling – then which one is trending right now? 
As ever, Ben Thompson irons this one out for us on Stratechery.


The Digest, Digested

Australian Golf releases three hour slow-TV mindfulness film (1 min (or 190 mins))

OneFootball and Sportfive team up on Bundesliga in Brazil (2 mins)

8 ways to demonstrate value to sponsors through social media (10 mins)

Denny Hamlin, Michael Jordan to own NASCAR Cup team; Bubba Wallace to drive (3 mins)

DAZN sells Goal and other football sites to TPG’s Integrated Media (2 mins)

Tonal raises $110 million, Steph Curry among new investors (2 mins)

Zwift raises $450 million investment (2 mins)

Inside ATP Media’s digital strategy (8 mins)

Unofficial Partner Podcast: Claire Enders (43 mins)

Who really ran beoutQ? (9 mins)


What’s new

–     ASMR from a golf video – a new sensation from a new kind of campaign mixing mindfulness and golf.


What’s trending?

–    A sudden outpouring of love for this Burger King campaign – a neat amplification trick, for sure, and more evidence that sports marketing observers don’t play a lot of video games.

–    Creative solutions in the media rights market – Renewal offers are dipping; creativity is rising. The Bundesliga, OneFootball and Sportfive have teamed up to plug a gap in Brazil, and the German league might yet have to deploy a similarly innovative approach in MENA, where beIN are putting their money where their mouth is – and not where their rights holder partners are – by dropping or at least opting not to renew with properties they deem not to have fought hard enough against piracy.




–    Stefano Domenicali is to be named the next CEO of Formula 1. The former Ferrari Team Principal will succeed Chase Carey before the start of the 2021 season.

–    LFP Competitions Director Arnaud Rouget has been promoted to the role of CEO, and succeeds Didier Quillot in the role. Mathieu Ficot has been promoted to the role of Deputy CEO.

–    Sports marketing veteran Jefferson Slack has been appointed as the new Commercial Managing Director of the Racing Point Formula 1 team.

–    An internal restructuring at NBC Sports Group will see oversight of NBC Sports, Olympics, and golf scheduling, planning and rights management pass to EVP of Content Strategy David Preschlack.

–    David Gould has been appointed to the newly created role of Chief Diversity and Impact Officer at HBSE, the ownership group behind the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers.

–    Former FA Commercial Director and Laureus World Sports Awards CEO Jonathan Hill is set to be appointed as the next CEO of the FAI.

–    Carsten Schmidt, the former CEO of Sky Sports in Germany, will take on the role of CEO at Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin from the beginning of December.

–    FA Women’s Professional Game Director Kelly Simmons and Brighton & Hove Albion CEO Paul Barber have both joined the board of Women In Football as directors





8 Ways to demonstrate value to sponsors through social media.

250,000 – the number of concurrent live viewers Arsenal had across its various digital channels for the announcement of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract extension.



The Fast Dance
Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin have bought the NASCAR charter of the Germain Racing team and will co-own a team in the series next year. Bubba Wallace will drive for the new team. (Headline stolen, unashamedly, from David Cushnan).

DAZN scores Goal sale
DAZN has finalised a deal to sell Goal.com – along with Spox and VoetbalZone – to Integrated Media Company. The agreement will see DAZN retain a significant minority stake and a board position in the new company and values the three entities at more than $100 million.

Home workout tech firms raising cash
Within days of each other, Tonal and Zwift have both raised significant sums in their own investment rounds. Tonal has raised $110 million from a line-up of investors sprinkled with sporting stardust – including the likes of Steph Curry. While Zwift has brought in a $450 million minority investment in a series C round led by KKR.


Longer reads

–    The latest Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin is worth reading for the excellent monetisation Q&A with ATP Media’s Stuart Taylor alone.

–    Rambunctious stuff from respected media analyst Claire Enders as she delivers karate chop after karate chop to myriad media rights models on the Unofficial Partner podcast.

–    Who really ran beoutQ? An interesting question, with a series of very interesting answers.


Thanks for reading this edition of the Leaders Digest. We’ll have another for you next Wednesday; and if you haven’t subscribed yet, do remember to opt-in here.

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