Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Governance & Commercial Growth, Partnerships, Sport Business | Apr 14, 2021 | 8 min read

The lede: Numbers, people and what you need to know about both.

By James Emmett

Good morning one and all, and thanks for clicking through to the Leaders Digest. This is a fortnightly compendium tracking the money, the moves, and the media across global sport. If you’re not subscribed and you’d like to be, please do sign up here.

4  Questions, Answered

1.)    Cut the nonsense, just give me one quickfire guide on how to use data to make fan experiences better, will you?
I will.

2.)    Have you ever negotiated with Leaders Chair Jimmy Worrall? 
I have, but I wish he’d made this podcast on how to do it properly before I sat across the table from him. He’s basically revealed all his secrets. It’s almost foolish. Plus, it’s got red hot tips from some of the sports industry’s finest deal makers, including Barry Hearn, Billy Beane, Michele Roberts, and Jonathan Barnett.

3.)    Is boycotting Beijing 2022 the answer for the US?
The Financial Times doesn’t think so. In the midst of increasing high-level concern at political tension between China and the US, and indeed China and other major powers, sport does look set to play a significant role – either as a pacifying force, or a political plaything.

4.)    How will I get the first 1,000 users for my new consumer app?
I’ll probably just follow one of the seven methods that every major consumer app acquired their first users. I’m new to Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter, but I like it.


Get me on the guestlist

– You’re invited to join us for our next Leaders diversity and inclusion allies communities call. This one’s on ‘mentorship and allyship’ and it’s happening next Friday, 23rd April, at 16:00 BST. Join us.

– You’re also very much welcome to join our sister agency Newzoo for a webinar on the future of gaming and sports. This one’s on ‘how brands use data to get in and win’ and it’s taking place next Thursday, 22nd April, at 17:30 BST. Join us/them.


Tying the threads together


The Digest, Digested

Foreign game rotation part of NFL’s plan for international marketing rights (2 mins)

Manchester United in talks to buy Central Coast Mariners, and move them (2 mins)

Epic announces $1 billion funding round to support long-term vision for the Metaverse (1 min)

NFL gets $450m of Genius Sports stock in global data deal (2 mins)

PayPal becomes Earthquakes’ naming rights partner (1 min)

Rights holders becoming rights buyers: the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin (7 mins)

Unofficial Partner: Football as a platform (47 mins)


What’s new

–    A female president of the International Skiing Federation? – Former FIS General Secretary Sarah Lewis is on the campaign trail as she aims to succeed Gian-Franco Kasper as the federation’s president. Her ‘Piste Map’ sets out an impressive vision for the future of snow sports.

–    NFL teams ‘owning’ individual foreign marketsan intriguing new international strategy set out by the league would see teams bid for what would then become commercially uncontested territory around the world.


What’s trending?

–    Manchester football empires – Manchester United are reportedly on the verge of joining City Football Group in the global empire building game, with Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners the subject of ‘lengthy discussions’ around a proposed takeover.




–    John Shea has been promoted to the role of Global President, Marketing and Events, at Octagon Worldwide. He’ll report in to agency Chairman Rick Dudley.

–    Tom Gracey has left his role as Broadcast and Media Rights Lead at the FA for a new position as Head of Broadcast and Media Rights at the W Series.

–    Lars Stegelmann has left his role developing the international commercial unit at Nielsen Sports for a new position as CCO at Motorsport Network.

–    Rhys Beer has been promoted to the role of Head of Content Strategy & Programming, International, at Facebook.

–    Clive Reeves has taken on a new role as Director and UK Sport Lead at PWC’s global strategy consulting division, Strategy&.

–    Dave Feldman has left his role as VP of Social Media Marketing at the NFL for a new position as SVP, Marketing at Dapper Labs.

–    Samantha Lamberti has been promoted to the role of MD, Nielsen Sports Southern Europe.

–    Brian Stedman has left his role as EVP, Global Strategy at WWE for a new position as EVP, Strategy & Development at Major League Baseball.

–    Former Bleacher Report exec Brian Kelly has joined Top Rank as the boxing promoter’s new Chief Revenue Officer.



–    Are you any number of new hires at the Minnesota Vikings?
–    Are you OneFootball’s new Head of Brand Marketing?
–    Are you Facebook’s new Partner Solutions Manager, EMEA Sports?
–    Are you Twitch’s new Properties Insights & Measurements Manager?
–    Are you Legends’ new Director, Marketing (Revenue Generation)?
–    Are you Chelsea’s new Head of Creative?
–    Are you the Fifa Women’s World Cup Australia New Zealand 2023’s new Head of Competitions, New Zealand?
–    Are you Ironman’s new Business Intelligence & Analytics Manager, EMEA?
–    Are you the FA’s new Senior Digital Content Manager


How do you manage?

A window into the working worlds of people from across the sports industry now that nothing is as it was.

Kate Bosomworth is Founding Partner of the Platform London agency and Non-Executive Chair of Onside Law. She lives in Sussex with her children.


How are you feeling now on a scale of 1-10?
A good eight.

Fresh off the back of a four-day Easter weekend – who wouldn’t be feeling better? The sun came out, we saw a few friends in the garden and opened the first rosé of the year. However, I am hoping that my current obsession with hot cross buns and Mini Eggs will pass soon.

More generally it feels like everything is moving in the right direction and there is momentum on all fronts.

Platform, the brand agency I set up with Justin Tindall last year has really taken off; we’ve started working with a raft of great new clients in the last few months. All very different – scale ups to global brands, all choosing wisely to invest heavily in brand as the world changes and markets become ever more disrupted.

I’m also three months into my new role as Non-Exec Chair at Onside Law, a great team of people. We have just announced a very exciting partnership with Women In Football, to be their second Corporate Member hot on the heels of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, which I’m really happy about. (obviously!)

I’ve also just completed a 100km running challenge in March and raised over £1,600 for Breast Cancer Now. I turned 49 this month, the same age my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it felt like a positive way to remember her and get my running legs back in gear.

Are you working from home or the office? If both, what’s the split like?
All working from home. Home office that is. I don’t really have an office to go to anymore to be honest and it’s been that way since lockdown began last March.  Justin and I work remotely and from our client’s offices when permitted.

However – as of this week I’ll be spending a few days a week back at a very cool shared work-space in the Witterings called Surf & Work; I joined last summer and love it there – a really good crowd of people and cool vibes. (and yes, there is a rack for your board)

But pretty soon I also think I’ll be going into the Onside Law offices a couple of times a month.  So once this all starts, it will be a nice mix and far less solitary than it has been this last year.

Where do you work? What’s the environment like?
Upstairs office with great views over the South Downs. I’m very lucky.

Who are you looking out for at the moment?
My two children, aged 12 and 14, pretty self-sufficient, but I also keep a close eye on an elderly neighbour (94) who is pretty amazing, but you never know so I pop my head round or call most days.

The kids are significantly happier now they are back at school and even more recently now that they are back playing team sport – but then aren’t we all!

Although he’s miles away in Newcastle, my elderly dad is a constant worry – I haven’t been able to see him for a whole year which is just awful; he’s been in and out of hospital and now has dementia and has had to be moved from sheltered housing to a care home. Only my brother can see him; just all a bit rubbish really, but it’s like that for so many people.

How have you changed as a manager? As a person?
During lockdown I think we all learnt to focus far more on the positives and shorten your horizons. It has been difficult to look beyond the end of the week at times. I’m pretty much always a very positive and bouncy person but the solitary aspect of the last year has been pretty tough at times. Not sure if I’ve changed as such but I have got better at protecting time to exercise and I drink a lot less wine!

If I’m being really honest, perhaps I’m more exhausted than usual! As a single parent who works full time (and some) it’s been a pretty knackering year!

What does your daily routine look like? How do you run your job and your life?
I get up pretty early most days, I have to get it all done but I’ve always been an early bird. Annoyingly so.

On a good day I’ll do yoga when I get up around 6am, then run or walk the dog so I’m back in time to make sure the kids are up, fed and at the school bus stop on time. Then I’ll try to do whichever didn’t happen before breakfast – the dog walk or a run – throw on a load of washing and then I can be at my desk by 9ish.

Justin and I have a daily 0930 call which allows for parenting and life stuff before we get stuck into the day.

I have a to do list for Platform, Onside Law and family stuff. (I have recently left all school WhatsApp groups as they were driving me nuts. Don’t know why I didn’t do this before!)

I try and stop to eat at lunch but usually graze at my desk – the days of always taking a walk at lunchtime are long gone – but Justin and I are good at telling each other to get some fresh air / switch off if we’ve been on calls all day.

I usually work till around 6, stop to make supper for us all then if I need to, work later.

Now we’re back in sport – two or three evenings a week will involve playing taxi between rugby, football and netball training. Joy.

Once summer comes, evenings towards the end of the week will hopefully be more focused towards the beach and getting on to the water. I grew up by the sea and it’s one of the reasons I moved closer to the sea.

Early mornings or late nights?
Early always.

How do you focus? 
Turn off all notifications and make sure the house is empty.

How do you cope with stress?

If we started this year again, what one thing would you change?
More time with friends.

What one thing will you take with you into the ‘new normal’?
Less booze. I’ve drunk far less this past year and feel loads better for it. That’ll stay.

Who are you speaking to next?
Justin. (unless the estate agent rings)

This is an edited extract from the full interview, which is available here.



Epic funding round
Epic Games has completed a $1 billion round of funding that values the games giant at $28.7 billion, $10 billion more than Epic’s valuation last year. The growth comes despite the protracted dispute that has seen Epic’s Fortnite game kept off Apple’s app store this year.

Genius move from NFL
The NFL has a new official data partner in Genius Sports and a new 5% ownership stake in the company worth almost $450 million. The NFL also holds an equity position in Genius’s long-term data rival, Sportradar.

Alliterative naming rights deals
More power to the poets at Elevate Sports Ventures who have brought PayPal on as the new naming rights sponsor of the San Jose Earthquakes’ arena, PayPal Park.

Bulletin miner
Carmelo Anthony’s new content company, Cameo’s co-founder on monetising athlete content, and new investment for John Skipper’s latest venture; it’s all in the latest Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin.


Longer read

–    OneFootball is one of the most interesting companies in the sports business at the moment, playing, as it does, pretty cannily at the intersection between a number of different established business models and product offerings. Accordingly, this podcast with founder Lucas von Cranach is one of the most interesting episodes in Richard Gillis’s burgeoning back catalogue.

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

Subscribe to our newsletters

Choose from a selection of tailored emails to stay in the loop with the people, ideas, technologies and projects driving the sports industry forward.

Sign up

Check out the Knowledge Hub

Keep up to date with all the latest content we publish on our Sport Business Knowledge Hub.

Explore the Knowledge Hub