Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Governance & Commercial Growth, Partnerships, Sport Business | Oct 28, 2021 | 8 min read

The lede: sport’s commercial cauldron bubbles over


By James Emmett

Hello one and all and welcome along to another edition of the Leaders Digest. I’m James Emmett, and with this regular email I try to distil what’s important across the sports industry into digestible chunks of information to help you know what you need to know.

4  Questions, Answered

1.)    What does ‘owning the fan relationship’ really mean?
Everyone with a server and a scrap of sport to sell wants to do it, apparently, but it’s not as straightforward as simply ‘going D2C’. Our latest report tackles the nuance here, and sets out some clear strategies for success.

2.)    Can I help you?
Yes please; I thought you’d never ask. I’m off on some belated paternity leave in November and December and inevitably my thoughts will wander, from time to time, away from the Very Hungry Caterpillar and towards what we can do to make the Leaders content offering face-slappingly good next year. Formats, platforms, themes and experts/speakers – I’ll be considering them all ahead of a refreshed offering next year. Any thoughts, suggestions, coded complaints – let me have them.

3.)    If it’s been asked once, it’s been asked a thousand times but when is the NFL going to put a franchise in London?
Who knows, but I’d say it’s about to take a significant step closer. The NFL is opening up international marketing rights to its franchises – on a typically controlled country-by-country basis – and 28 bids have been received from 19 franchises. And it sounds like there’s stiff competition for the UK.

4.)    Is that a nice new rig? 
We hear a lot about sports and entertainment strategies being used to move certain regions away from carbon-reliant economies, but perhaps never anything quite as literal as this.


On the guestlist

–  We’re in Qatar on 28th and 29th November for our first major conference in next year’s World Cup hosting country and you’re more than welcome to join us.


Tying the threads together

–    The ‘end game for the future soul of the game’: Roger Mitchell paints a Canaletto-clear picture of the strategic forces in play as football gets prodded, pulled and moulded into a new model.


The Digest, Digested

The Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin: Uefa goes to market with Champions League rights (9 mins)

Race on to secure Champions League crypto rights, including regional sponsorship (2 mins)

TikTok brings its video kit to desktop, web and consoles (2 mins)

Women’s sport: bouncing back from the pandemic (15 mins)

The Collective think tank: European women’s football (4 mins)

CVC and Sanjiv Goenka to pay $1.7 billion for new IPL cricket teams (2 mins)

PEAK6 Investments acquire minority share in Fosun Sports (2 mins)

Sportfive signs Lego, Pandora and Starling Bank as Women’s Euro national partners (2 mins)

Into the metaverse: what is it and what does it mean for the sports industry? (14 mins)​​​​​​


What’s new?

–    The whiff of change – It’s emanating from Nyon where Uefa keeps its headquarters and its bubbling cauldron of commercial ideas. The governing body for European football has just issued back-to-back tenders of potentially industry-defining significance. The first, which we covered in last week’s bumper bulletin in our Broadcast Disruptors series, an opportunity for a new agency to take on the commercialisation of all its key club rights, potentially replacing Champions League model-makers TEAM. The second, a quickfire tender that closes tomorrow which represents Uefa’s first big play in the red-hot crypto and NFT space.

–    TikTok tools – Congratulations to our Broadcast Disruptors series advisor Grabyo on its integration into the TikTok toolkit. ​​​​


What’s trending?

–    Positive numbers around women’s sportViewership is up; popularity is up; ticket sales are up.



Global strategy consulting firm Altman Solon is keeping its consumer insights coming, this time focusing on which live TV services, sports streaming services, and SVOD services sports fans in 16 countries are currently using. The full analysis is available here and also looks into what fans are willing to pay for a DTC subscription to all games from their favourite leagues.


Source: Altman Solon




–  Laura Louisy has left her role as SVP of Rights Optimisation & Partnerships at DAZN for a new role as Director of International Media Strategy & Business Development at the NFL.

–  Brandon Gayle has been promoted to the role of COO at Spurs Sports & Entertainment.


–    Are you SBJ’s new Staff Writer?
–    Are you our new Marketing Communications Manager?
–    Are you the Premier League Productions’ new Head of Digital?
–    Are you the NBA’s new Senior Manager of Digital Partnerships?
–    Are you the IOC’s new Senior Human Rights Manager?
–    Are you any one of a number of new hires at Cake?
–    Are you Ospreys’ new Commercial Director?


IPL valuation explosion as CVC swoops for expansion team
CVC Capital Partners has become the first western private equity firm to take control of an IPL franchise after it won the right to a new expansion team in the Twenty20 cricket league this week. The most active financier in sport came out on top of a bidding process for two new franchises alongside Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG Ventures. CVC agreed to pay $745 million for the new Ahmedabad team, while RPSG won the new Lucknow franchise with a bid of $945 million. In a process that was perhaps just as interesting for who didn’t win as who did, the BCCI published the full details of the bids and where they came from, notably including Manchester United owner Avram Glazer. IPL franchises are now ten times as valuable as they were when the league sold 10-year rights to the initial eight franchises in 2008 (though five teams have come and gone since that point).

Rajasthan – $67 million
Kolkata – $75.1 million
Punjab – $76 million
Delhi – $84 million
Chennai – $91 million
Hyderabad – $107 million
Bangalore – $111.6 million
Mumbai – $111.9 million

Kochi – $333 million
Pune – $370 million

Hyderabad (5 years) – $79.5 million

Ahmedabad – $745 million
Lucknow $945 million

New Sino-US partnership in the Wolves boardroom
Wolves have become the latest English Premier League team to take on US investment, with Chicago-based PEAK6 coming in as a new ‘strategic partner’ of the club, with an undisclosed investment in Wolves’ owner Fosun Sports gaining the financier a seat at the ownership table as a secondary partner to Chinese conglomerate Fosun.

Fresh blood in Euro 2022 sponsorship line-up
The FA’s commercial agency for its Women’s European Championships in 2022, Sportfive, have announced the first batch of confirmed national sponsors for the tournament, which will be hosted in England next summer, with Lego Group, Pandora and Starling Bank signing on. The companies are all new to Uefa’s partnership roster.

Longer read

–    Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a particularly well soundproofed rock over for the last 18 months, you’ll have noticed that in the brief moments when people aren’t banging on about NFTs, they’re prattling on about the ‘metaverse’. It’s here, there and everywhere. And if you came to Peter Moore’s Unity session at Leaders earlier this month, you’ll know it’s got the potential to have a mind-blowing impact in sport. But it’s not an easy concept to get your head around. Let Eoin Connolly nudge and nurdle you along to a realm of clearer understanding.


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