Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Governance & Commercial Growth, Partnerships, Sport Business | Sep 30, 2020 | 8 min read

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

By James Emmett


Hello to you all, and thanks for clicking through to this latest edition of the Leaders Digest, your weekly summary of things to think about from across the sports business universe.


5 Questions, Answered

1.)    What are you doing next week?
Well, you can still do that, plus also dip into our virtual extravaganza. We won’t quite be taking over the internet, but we’re going to give it a good go.


2.)    What’s at stake in the UK this week?
In a week in which the NFL has had its first Covid shutdowns, and the happy sight of fans in top tier stadiums played out across Germany after a set of protocols was agreed by the country’s federal states, sport – depending on where that sport is or isn’t happening – is still operating on different rungs of the ladder. In the UK, a set of pivotal talks this week will determine whether the industry moves forward with a sense of renewed positivity or doubled down on doom. With new restrictions in place across the UK, sport is crying out for tangible government support. The government, however, is putting pressure on the Premier League to do more to support lower league football. I wonder if they’ll take the same approach with Amazon and its ‘support’ for high street retailers, especially since Amazon has had an uptick in its fortunes during the pandemic, and isn’t, like the Premier League, set to lose another £586 million if games continue to be played behind closed doors. One can only hope the government consults Tracey Crouch on whatever their decision-making process is. Few remember a sports minister who understood so well and cared so much about her brief. Tracey will be appearing on an upcoming episode of the Leaders podcast; it might be a tone shift but I don’t think it’s a spoiler to reveal that her current passion is fantasy NFL, where she claims to be dominating the Westminster fantasy football league with a haul of 171 points last week.


3.)    She’s got other passions though, right?
Right; Tracey has also been named as one of 14 people on Lewis Hamilton’s new ‘Commission’, a research project the Formula 1 champion has set up with the Royal College of Engineering to identify the barriers for black people participating in motorsport.


4.)    Are congratulations in order?
Damn straight.


5.)    Why did Stefano Domenicali take the Formula 1 job and what can we expect?
Here’s why and here’s what.


The Digest, Digested

Buzzer wants to reinvent live sports consumption (2 mins)

LaLiga TwentyNine’s, a new sports bar concept (2 mins)

Copa do Brasil closes partnership with TikTok (2 mins)

TikTok sponsors Nascar Xfinity Series racer Ryan Vargas (2 mins)

Elevate Sports Ventures unveils ‘Insights’ vertical (2 mins)

Co-op signs Manchester arena naming rights deal (1 min)

MLB, Turner finalise seven-year rights extension through ’28 (2 mins)

LNR pursues private equity talks, but not ‘just to pay off clubs’ debts’ (2 mins)

The world in 2022 – part one: Future-proofing your business (8 mins)

Microsoft Flight Simulator, sports data and the future of the human experience (7 mins)

The doctor in charge of the NBA bubble (6 mins)


What’s new

–    E1 Series – the latest venture in Alejandro Agag’s e-empire is the world’s first electric powerboat series. Yanni Andreopoulos is back onboard as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer too.

–    Water paddock – there’s a snazzy new boat at the centre of Extreme E too.

–    Buzzer – Former Twitter exec Bo Han’s new mobile tech platform, which looks like a sophisticated play in the live sports media notifications game, has just raised $4 million in seed funding.

–    League-branded sports barsLaLiga is getting into the restaurant business.


What’s trending?

–    TikTok signing sports sponsorships – first the Yankees, now this in Brazilian football, and this in Nascar.

–    Elevate adding services and clients‘Insights’ and the Denver Broncos to be precise. The agency with the hardest hitting ownership group in sport is on a roll.

–    London as a tennis venue – The city is losing the ATP Tour Finals, but gaining the Laver Cup. And the Antipodean pronunciation of ‘debut’ will never tire.




–    Roc Nation Sports has hired Alan Redmond and Michele Rinchiuso as Head of Football and VP of Operations respectively.

–    Pete Bevacqua has been promoted to the position of Chair of NBC Sports.

–    Guy Le Grew has been promoted to the role of Chief Revenue Officer at Pitch International. Henri Kamerling, Sunil Kaikini, Austin Houlihan, Kieran Donnelly, and Cat Watson all have new positions at the agency too.



–    Are you Formula 1’s new Commercial Partnerships Executive?
–    Are you Genius Sports Group’s new BI Product Owner?
–    Are you Southampton’s new Social Content Producer?
–    Are you Rangers’ new Senior Marketing Executive?
–    Are you the IOC’s new Senior Manager, Digital Partnerships (Commercial)?
–    Are you Catapult Sports’ new Marketing Director?
–    Are you one of three new executive hires at TEAM Marketing?
–    Are you Arsenal’s new ecommerce analytics & optimisation executive?
–    Are you M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment’s new Australia-based Head of Sponsorship?



A Co-op coup for OVG in Manchester
British consumer cooperative Co-op, which includes food retail, pharmacy, banking, and legal businesses, has signed a deal with Oak View Group to take the naming rights to the new £350 million arena in Manchester. The 15-year-deal will see the venue named Co-op Live and reports suggest the fee is in the region of £100 million over the course of the deal. There’s a good thread on the merits – or otherwise – of such an agreement here.

Batter up
MLB and Turner have finalised their seven-year, $3.7 billion rights renewal. It’s a 65% uptick in value from the previous agreement, an eight-year deal that expires in 2021.

French rugby courting private equity
Organisers of French rugby union’s top two tiers are in talks over a $200 million private equity investment from Novalpina.


Longer reads

–    Matt Rogan’s advice for future-proofing your business.

–    Simon Farrant on Microsoft Flight Simulator and why it’s got something to do with sports data.

–    The doctor in charge of the NBA bubble.


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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