Broadcast, Digital & Media, Future Trends, Governance & Commercial Growth, Partnerships, Sport Business | Aug 26, 2020 | 8 min read

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

By James Emmett


Hello and thank you for clicking through to read the latest edition of the Leaders Digest, the weekly newsletter that cuts to the core of what’s happening and why across the global business of sport.


5  Questions, Answered

1.) Has anyone really got the hang of remote production yet? 
It’s a question I asked last week, and I maintain the answer is yes. And if building community and presence across social is more your thing, then we’ve got something for you too.


2.) What happens to broadcast contracts this year?
The EFL’s decision to agree a deal with Sky Sports to allow all its clubs to stream every match in this upcoming season until protocols allow for 50% capacity attendances seems like a sensible one. But what about all those leagues still planning for restricted broadcast output (according to the terms of their pre-pandemic rights deals), and their clubs who would no doubt like a substantial makegood offering for season ticket holders unable to redeem? I predict a bumper season of piracy numbers and contractual wrangling.


3.) What about this broadcast contract though?
What, this one? The one in which DAZN claims to have reworked the traditional sports media rights model to shift towards the Spotify approach of low-to-no upfront fees but a revenue sharing agreement based on performance of the content? Well, it could indeed be the future, and it’s certainly something the broadcast fraternity has been looking for. But will DAZN – and other broadcasters – be able to replicate what seems to have worked in Japan in more competitive rights markets where interested parties operating multiple different business models are in play?


4.) It feels like the winds of change are blowing across the rights landscape, then. Shouldn’t I be trying to do my own thing? How would I even go about building my own OTT business?
Step 1: give this a read.


5.) Do I need to hire a Chief Community Officer?
In short, yes.


The Digest, Digested

Spotify buys exclusive sponsorship for League of Legends (2 mins)

Brooklyn Nets owners pledge $50 million to create ‘economic mobility’ in the Black community (3 mins)

Scudamore joins Moneyball’s Beane in group aiming to buy Premier League club (3 mins)

No more ‘podium girls’ for Tour de France (1 min)

Buyout groups team up in €13bn battle for Italy’s Serie A (2 mins)

IPL title sponsor Dream11 on cusp of $2.5 billion valuation mark (2 mins)

World Bowling strikes digital content deal with Curveball (1 min)

Formula 1 2020: Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi confirmed to conclude season (2 mins)

Olympic Channel celebrates four-year anniversary with record growth (3 mins)

The real reason China banned all but the Beijing 2022 test events (3 mins)

Unofficial Partner podcast episode 100: Donald Dell (58 mins)

The pandemic brings IOC to a moment consequential if not existential (5 mins)


What’s trending?

–    Spotify doing sports podcast things – The Spotify sports podcast surge becomes a splurge with the announcement of a new content and marketing partnership with Riot Games that will see the platform pay to act as the exclusive audio service provider for League of Legends, producing a new line of esports podcasts as part of the package.

–    NBA owners stepping up – Hot on the heels of HBSE’s announcement of a $20 million pledge last week, the Brooklyn Nets and their owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai have pledged $50 million over the next ten years to the promotion of economic mobility in the Black community.

–    Gerry Cardinale keeping busy – The man at the centre of almost every sports industry deal of the last six months has brought in former Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore to join his effort to invest in a top tier soccer team through a (suddenly trendy) SPAC financial vehicle. Scudamore is part of an intriguingly comprised seven-person board alongside Cardinale, Billy Beane, Volkert Doeksen, Deborah Farrington, Professor Richard Thaler and Lewis Wolff.

–    The slow eradication of sporting protocols that enforce sexismThe Tour de France has done away with ‘podium girls’.





–    Felicia Mayo is the new Chief Talent, Diversity and Culture Officer at Nike.

–    Lowell Taub’s departure from CAA is now confirmed, and the veteran agent has taken all of his clients with him to launch a new agency, Stoked Management.

–    Former Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has been appointed as the CEO of Golf Australia.




CVC goes again for Serie A
CVC Capital Partners has refreshed its approach to a potential investment in Serie A, joining forces with fellow private equity firm Advent International and Italian investment fund Fondo FSI to make a renewed offer of €1.3 billion for a 10% stake in a new entity that would handle all commercial rights for top tier Italian domestic soccer. The offer values the league at €13 billion – considerably higher than a previous CVC bid did – but this piece in the Financial Times makes it clear that the process for moving forward with an investment is wrought with political challenges.

Dream11 team
The BCCI was moved to terminate the IPL’s title sponsorship deal with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo early owing to political tensions between India and China. Vivo has been replaced in the title slot by Indian fantasy sports platform Dream11, itself partially owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

World Bowling has signed a deal with UK-based digital content agency Curveball Digital for digital strategy, content creation, and social media management services.



   17 – Formula 1 rounded out its 2020 race calendar yesterday, taking the total number of Grands Prix this season to 17 by adding races in Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to the schedule. That the international roadshow has been able to continue at all this year is remarkable, so for F1 to have been able to handle the complications of logistics, air corridors, and countless different and changing regulations in different jurisdictions on top of the usual stakeholder engagement to get a near-full global season on the books this year is nothing short of astonishing.

    3.3bn – the Olympic Channel celebrated its fourth anniversary this week, marking the occasion, as is customary for any self-respecting broadcast platform, with an infographic. The 3.3 billion video views racked up across the channel’s first full Olympiad of action is certainly an eye-catching statistic, and the much-maligned channel has begun to come into its own during the pandemic, providing a much needed platform for those Olympic sports and their athletes who have struggled to tell their stories with sport in shutdown.


Eye on China

China’s sports policy
A quick history lesson here on how China’s governmental approach to sport – still more or less all powerful when it comes to shaping the future of the industry in the country, and the reason that Beijing 2022 test events have escaped the Covid shutdowns other sports have seen – was itself forged by the political history of China. And here’s an image showing how quickly governmental decisions can be put into action.


Longer reads

–    Richard Gillis brings up his century of Unofficial Partner podcasts by creaming one to the boundary with this special episode with one of the sports business’s founding fathers, Donald Dell.

–    Alan Abrahamson selects some choice weapons from his rhetorical arsenal for this powerful piece on the existential crisis facing the IOC and the Olympic movement.


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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