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

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

By James Emmett


7 Questions, Answered

1.)  Are you still running the Leaders Sports Awards this year?

We most certainly are. We’ve shifted the focus to try to spotlight some of the great work – and great individuals behind it – going on through adversity at the moment. It’s free to enter this year too, and it doesn’t take too long to nominate. The deadline is next week.


2.) Who else could get away with a shoe deal while tied to another shoe deal?

Who else could get away with calling their new signature shoe – a signature shoe that they won’t be wearing because of the other shoe deal – the Roger?


3.) How is fitness data monetised?

Picking up on a question from last week, it looks like Under Armour don’t know the answer, despite five years and over $475 million searching for it.


4.) Why isn’t the women’s game in Football Manager?

There may well be soon, as the game’s director, Miles Jacobson, told us on the latest Leaders Linked session. He was in conversation with David Cushnan, of this parish, and Les Reed, the man whose ‘blackbox’ system of scouting transformed Southampton’s performances, both on the pitch and in the bank. Moneyball is still alive, well, and lucrative. It’s a thoroughly entertaining conversation, and still available here.


5.) What is the gold standard for rights holder digital content creators?

As the NBA and NHL announce that each team will be allowed to bring one digital content executive with them into their respective return-to-play bubbles, Seven League’s Daniel Ayers hits the nail squarely on the head with this quick lesson from the Premier League.


6.) Is anyone having an actual holiday/vacation this year?

Good for you. Here are some books you might like to take with you. There’s rarely any middle ground with behavioural science, I’ve found. It’s either garbage or gold. And it’s pretty much 50-50. Some of these, therefore, will definitely be very good.


7.) How many speeds is the sports industry now running at?

Never before has the global picture looked so geared, with territories running on completely different tracks defined, largely, by the response of their government agencies to the pandemic. So at the same time Paris can be planning to deliver a French Open tennis tournament in September to crowds of around 30,000 across two weeks, London is dealing with fallout of large scale redundancy plans at the RFU and the FA.


The Digest, Digested


What’s new?

  • Sales training for ecommerce live streamersit looks extraordinary, extraordinarily modern, and uniquely Chinese – and, have no doubt about it, it’s coming to the west soon – but it’s just the shopping channel isn’t it?
  • Ben Nicholas lands on his feet – he’s joined his ex-IMG colleague Nick Chesworth and former Premiership Rugby Commercial Director Dominic Hayes in launching River Media Partners.


What’s trending?

  • Hospitality matters – Creative ideas abound, but here’s a product that’s already being used: McLaren have developed a bespoke streaming service – basically an all-singing, all-dancing Zoom call with breakout functionality – exclusively for partners.
  • Content syndication – a useful makegood for partners; a lightened load on the marketing department; a new outlet for and emphasis on original short-form content creation; another magnetic rod dipped in the data pool. Increased syndication has proved useful for many rightsholders over the last few months, not least Ascot Racecourse, and now the R&A.








Prime stakes

Take away Covid and its ramifications and sport and finance in 2020 has been a year dominated by two stories: the pending carve-up of Serie A, and CVC’s piecemeal landgrab in rugby. True to form, this week delivered developments in both, with Cinven joining an ABC of PEs that already includes Advent, Bain, Blackstone and CVC with the scent of Serie A in their nostrils, and CVC appear close to concluding negotiations to take a 14.5% stake in Six Nations Rugby for around €450 million.


Fairetail ending

Legends has shifted its role at Real Madrid from advisory to operational as the US company will now manage all merchandise activity for the Spanish club. Meanwhile, with the ink drying on Paris Saint-Germain’s own recent merchandise deal – a landmark 10-year agreement with Fanatics – here’s a good look at how the modern sports club + lifestyle brand- yearly guarantee x lots of stuff for sale distribution platforms = huge uptick in merchandise revenue  equation is supposed to work.


Phishy business  

The waters have been well and truly muddied in New Zealand where preparations for the next America’s Cup sailing event have been hampered by a financial scandal, a seven-figure fraud involving a Hungary-based hacker posing as a TV rights executive, and now the government turning off the funding taps. Probes and gagging orders abound here. Off the water at least, the America’s Cup is never dull.




Longer reads

  • No more Mr Nice guy? A quick skip through the business of OGC Nice with its new chief executive Bob Ratcliffe, brother of owner Jim, reveals that the club is looking to staff out its commercial team with executive talent with Premier League experience.



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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