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Truly a giant of the digital world, Heyden is CEO of DFL Digital Sports, the digital arm of the Bundesliga and the 36 clubs that make up the top two divisions of German soccer.
Founded in 2015, DFL Digital Sports is one of three daughter companies operating under the aegis of the DFL – the Deutsche Fussball Liga. Sitting alongside production company Sportcast and Bundesliga International, DFL Digital Sports is one of the key in-house entities that has allowed the Bundesliga to control almost every aspect of the German league football value chain.
A team of some 70 people now – mainly based in Cologne – the primary function of the organization is to support the Bundesliga’s domestic and international rights tender processes with bespoke products, and all manner of digital bells and whistles. Having spent 20 years in digital with the likes of I-D Media, Microsoft and German broadcaster RTL before starting his first job in sport in 2015, Heyden, is far better equipped to explain it than me. Which is fortunate.
Andreas and I grabbed a cappuccino during Leaders Week in New York last month. Earlier that morning, we’d been at a breakfast event to announce the opening of a new Bundesliga office in New York.
On the conversational agenda: