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Episode 55 of the Leaders Sport Business Podcast features a conversation with Real Madrid Global Head of Partnerships David Hopkinson. After a global search process to find an executive to lead the Real Madrid commercial team into a new era, the Canadian joined the Spanish footballing giants from Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in the summer of 2018, having spent almost 25 years at his hometown sports organisation, latterly as Chief Commercial Officer.
Tim Leiweke, one of the CEOs under whom Hopkinson had worked at MLSE, had the following words to say upon Hopkinson’s move to Europe: “Seldom in your life do you run across someone as bright, vibrant, energetic and entrepreneurial as [Hopkinson]. He has a personality that doesn’t just light up a room. He can set a room on fire.
“Real Madrid is as big a brand as there is in our industry. Normally you’d have a hard time finding someone who could make it better. They just did.”
On the conversational agenda:
– From Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to Real Madrid – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the unexpected;
– The challenges of change management at one of Europe’s traditional sporting giants;
– Selling partnerships with no Ronaldo and no silverware;
– Partner acquisition approaches: shotgun style vs rifle shot;
– Building agency capability into the Real Madrid commercial team;
– Partner access and working with player agents;
– The trend for 6-star in-stadium experiences and why the Bernabeu’s €550 million renovation provides a huge opportunity.