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Governance & Commercial Growth, Leaders Podcast, Sport Business, Sports Marketing | Oct 15, 2020
In conversation with the EVP of Football Operations at the San Francisco 49ers.

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Transforming a football business into a media and entertainment investment firm | Buying into Leeds United | The 4-point plan driving 49ers Enterprises | Why date nights are sacrosanct in the pandemic.

Episode 97 of the Leaders Sport Business Podcast – brought to you in partnership with Arc – features a conversation with Paraag Marathe (first part begins at 05:12, second part begins at 46:21), EVP of Football Operations at the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, President of 49ers Enterprises, board member at Premier League side Leeds United, and Chairman of USA Cricket.

Having been with the 49ers since 2001, Marathe has developed into one of the most versatile and broad-minded senior executives in sport. His current responsibilities include the management of the 49ers player contracts and salary cap; the strategic direction and day-to-day oversight of 49ers Enterprises, the franchise’s innovative, growth-focused investment vehicle; representing the 49ers’ viewpoint on the board of Leeds United, in which the 49ers took a 10% stake in 2018; and the development of a Twenty20 cricket league in the US.

On the conversational agenda:

– Why managing an NFL salary cap is like managing an investment fund portfolio;

– The 2014 decision that transformed the 49ers from a “billion-dollar lemonade stand” to a media and entertainment juggernaut;

– The 4-point plan driving 49ers Enterprises: 1) Incubate; 2) Invest; 3) Consult; 4) Capitalise;

– The dynamics of attraction between sport and the VC world;

– Why the 49ers invested in Leeds United, and why a further investment could be around the corner;

– Switching off from work through a commitment to running and date nights.

“We believe strongly in the fundamentals of [Leeds United], and we’re absolutely open to doing more. Nothing to report right now, but we’ll see where this goes.” Paraag Marathe.

Elsewhere in the podcast, James Emmett and David Cushnan reflect on some of the key themes covered at Leaders Week Direct, including the process for preparing venues to reopen to crowds after a pause for the pandemic. They’re joined for the discussion (which starts at 33:20) by Suri Suriyakumar, CEO of Arc.

ARC is at the forefront of reshaping the way the world’s businesses have remained operational with their unique range of social distancing signage, safety products and services. Their consultation and on-site and on-line survey process have transformed a complex problem into a simple solution for thousands of global clients. For more information, visit e-arc.co.uk.

We’re grateful to Suri and his team for their support.

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