Sports media is filled with some of international business’ most forward-thinking, hard-working and passionate people, and is one of the reasons why the business of sport has been on a continual upward curve for a number of decades. To celebrate this, the Media Executive of the Year award will be selected by an independent, expert judging panel and will recognise a sports media executive who, in between August 1 2015 and August 1 2016:
- Maximised resources – both financial and human – to the maximum during the period
- Made bold business decisions that yielded strong commercial results, often in the face of challenging circumstances
- Opened up a new revenue stream, territory or sport for his or her company or partner organisations
- Headed the development of a new product that has or will have a positive long-term impact for the sports media industry.
Media Executive of the Year
Simon Denyer, Perform Group
Over the years, the EBU has learned to adapt to the changing market place as it has come under increasing pressure from wealthy private media groups and expansionist sports marketing agencies. Never has this been more the case than in the last two to three years, as the competition for sports rights has reached new levels of intensity. The loss of the rights to the Olympic Games to Discovery Communications in the summer of 2015 was a watershed moment for the consortium. In the wake of that shock, Kürten has overseen a radical retooling of the EBU’s role and modus operandi in the rights market, with immediately impressive results including winning back the rights to UCI cycling, in an eight-year joint deal with IMG, and moving early and aggressively to secure the International Biathlon Union rights through to 2022.
Christian Seifert has been chief executive of the German football league since 2005 and in that time has shaped the commercial strategy which has propelled the Bundesliga to becoming the third most important football league in the world after England’s Premier League and Spain’s LaLiga. In particular, Seifert has driven the media-rights strategy which has enabled the league to prosper, despite Germany being one of Europe’s most difficult pay-television markets. This summer, the league completed a domestic sales auction for the four seasons from 2017-18, securing an 85-per-cent uplift in the current value of the rights. Seifert has become a highly influential voice on the future of the game at club and league level. He is also vice president of the German FA, the Deutscher Fußball-Bund.
It’s been a busy year for the Perform Group and its chief executive Simon Denyer, from launching a new IP retail betting service and renewing a streaming rights deal with Racing UK to launching the goal.com website in China. But two big initiatives stand out as examples of entrepreneurial vision and courage: the 17-year, €500m rights and production deal with the International Basketball Federation and the launch of OTT premium services in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan. Throughout its short history, Perform under Denyer has been a leader, a company which has spotted opportunities and created business models around new technologies and new consumer behaviours before anyone else. While many organisations have talked about the potential of OTT, Perform has taken the plunge and invested aggressively in content to roll out the service this year, with more territories set to follow.
Our Committee Representative: Frank Dunne, SportBusiness
Frank Dunne has been the Chief Sports Writer for the SportBusiness Group since June 2015. Previously he had enjoyed two spells as editor of TV Sports Markets – from 2010 to 2015 and from 2001 to 2003. In the meantime, he worked as a freelance football writer on Italian football, including covering the ‘Calciopoli’ match-fixing scandal for the Independent and the Juventus doping trial for the Financial Times. From 1992 to 1999, he worked as a travel journalist. Frank’s passions are football, music, wine and sleep – preferably in that order.