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What: The financial troubles of leading media rights firm MP & Silva leaves international football, and other sports rights, in flux.
Why it matters: The unexpected availability of these rights may present opportunities for brands to partner with some of the world’s biggest football properties.

As most of Europe begins a new season of football now, many leagues are facing a very unforeseen issue in the next few weeks (and potentially the next few years): namely where their games can be seen—and who can see them—as massive media rights company MP & Silva (@MPSworldwidecontinues to go through its huge financial issues.

Monday the Scottish Professional Football League (@spfltook their rights back from MPS before a default that would have threatened a global blackout of their new season. A potential audience of tens of millions across the Middle East, Australia and North Africa were “denied coverage” of Saturday’s action. But the SPFL’s “cash-stricken” media partner “failed to stump up payments to continue selling the Scottish game abroad,” allowing SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster to “terminate the cut-price deal” five years ahead of schedule.

…[T]he global sports rights business especially for soccer, with one of its biggest players, remains in a great deal of flux.

The move by the SPFL follows that of Serie A (@SerieAlast week, which is now suing the company, which was founded in 2004 by the Italian trio of Andrea Radrizzani, Riccardo Silva and Carlo Pozzali, before being sold to Baofeng Technology and Everbright Securities in May 2016. The two Chinese companies took a 65 per cent stake in a deal that valued the company at US$1.1 billion.

What this means for leagues like Serie A and the SPFL is unclear, but for competitive companies looking to garner international rights it presents great opportunity to partner with some of the world’s biggest football properties at a time when those deals were thought to be off the table for years to come. According to TV Sports Markets (@TVSportsMarkets), MP & Silva has also missed scheduled payments to English soccer’s Premier League (@premierleagueand the European Handball Federation (@EHF), and is said to be in arbitration with FIFA (@FIFAcomover its advisory contract for Italian rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

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The default can also open doors for streaming services to engage and pick up rights for football leagues that were thought to be tied up in traditional broadcast deals, although the rights could be repositioned to the original holders. In the United States, MPS has had a burgeoning business that now appears to be on hold, with deals selling for the NFL, Monumental Sports and others.

For his part Doncaster painted a very positive picture for Scottish Football, looking to see what new deals, and potentially new dollars, this could open up.

“Scottish football is growing in popularity at home and abroad We are working to ensure that fans across the globe are able to enjoy matches from the Ladbrokes SPFL, the Betfred Cup and the IRN-BRU Cup as normal this season,” he added. “This also allows us to explore opportunities to give even more fans worldwide the chance to watch our games.”

As this plays out, the global sports rights business especially for soccer, with one of its biggest players, remains in a great deal of flux in a story that could become one of the biggest of the year.

cover image: SPFL

A summary of the most exciting news in soccer marketing. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • AudiMajor League Soccer and Audi of America extended their multi-year partnership. With the highest percentage of the millennial audience of any major U.S. sport, the partnership enables Audi to combine its commitment to innovation and technology to engage fans, raise the profile of the game and reach the next generation of young buyers. As part of the agreement, Audi will remain the League’s Official Automotive Partner and the title sponsor of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

 

  • Visa has announced its final results for the FIFA World Cup. The Official Payment Services Partner of FIFA reports that contactless payments accounted for 45% of all Visa purchases in the 11 host cities. Fans from Poland made the most of the contactless purchasing options in-stadium, making 74% of Visa transactions using contactless technology.

 

  • Univision Deportes announced that Univision Deportes Radio is now available nationwide on SiriusXM on channel 467. The lineup will offer “the best in live matches, original content and insightful commentary from a team of renowned sports journalists and analysts and bring more than 350 soccer matches annually to SiriusXM from UEFA Champions League, Europa League and National Team competitions, Liga MX, MLS, CONCACAF, the US Men’s National Team and others.”

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  • Global sports agency MP & Silva has failed to meet payments to multiple rights holders, according to a report from Sports Business. The firm, which is owned by Chinese companies Everbright and Baofeng Group, has apparently defaulted on scheduled payments to England’s Premier League and the European Handball Federation, among others. The agency is also in arbitration with Fifa, over its advisory contract for rights to the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups in Italy.

 

  • Chicago FireMLS team Chicago Fire have announced a multi-year partnership with telecommunications giant AT&T. The deal will see AT&T’s branding integrated through broadcast, digital, video, content and in-stadium exposure, as well as on-site activation at Fire-related events. The company will also present exclusive content and experiences to Fire fans, including a behind-the-scenes series and activations tied to competitive gaming.

 

  • Manchester City has announced their first esports-specific partnership, securing a deal with the gaming headset and audio accessory brand Turtle Beach. The contract sees Manchester City esports players using Turtle Beach’s line of professional gaming audio equipment, as well as other Turtle Beach gear and accessories.

Tom Glick, Chief Commercial Officer at City Football Club, will be a speaker in our upcoming Portada NY conference. Sign up here.

  • UEFA Champions LeagueTurner Sports detailed plans for its upcoming coverage of the UEFA Champions League. On TV, Turner will televise 47 UEFA matches on TNT throughout the season. Meanwhile, B/R Live, Turner’s new premium live sports streaming service will offer fans live UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League action, with content branded B/R Football across all platforms.

 

  • Allstate Insurance Company will launch its first-ever Allstate All-America Soccer platform to honor the country’s rising high school soccer stars. In collaboration with MaxPreps, Allstate will identify the nation’s top high school soccer players in their junior year and award the “Allstate All-American” title to an elite group of 125 male and 125 female players. From the total 250 high school players, 40 males and 40 females will then be selected for the unique opportunity to compete in the inaugural Allstate All-America Cup that that will take place in summer 2019 in the city that hosts the Major League Soccer All-Star Game presented by Target.

What: Alex Rodriguez spoke at last week’s 12th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
Why it matters: Rodriguez is the ultimate redemption story from what appeared to be a completely damaged brand to a growing Hall of Fame business career.

There are few better comeback stories in sports and entertainment than the one of Alex Rodriguez. From banned baseball superstar to mega-businessman, entrepreneur, analyst, and now Yankees advisor, Rodriguez has risen from the ashes of what most thought would be a career lost and a brand squandered to be one of the most thoughtful, engaged, and well-rounded Latin American athletes turned businessmen of the past 25 years, succeeding well beyond his stellar position as baseball analyst for FOX and ESPN.

ARod, his business plan, and the brands he works with were center stage late Friday afternoon at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (@SloanSportsConf) in Boston, where the MLB great shared his business thoughts on a panel that included Maverick Carter, DraftKings founder Jason Robbins, and 538 Founder Nate Silver.

The ARod Corp (@AROD) has created a wide business portfolio that includes everything from commercial real estate to eSports, with brand partners that include UFC Gyms in South Florida; Trifision, a rising fitness initiative which marries yoga, pilates, boot camp, barre, boxing, and cycling; Energy Fitness —a large chain of high-end fitness centers primarily located in Mexico City—, and NRG eSports, a millennial-focused content network, providing exclusive, multi-platform programming for gamers. That is in addition to the advisory work he does with the Bronx Bombers (which was announced on Sunday), his stellar baseball analysis, and his work with Jennifer Lopez on any myriad of cross-promotional businesses.

His comeback off the field has made for a growing Hall of Fame business career that may not surpass his legendary status on the field, but can come close.

The brand of ARod, it seems, has never been as vibrant, diverse or successful as it is today. How has it gotten there? Learn from those around you, and the mistakes you make along the way.

“I have the fifth most strikeouts in MLB history. Only four people in the entire world have struck out more than me,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Michelle Steele before a packed room at Sloan on Friday. “You get a Masters in failing, but you get a Ph.D. in getting back up.”

The backup involved rebuilding the trust of a skeptical public, as well as the business world, following his suspension from the Yankees. His comeback off the field has made for a growing Hall of Fame business career that may not surpass his legendary status on the field, but can come close.

One of the keys to success today? The three-time MVP believes control of your brand and all of its elements, is more important now than ever. “I look at the great success Jennifer [Lopez] has had with so many elements of what she does,” he added. “She had a fragrance called Glow that sold more than US $1 billion but she only owned 1 or 2 percent of the overall brand. Now with Glow2 she has much more control and if it ‘only’ makes US $200 million it is still better business because she can control the entire process.”

Another key to business success for Rodriguez? Listening. While always being known as a solid and thoughtful student of baseball during his playing days, the now retired veteran has a diverse team of business experts working with him on his myriad of businesses, many of whom are women.

The ARod Corp culture is based on a set of five values —Collaboration, Integrity, Accountability, Loyalty, and Excellence— that shape both the business and the companies that they work with. Also mixed deeply in that culture is a diverse leadership group that has identified and has executed business deals in a multicultural landscape that is becoming increasingly valuable, and the insight from young, vibrant successful Latino leaders will be key to the company’s future growth.

The transgressions of the past appear to be just that, and although Rodriguez will have critics and naysayers, the business world, both in sports and in other areas, seem to buy into the belief of his brand and the scalable growth that has come and will continue to expand.

“Alex Rodriguez was a success on the field and a hero to millions, especially in the Latino community, before all his issues, and he is perhaps an even bigger hero now because he has addressed, overcome and thrived not just as an athlete, but as a businessman,” said Chris Lencheski, who helps lead  MP & Silva’ s global partnerships, and a longtime sports marketing expert. “He has done what many at the top sometimes struggle to do; learn from your mistakes, reinvent who you are, embrace change, and come out ahead. It’s a great story, and at his age it’s pretty clear that the best may still be ahead, which is great news for his team, the brands he partners with, and most importantly, for the millions of people, both in and out of the Latino community, that will know ARod the businessman as much as ARod the baseball superstar.”

Success off the field can be tricky for even the most successful athlete. To be able to rest, succeed, expand and grow while learning from those around you is pretty amazing. While MIT Sloan featured some of the biggest names in sports business coming together for 48 hours (along with a former President of the United States as well), one of the most engaging and entertaining narratives came from a retired baseball superstar who has controlled and recast a brand that was tarnished and now shines across multiple languages, cultures, and brands. A second act better than the first?

That’s a pretty high bar but losing is not something acceptable for the New York native. Hits, after all, are what he does.

What: New York-based sports media agency MP & Silva and Baral LLC have closed a multi-year partnership to market media and sponsorship rights for 7 Liga Ascenso clubs, the second division Mexican soccer league.The agreement covers all media rights platforms for the U.S. territory.
Why it matters:  Mexico’s 2nd division soccer league maybe currently under commercialized. There may exist a great dormant opportunity for the League to grow in the U.S., given the size of the US-Mexican demographic.

MP & Silva, a full service global sports media agency, has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Baral LLC allowing both companies to jointly exploit the media and sponsorship rights of several clubs of Liga Ascenso, the Mexican 2nd division football league.

The deal includes important clubs such as Cafeteros de Tapachula, Venados De Mérida, Dorados de Culiacan, Club Atlétic Zacatepec, Potros de UAEM among others. MP & Silva and Baral will work together to maximize the full potential of Liga Ascenso in the American market, as they believe Mexico’s 2nd division league is currently under commercialized. There is a great dormant opportunity for the League to grow in the U.S., given the size of the US-Mexican demographic.

The scope of the agreement covers all media rights platforms for the U.S. territory. MP & Silva and Baral Group will also collaborate extensively to obtain sponsorship deals to benefit all clubs involved.The media rights package will include all home matches played by the clubs, starting at the beginning of the new season in July 2017 and running through the closing of the 2021 season.

There is a great dormant opportunity for the League to grow in the U.S., given the size of the US-Mexican demographic.

Speaking about the new partnership Frank Uddo, MP & Silva’s President, North America, said: “We are very excited to work with Baral and the clubs of Liga Ascenso. MP & Silva is a strong believer in the continued growth of Mexican football in America, given Liga MX is the most watched football league in the United States. We believe there is huge demand for more Mexican football and great potential to increase the profile of the league and its clubs.”

Ricardo Baraldi, from Baral Group, says the partnership is a “very good step forward in the development of the league that will help increase viewership and value to Ascenso MX in the United States through the combined efforts of Baral and MP & Silva.” Baraldi added: “We will be able to reach more US regions where Mexican fans are located”.

Victor Arana, President of the Atetico Zacatepec Club commented: “For several years now our organization has been working with Baral Group and we are delighted with the effort it is making with MP & Silva to increase our audience in the United States. We have seen the enthusiasm it causes among Mexicans, scattered in different regions of the United States, to follow the matches of their clubs.” Arana concluded: ” Zacatepec is one of the traditional clubs and we want to give our followers in the USA the possibility to see us play and most importantly … win …!!”

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What: Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE), the operator of Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and the Verizon Center. announced a plan to expand its global branding and sales footprint.
Why it matters:  The partnership, will include a wide variety of analytics support and content development from Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media, and Bungalow Horizon, a content JV with Horizon Media. M&P Silva will lead the global expansion of MSE’s sports rights sales.

VC_CornerShotMonumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) has announced an expansion of their global business initiatives, appointing MP & Silva, the sports rights agency, as their exclusive worldwide marketing rights agent to secure sponsorship, naming rights and commercial development.

This partnership, which will include a wide variety of analytics support and content development from Scout Sports and Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media, and Bungalow Horizon, a content JV with Horizon Media, will take Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s footprint beyond the borders of Washington, D.C., and the United States, a first for one of the most diverse companies in professional sports.

The partnership makes MP & Silva the main commercial partner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and Verizon Center. MP & Silva will be commercializing the naming rights of Verizon Center, also the home of the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team of the BIG EAST Conference and a top 20 globally rated venue according to Billboard and Venues Today. Scout will provide MSE and MP & Silva with a wide array of global business analytics to further support and define MSE’s opportunities in the global marketplace. Bungalow Horizon will develop a wide array of content opportunities to support the initiative.

MP & Silva will leverage the success of MSE’s professional sports teams through marketing programs around the globe and will oversee the analytics service that Scout Sports & Entertainment will provide to MSE.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is an only privately held company to own and operate three professional sports teams and its arena. MP & Silva will leverage the success of MSE’s professional sports teams through innovative marketing programs around the globe and will oversee the analytics service that Scout Sports & Entertainment will provide to MSE.

“We view Monumental Sports & Entertainment not only as an organization that owns a top-ranked arena and Washington, D.C. -based teams in the NHL, the NBA and the WNBA but also one that aspires to expand its brands globally, said Jim Van Stone, MSE’s president of business operations and chief commercial officer. “Washington is a vastly diverse global seat of government, culture and business. By expanding our reach we can expose the amazing opportunities here to a global marketplace while helping bring brands and other business opportunities to one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the world.”

Marco Auletta, CEO of MP & Silva, said: “This is a ground-breaking long-term partnership for MP & Silva, and we are extremely heartened by the confidence that Monumental Sports & Entertainment has placed in us to secure new commercial and sponsorship opportunities to bolster their assets. Our success stems from our well-established group of professionals in our 20 offices, with a very solid network of contacts and extensive knowledge of each regional market. This will benefit our partner, Monumental, and broaden their sponsorship opportunities into new territories.”

This landmark deal showcases the evolving players in the naming rights arena as traditional experts seek additional data capabilities.

Managing Partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment, Michael A. Neuman said. “Our relationship with Monumental and MP & Silva is a prime example of how the right partnerships result in a successful hallmark venture. The MP & Silva sales expertise and experience combined with our analytics work will redefine how such global deals will be executed in the future.”

“Content has become such an important part of strategic partnerships with brands,” said Bob Friedman, CEO of integrated entertainment company, Bungalow Media + Entertainment. “Bungalow will develop a wide array of content opportunities to enhance the value of the sponsorship for the naming rights partners.”

MP & Silva will oversee the exploitation of all commercial rights for its extensive calendar of events.