“Sport is a catalyst for change”

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Marketing: How do you evaluate the crisis?

Magali Tézenas du Montcel: After eighteen very complex months, we felt a wishful recovery from all players in the sport in the summer of 2021 on the occasion of the Olympic Games, the Euro, Roland Garros and even the Tour de France. The crisis did not cause any new underlying trends to emerge, but accelerated transitions that were already underway. This was an opportunity for rights holders to upgrade digitally, but also to test out new distribution methods after episodes like the Mediapro crisis at the end of 2020. Professional football remains an important part of the sports economy, and this slump shows it. relative fragility in which many players operate. Despite the state aid, the industry suffered millions of Euros in losses. many small structures were threatened and forced into debt. And with the return of indicators this winter, we saw that the situation remained uncertain. The sports industry is still growing, but remains subject to the risks of a hazard economy. : of course the danger of sports performance, the uncertainty that has all the attention of live sports, but also an increasingly climatic and even political danger…

What are your expectations from the presidential election?

We have proposed a series of measures to develop the sports economy, such as the creation of tax incentives that allow private actors to finance sports, while also better organizing themselves to take advantage of new sources of income as image rights. Of course, we always promote responsible sport and want to make sport accessible to as many people as possible., not only in terms of broadcast competitions, but also in terms of sports practice. There are still many hurdles to overcome in order to democratize sport in the workplace. Finally, we are still campaigning for the reduction of VAT in sports training. We believe it should be reduced from 20% to 5%, just like basic needs, like movies or shows.

What trend catches your attention the most in 2021?

Perhaps the most shocking The wave of digital innovation we’re seeing with the development of cryptocurrencies and NFTs. We’re seeing new revenue streams for rights holders, as well as new ways to engage fans and communities and generate data for partners. But this new industry is also a cause for concern, as it is complex and risky despite having many trusted companies in it. More generally, As sports are increasingly consumed online, we should also talk about the environmental impact of digital. which is worrying. I’m not just talking about the blockchain, I’m also talking about the proliferation of video content, for example. This is also the second important fundamental issue of 2021, in my opinion.breakdown of distribution model or diversification of consumed content, in the absence of competitions during the crisis, it was necessary to consider new content involving athletes. Again, this brings new opportunities.

Sports broadcasting and public interest were at the heart of the Mediapro business last year…

Between linear television, social networks, legal or pirate broadcasting and even advertisers’ platforms, with BNP Paribas, which broadcasts matches, for example, in We Are Tennis… There is a transformation in the sports broadcast media environmentthis requires diversifying content and sending the right content to the right people through the right channels. Distribution models are getting more complex: Live remains the flagship, but can be delivered in parts… These are huge transformations for sporting establishments that are not fit for it, except for those that already have huge means. This will reinforce a phenomenon we are already observing: big teams, those with premium rights like the Euro, the World Cup or the Olympics have the means to go upmarket and seduce their partners.others will find it more difficult to prioritize their investments.

Is this how he explains the European Football Super League project, which was interrupted last year?

The clubs behind this initiative have championed the desire to create a more attractive product by bringing together the “best”. It turns out that some of these clubs are nowhere near that level this season. On the other hand, these clubs owed a lot. Some were on the verge of bankruptcy during the crisis and saw a financial interest in this project aimed at reassessing their rights.

Doesn’t the diversification of distribution methods also come with the risk of losing sponsors? Especially since walled gardens like Amazon have become distributors?

Same problem with advertising or marketing in general, sectors in which GAFAs have a significant weight. Advertisers follow these trends and need to find the target audience where they are. The transformation of sports consumption is driving advertisers to change the lines. I’ve mentioned it before, but We Are Tennis by BNP Paribas is an example. This exchange space, which the brand created for tennis fans a decade ago, now allows it to broadcast several matches in an unusual tone, thus providing direct access to the data.

Finally, the last problem that advertisers are increasingly facing: CSR commitments. 2022 starts with the Winter Olympics and ends with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar… Two controversial events. Which position should be adopted?

This is no simple matter. 70% of Gen Z youth willing to boycott non-eco-friendly activities. We implemented the responsible sponsorship charter in 2012… Those who do not comply with this take risks. You should not forget that sport is a way of advancing many social problems such as equality of opportunity, inclusion, health… Sport is a living material for brands to address these problems in an authentic way.

But that leads us to see Cristiano Ronaldo pushing back a bottle of Coca-Cola at a press conference… Can we imagine a football player boycotting the World Cup?

we have already seen Antoine Griezmann terminates his contract with Huawei, raising the issue of Uighurs. However, I find it hypocritical of those who consume Chinese products all day long and ask athletes to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing. This is the life of athletes, let’s respect that. On the other hand, they are free to express themselves and use their media power to convey the right messages.

These athletes are the hostages of the decisions of FIFA or the IOC. Isn’t it mostly the job of advertisers to mobilize these organizations?

Indeed, there are precedents. Partners have a role to play in the management of these institutions. Also, the latter can influence the policy of the organizing countries. WTA is undoubtedly for something on Peng Shuai’s return in the public sphere. Once again, sport is a catalyst for change, a soft force that makes you move lines. Paradoxical is the lack of resources allocated to him in France.. Politicians are happy to be in the picture during a victory, but they need to understand that investing is necessary if you expect results.