SBD Global/April 21, 2017/People and Pop Culture

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  • Hangin' With ... Octagon Russia Executive Director Matthieu Fenaert

    MATTHIEU FENAERT is the exec director of Octagon Russia. Fenaert recently made the move to Moscow for his new role -- which was announced this week -- after leading Octagon's team in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup and last year's Olympics. Ahead of this summer's Confederations Cup, which will take place from June 17-July 2, and next year's FIFA World Cup, Fenaert spoke to SBD Global via email about sponsorship opportunities for a World Cup outside a traditional football hotbed, FIFA holding its first World Cup since the corruption scandal that rocked the organization in '15 and more. 

    On the World Cup taking place outside of Europe or South America ...
    Matthieu Fenaert: It's important to note this is not the first time the FIFA World Cup has been hosted outside of a traditional football market; Japan/Korea in 2002 and South Africa in 2010 were each considered very successful tournaments. Looking at long-term strategy, it's crucial for global properties to explore new territories and grow their sports. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is a unique opportunity for FIFA to raise passion for football in one of the world's most populated countries and one of the most powerful players in our current global economy.

    On FIFA regaining sponsor appeal ...
    Fenaert: The FIFA World Cup as a sponsorship product is one of a kind. The results in terms of awareness, positioning and incremental sales for sponsor brands have been proven time and again. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Octagon worked on behalf of six official partner clients, all of which recognized the value in associating their brand with a property that earns a tremendous amount of positive attention from the fans. In just over a year, three new brands have become FIFA partners, showing that brands see the vast opportunities that come along with the FIFA World Cup and understand this is a long-term platform that can elevate their brand and gives them an unparalleled global reach.

    On Asian sponsors ...
    Fenaert: China is now a major player on the global sports business landscape, and that includes sponsorship investment coming directly from Chinese-owned companies. I expect we'll continue to see increased engagement from Asian countries and likely more official partners before next year's World Cup. As the only full service marketing agency with local resources in both Russia and China -- backed up by three decades of global football expertise -- Octagon is well positioned to assist Chinese brands currently investing in a FIFA World Cup sponsorship.

    On concerns regarding hooliganism ...
    Fenaert: I have no doubt that security is a main priority of FIFA, the Organizing Committee and the local authorities and that they are taking the necessary precautions to guarantee a safe and festive atmosphere for fans. I've lead teams and sponsor brands through a number of global sporting events, and as soon as the first kickoff happens, or the torch is lit, the focus turns to sport and the early storylines fade away in favor of brilliant plays and overtime goals.

    Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.

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  • Executive Transactions

    Paris St. Germain Sporting Dir OLIVIER LETANG resigned from his position and "will join one of the world's leading football talent agencies." Letang will become the CEO of Sports Invest "with responsibility for football operations." Letang joined PSG in '12 and "played a central role in their growth." Letang's new job will "see him work across the world" in markets including China, the Middle East and the U.S., as well as the U.K., with scouting and player recruitment "central to his responsibilities." Letang will begin work at the end of this season (London DAILY MAIL, 4/20). ... WWE announced the appointment of SHEETESH SRIVASTAVA as VP & GM, WWE India. Srivastava will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in India and work with partners across all of WWE’s lines of business, including TV, live events, marketing, sponsorship, new media, licensing and merchandising.  He has more than 18 years' of experience in driving business growth in domestic and int'l markets. He will report to WWE EVP, Int'l ED WELLS. Srivastava joins WWE from The Walt Disney Company in India, where he most recently led business development for Disney Media Networks (WWE). ... JONATHAN HUBERMAN was appointed CEO of tech company Ooyala, effective April 18. Huberman will “focus on the company’s future growth and strengthening its market leadership.” Huberman was previously CEO of Syncplicity, a software-as-a-service company for enterprise file collaboration (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 4/19). ... DATUK SERI NORZA ZAKARIA will “take over the helm” of the Badminton Association of Malaysia. BAM Deputy President Norza reached an agreement with acting President TAN SRI MOHAMED AL AMIN ABD MAJID to “take over the association’s top post” (NEW STRAITS TIMES, 4/20).

    Do you have an executive announcement? If so, please send to

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  • Names In The News

    La Liga side Valencia announced Commercial & Marketing Dir PETER DRAPER will be leaving the club. Valencia said in a statement, "The current commercial and marketing director of Valencia, Peter Draper, will abandon the club for personal reasons at the end of April, after two years with the organization" (SUPERDEPORTE, 4/20). ... Former heptathlete JESSICA ENNIS-HILL was formally "made a dame during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace." She received the honor "for her services to athletics." Ennis-Hill won Gold at the London 2012 Olympics and Silver in Rio (BBC, 4/19). ... NBA Hall of Famer YAO MING will "lead an exhibition match" in Hong Kong this summer through the annual “Yao Foundation Charity Tour” as part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the handover. Yao will "hand-pick star players from the NBA and the mainland to feature in the game," scheduled for July 29 at the 12,000-seat Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 4/20). ... Police in Jamaica said that British Olympic high jump Silver Medalist GERMAINE MASON died, aged 34, after a motorcycle crash. The Jamaican-born athlete, who switched to represent Great Britain in '06, won Silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (BBC, 4/20). ... Arsenal controlling shareholder STAN KROENKE donated $1M to DONALD TRUMP's inauguration fund "in the latest link" between the U.S. president and the club. Official disclosures revealed the contribution by the 69-year-old Missouri-based billionaire to the celebrations marking the start of Trump’s Presidency. Arsenal was "one of a number of English football club owners who stumped up for the inauguration in January." ManU Dir JOEL GLAZER contributed $250,000, while Fulham Owner SHAHID KHAN also gave $1M (London EVENING STANDARD, 4/20). ... Former Wales footballer and Manager GARY SPEED has been inducted into the National Football Museum Hall Of Fame. Speed is Wales' most-capped outfield player and was Wales manager from Dec. '10 until his death in '11. Former England midfielders FRANK LAMPARD and STEVEN GERRARD "also make the list selected by a panel." Ex-West Ham player and Manager BILLY BONDS and Arsenal goalkeeper BOB WILSON were also picked for induction (BBC, 4/20).

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