Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 212

People and Pop Culture

JORGE RINCON is VP/North America of music streaming service Deezer, whose sports partnerships include ManU, Barcelona, Brasileiro side Flamenco and the NFL Miami Dolphins. Deezer, which was founded roughly 10 years ago and is headquartered in Paris, is present in 185 countries. Athletes from the brand's partners compile playlists to share with their fans, in addition to the clubs providing special matchday playlists. As an extension of the playlists, Deezer incorporates its "Flow" feature, a personal soundtrack including favorite tracks as well as recommendations. Rincon spoke with SBD Global about Deezer's business model, int'l sports affiliations and key components of their partnerships.

On why Deezer got involved with sports ...
Jorge Rincon: Deezer identified areas where we could tap into where our competitor might not necessarily be as active. It's no secret that Apple Music and Spotify have been very aggressive in the way that they acquire subscribers, and that's a reflection of their financial situation. We are very well-founded but we take a more conservative approach. In that, we always look for ways to multiply or grow faster and less expensive in terms of acquiring customers. So one area that we identified globally was getting closer to sports franchises. We bet on the passion point, or the intersection of passion between a sports fan and music. We started that by doing the Manchester United deal -- where it's a global deal and we're the exclusive music streaming partner of Manchester United -- and we've started to create a series of activities that were related to how we branded ourselves and how we tap into that subscriber base.

On expanding its sports partnerships to the U.S. ...
Rincon: For North America, we wanted to get closer to the NFL ... and Dolphins was the right choice for us. Location did truly matter, but also the fact that the Miami Dolphins are a very iconic brand that brings a lot of tradition. Also, they've developed their Deezer platforms and assets in a very unique way and we were quite impressed. Sports teams are not only about running sports. Now you also run a digital aspect of your business and they have certainly made tremendous inroads into that and that is important for us.

On the development of the Miami Dolphins' partnership ...
Rincon: Some of the areas we've identified that we want to work together are around digital activations. So when you visit miamidolphins.com, you'll be able to see Deezer within the website where you can find official playlists of the Miami Dolphins, you can go to the players and see some of the music they select -- what they use for training, for instance

On the partnerships' key components ...
Rincon: Content is one of the pillars of any of our sports partnerships. The other one is digital integrations. We want those apps and websites of the sports teams to have a Deezer presence, where fans are only a click or two away from listening to the official playlist of the teams, or Flow or whatever you like along those lines. And last but not least -- it should be first -- is an iconic brand.

On differences among the partnerships ...
Rincon: There are many similarities but at the same token, we adapt to the region to get the most out of it. The Miami Dolphins are our fourth iconic franchise partnership, and there are a few lessons learned from previous deals. ... When you zoom in, there will be differences on areas where we need to focus or highlight the sport and the region and the team itself. ... One of the differences is that the Dolphins operate in Hard Rock Stadium and that's a venue for a significant number of high-level concerts, so there's an affinity to music, particularly with the Miami Dolphins as opposed to ManU.

On examples of the partners' global reach ...
Rincon: Manchester United and Barcelona came to the United States through the ICC [Int'l Champions Cup] during the summer and we did activations, we did a sweepstakes, we promoted Deezer subscribers to go to the games, we had in-stadium advertising, we promoted the playlists, and so on. [Last] weekend, Manchester United [did] an event in New York with a VIP watch party and all music provided for that party is provided by Deezer.

On Deezer's growth ...
Rincon: Partnerships have been at the core of Deezer's growth. ... Deezer has been on a steady, continuous growth year-on-year, given that the music streaming industry is growing double digits year-on-year. And the newest addition into that set of partnerships has been sports.

Hangin' With runs each Friday in SBD Global.

Former swimmer NICOLE LIVINGSTONE was “lured” from the Australian Olympic Committee to lead the Australian Football League Women’s competition. Livingstone, who medaled at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, will serve as the first head of the AFLW, which begins its second season in ’18 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/17). ... California-based tech company FanCompass named JEFF DOYLE EVP/global asset sales. Doyle founded N.Y.-based Cadence Solution Partners in '15 (FanCompass).

COACHES/MANAGERS: LEE KENDALL resigned as England women's goalkeeping coach despite the FA deciding against any action after he was accused of "unacceptable behaviour" toward ENI ALUKO. The striker, who was born in Nigeria, told MPs last month that Kendall "spoke to her in a fake Caribbean accent," prompting the FA to launch an investigation. Aluko told the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, "I don't think he meant it maliciously. He may not have been aware of how annoying it got" (LONDON TIMES, 11/16).

A Paris court ordered former French Sports Minister ROSELYNE BACHELOT to pay €12,000 ($14,125) to tennis player RAFAEL NADAL over a doping allegation. Nadal sued her for damages, saying that "her comments were harmful to his image" (BBC, 11/16). ... Fifth-tier English side Ebbsfleet United is auctioning a "special" Mambo No. 5 shirt for charity after defender YADO MAMBO became an "unlikely hit on social media." The 26-year-old "rose to prominence" after Saturday’s televised game between Ebbsfleet and Leyton Orient. The mismatch between his squad number and the '99 LOU BEGA song that "bears his name" was "widely spread on social media" (London GUARDIAN, 11/16). ... Man City Owner SHEIKH MANSOUR "made a personal vow" to buy LIONEL MESSI as part of his mission to make his club the "dominant force in world football." The Barcelona forward has remained Man City’s No. 1 target since it came under Abu Dhabi rule in '08. The club "maintained the belief the Etihad would be his first choice if he ever left the Nou Camp" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 11/16). ... Former footballer GARY ABLETT is "at the centre of a police probe over decades-old sexual assault allegations." Victoria Police detectives interviewed his alleged victim on "at least two separate occasions in October." The women, now aged 55, told police of an alleged sexual assault by Ablett in the late '70s (HERALD SUN, 11/16). ... Iranian weightlifter KIANOUSH ROSTAMI put his Rio 2016 Gold Medal up for auction to "raise money for the victims of last week's deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake near the Iran-Iraq border." More than 400 people were killed and close to 10,000 were injured in the quake (BBC, 11/15). ... ROBERT SMERDON stood down as a director of training group Aquanita "as a result of investigations into alleged raceday treatment of one of his horses," but continues to train at his Caulfield base. Stewards allege a member of Smerdon's team attempted to administer a paste to LOVANI at Flemington last month. In a letter to clients, Aquanita Racing Chair PETER HOWELL said that he "has decided to stand down from the Aquanita board until it (investigation) is completed" (HERALD SUN, 11/16). ... Premiership Rugby side Leicester Tigers back-rower TOM CROFT announced his retirement from professional rugby "with immediate effect, bowing out on medical grounds after receiving advice on a neck injury." The 31-year-old collected 40 caps for England and featured in five tests for the British & Irish Lions over two tours in '09 and '13 (London TELEGRAPH, 11/16). ... Czech police ended their investigation into a knife attack on two-time Wimbledon champion PETRA KVITOVA last year that "forced her off the court for five months this season." The police "received a number of clues from the public but could not identify the attacker" (REUTERS, 11/16).

FIFA ETHICS: The judge and prosecutor removed from FIFA's ethics committee in May "set up an agency to advise on integrity in sports." The new Sports Governance Unit said that German judge HANS-JOACHIM ECKERT and Swiss prosecutor CORNEL BORBÉLY will lead the Zurich-based firm. Eckert and Borbély were "effectively fired" by FIFA President GIANNI INFANTINO at FIFA's congress in Bahrain (AP, 11/16).