Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 2
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Game Changers: Maidie Oliveau

Oliveau has worked on two of the world’s biggest sporting events — the 1979 FIFA World Cup and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Corporate Partners
Maidie Oliveau
Arent Fox | Counsel

hen the FIFA World Cup pooled its rights globally for the first time in 1979, Maidie Oliveau helped Coca-Cola cut the first deal. When the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee became the first to offer exclusive rights to marketers, she was there too, working for that group. More recently, she represented the Los Angeles Lakers in the negotiations that resulted in that team’s massive RSN deal. And since 1997, Oliveau has served as an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Oliveau has been a change agent with some of sports businesses’ biggest entities.

“Sports have become a marketing license,” Oliveau said. “What we are dealing with now is the sophistication and multiplication of that effect.”

As for advice after more than 30 years in the business: “Remember that your relationships are lifelong,” she said. “People in the sports industry hang around. They might change jobs, but they are generally in it for life.”

— Terry Lefton

  • Crowning professional achievement: Working on the 1984 [Los Angeles] Olympic Organizing Committee. Peter Ueberroth provided strong leadership, and those Games changed the business of sports in ways that are still being felt.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Peter Ueberroth. He made me believe in the power of leadership.
  • Best advice you’ve received: Shut up and listen.
  • What would you, at age 18, find surprising about the person you’ve become today?: That I’m a part of a meaningful sports leadership community.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: My biggest frustration is with people who think they understand the business of sports because they read the sports pages.
  • My vision of success is …: When all parties in a negotiation are satisfied.

“Maidie is fiercely bright, and from all angles — legal, business and competitive — she has as comprehensive an understanding of how this business works as anyone I know.”

— Gary Stevenson | President and managing director |
MLS Business Ventures, and 30-year industry veteran