Winds of change

An enriching pass

Chris Lencheski named MP & Silva Interim Global Commercial Partnerships Director

Sports industry veteran to drive agency's global sponsorship division

New York, August 28, 2017 - A senior adviser to the Group and Board of MP & Silva since 2015, Chris Lencheski has been appointed to lead the global sponsorship division of MP & Silva, a full service global sports marketing agency.

MP & Silva’s current sponsorship portfolio is heavily anchored in premium US properties, including the representation of Monumental Sports and Entertainment's full suite of assets, the NY Red Bulls Arena naming rights, and the Miami Heat jersey patch. Chris Lencheski will be based in New York and manage the company’s global sponsorship team across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Jochen Lösch, CEO of MP & Silva, commented: “MP & Silva is rapidly expanding beyond its historic expertise in media rights into a full-service sports marketing agency. Chris will drive growth in this strategically important area of the company.”

Frank Uddo, MP & Silva’s President, North America, added: “MP & Silva has invested significantly in expanding our presence in the US market.  Chris is an extremely well respected professional and having him further demonstrates our commitment to this vital sports market. His experience will intensify our ability to support our partners’ strategic goals and build on the success we have already achieved."

Chris Lencheski also commented: “I am pleased to join MP & Silva at this exciting time in the company’s growth and transformation. Having been involved with some of the company’s high-level deals as an advisor, I look forward to continuing my close relationship with the entire team, and the opportunity to help build upon and drive the future growth of MP & Silva’s commercial rights and sponsorship business silo in the US and globally.”

With over 20 years of professional experience, Chris Lencheski has authored industry-setting standards and practice guidelines followed by major entities from network and cable television groups to Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Chris served as Vice Chairman and CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment – A TPG Speciality Lending Company, encompassing more than 1,150 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at their venues and within their global racing series.  Mr. Lencheski was retained to author and execute the corporate renewal of IRG Sports + Entertainment and under his leadership, IRG Sports + Entertainment expanded into Australia, acquired content from NASCAR to Red Bull Global Rally Cross and orchestrated the return of IRG motorsports sanctioning bodies after a 19-year absence to global television and the development of a digital platform with the ESPN family of networks. 

Prior to IRGSE, Chris Lencheski was President of Comcast-Spectators’ subsidiary Front Row Marketing and Analytics (FRMS) – FRMS was the commercial rights, sponsorship and analytics firm inside the greater Comcast ecosystem of stadiums, arenas, teams and properties. FRMS was acquired by Learfield Sports in 2015.

His work also included collaborations with the Americas' Cup, English Premier League, the Olympics, Formula One and World Cup projects as well as a host of international and national properties from every major league to governing bodies. He was a multiple team owner in the NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series, as well as owner of International Hockey League franchise; the Quad City Mallards - The IHL Affiliate of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers.  Chris Lencheski is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he is a three-term board member of the Falk College of Sports and Human Dynamics.  Mr. Lencheski is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and will continue as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.

Dish Network has filed lawsuit against Univision over the Spanish-language channel’s plan to livestream Mexican professional soccer games, in English, on Facebook Live.

The news site Cablefax wrote that it had seen a heavily redacted version of the complaint, which was filed in New York’s Southern District federal court earlier this month; the crux of the suit is Dish’s contention that Univision is violating an affiliate agreement that includes a prohibition on free livestreams. Back in 2012 at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the two companies announced a multi-platform agreement to launch three new Univision networks — one of which was Univision Deportes, which broadcasts the Liga MX games in Spanish.

According to the report, Dish alleges a Univision violation for “allowing linear services to be distributed for free via the Internet or a wireless cellular provider.” Though the Univision Deportes television broadcast and the company’s Facebook Live stream are in different languages, Dish is said to claim they are too similar, even reportedly quoting an interview with Olek Loewenstein — Univision Deportes’ senior vice president of strategy and operations for sports — gave to Sports Video Group in which he explained that the two version of the soccer match originated out of the same control room albeit with a different audio path and the use of a switcher toggling graphics between languages.

Cablefax quoted part of the complaint: “It has undermined the value of Dish’s licensing and distribution deal with the Univision Entities, by making covered content available for free through a third-party distributor. And it has and will undoubtedly cost Dish profits and the goodwill of its subscribers and potential subscribers, who are less likely to purchase Dish services or the necessary subscriptions to access its Liga MX content, since games can be viewed for free on the Internet or through a wireless cellular provider.”

A spokesman for Univision Communications Inc. provided SportTechie with this statement: “UCI is disappointed in Dish’s decision to file this suit. For more than a decade, UCI has partnered extensively with Dish to make it one of the most popular TV distribution services with Hispanic America. More people are watching our Liga MX games on our existing Spanish-language cable and broadcast TV networks, as evidenced by our year over year increase in Nielsen TV ratings.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to build audiences with new platforms. In fact, UCI was one of the first media companies to support Dish by making its popular Spanish-language broadcast and cable networks available on Dish’s Sling TV service. We have also sought to expand the Liga MX audience by offering a select number of matches via a new English-language service on Facebook.”

Dish did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sports media industry has seen a proliferation of livestreamed broadcasts over social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Yahoo and Amazon, which will show the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games this fall. Those deals are generating big cash, too: Twitter streamed last year’s Thursday NFL games for $10 million while Amazon had to reportedly offer for $50 million to secure this year’s package. The continued dissemination of sports content over so many platforms could well entangle broadcast rights deal in future legal challenges, especially in cases such as this one in which the matter of differentiation will be debated.


The New York-based agency and Baral are working exclusively to market the media and sponsorship rights for 7 Liga Ascenso clubs

New York, 31 July 2017 - 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.

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 ...!!"


Mercedes extends option and commits to entry for 2019/20 season

STUTTGART, GERMANY (July 24, 2017) - Mercedes-Benz has today announced plans to enter the FIA Formula E Championship for the 2019/20 season - extending the original option agreement to join the electric street racing series in season five.

The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer initially reserved an entry prior to the season-opener in Hong Kong last year, but Mercedes has chosen to extend the option for a further year and commit to race in Formula E for season six - joining the growing list of brands shifting focus to electric.

Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “Today is a great day as we welcome Mercedes to the Formula E family - adding to the increasing number of manufacturers joining the electric revolution. This shows how much the world is changing, not only in motorsport, but the whole automotive industry. We’re witnessing a transformation that will first change our cities, and then our roads. Formula E is the championship that embodies that change, and together with all our teams and manufacturers we’ll keep pushing for technologies, to have better and more affordable electric cars.”
“I’m very happy to see yet another manufacturer committing to the FIA Formula E Championship,” added FIA President Jean Todt. “Mercedes-Benz has been competing in motorsport since the very beginning, and in joining this newest chapter of racing history - Formula E - it shows that the vision and concept of the championship is aligned with how manufacturers want to develop electric vehicle technologies, and bring these innovations to audiences around the world.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said: “In motorsport, like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and also explore innovative new projects. With Formula 1 and Formula E, we have achieved exactly this balance. Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture - it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies. Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series. I’m pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”

“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery-powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” explained Dr Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz. “Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our intelligent battery-powered electric vehicles, as well as giving an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.”

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