Our SPORTEL Participants experience

10/10/2018
James Bunn testimonial

"…that some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well…" – Abraham Lincoln: It was in this spirit that a friend recently reminded me of a past glory achieved at the SPORTEL Market. This month a spokesperson from 21st Century Fox said on the sale of their £11.6bn (US$15bn) stake in Sky. "When we launched in 1989 it was four channels produced from a prefab structure in an industrial park on the fringes of West London. This achievement would not have been possible without decades of entrepreneurial risk-taking and the commitment of thousands of colleagues, creators and dreamers…" A few years later I joined that group at SPORTEL; the Fox Sports business we founded one afternoon is today the number one multi-sports broadcaster, website and app in Australia, a position it’s held for more than two decades. The story starts simply enough; I was feeling over-tired after a week talking content at MIPCOM. Passing time over the weekend before the start of SPORTEL I arranged to meet some trusted sports business allies for an informal lunch. Someone suggested we head up into the mountains to the Columbe D’Or in St Paul de Vence – "James Bond country" they said teasingly. After debating Sky’s latest Premier League rights deal, and how we should capture the attention of younger viewers, the Cognac loosened my tongue and I shared my vision for the industry and where I thought it should be going. My friends in management consulting used to talk about my belief in the impossible and soon I realised that the idea wasn’t just a possibility, it was a potentially significant game changer. It’s a bit fancy in St Paul de Vence, and escaping the Hollywood stars we stayed true to our sports agenda and adjourned to the village square to watch a local game of Petanque; in sport as in business I’m always inspired by what teams can do when we focus. In some ways it was just another October Saturday afternoon but I learnt that week, that every conversation could be the big one. Opportunity is all around if you care to look at SPORTEL: some are looking for inspiration, some for the next big thing and a few would like to steal your wallet, but as someone once said "Keep your mind and eyes wide open, and you might surprise yourself"

James Bunn