76 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
#8 Charlie Stillitano, Founder & Chairman of Relevent Sports: The Most Interesting Man in Football, on '94 World Cup, Connections, Friendships & Dealings w. Sir Alex, Florentino, Ancelotti and others
Charlie Stillitano is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Relevent Sports, hosts of the International Champions Cup (ICC). Stillitano began his career in football as a Venue Director for the 1994 World Cup. Following the World Cup, he was named V. P. and GM of the NY/NJ MetroStars. In 2003, he founded Champions World where he helped create the ChampionsWorld Series, a pre-season tournament and match series for the world's top clubs. Stillitano then became a senior executive at CAA Sports where he ran the company's soccer business. Stillitano currently co-hosts the daily "The Football Show" on Sirius/XM. In 2017, ESPN FC named Stillitano one of football's 50 most influential people. We talk about his upbringing in an Irish neighborhood in New Jersey, growing up with people of different cultures, becoming the Executive Venue Director for New York/New Jersey during the '94 World Cup, and how that put him on the map to become one of the most connected and influential people in football. We also talk about how to gain trust with the big names in football, working with Stephen Ross, the billionaire real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner who is a majority owner in Relevent Sports, introducing him to Argentina's then President Macri, how he introduced Sir Alex and Ancelotti to each other, "enemies" who became friends, what makes Florentino Perez unique, and much more.
58 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
#7 Ahmet Schaefer, Founder & CEO of Core Sports Capital: on Owning & Managing Three Clubs, Operating as an Airline Alliance, Cultural Understanding When Buying Clubs, and Working for Sepp Blatter
Ahmet Schaefer is the Founder & CEO of Core Sports Capital (CSC) - a Switzerland based company that owns and manages theres clubs including: Clermont Foot 63 (League 2, France), Vendsyssel FF (Division 1, Denmark), and Lisa Lustenav (1 Liga, Austria). Ahmet, of Swiss and Turkish descent, is a young, yet seasoned veteran of the football industry with a career journey has has taken him from selling hospitality packages for the 2006 World Cup to FIFA, to working as Sepp Blatter’s assistant, to MP & Silva, where acted as the VP of Acquisitions & Strategic Partnerships, managing their global TV rights portfolio, to Founding Member-Managing Partner of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation. We talk about CSC and its club alliance, how the company serves its clubs in a similar way in which airline alliances serve their members, with synergies across business units. We touch on how he uses his industry experience in the day-today management of three clubs at the same time, the importance of cultural understanding when buying a club, how the company acts as a consultant and finance broker to other clubs in similar situations, and how they created an IT platform that provides data analytics for scouting, training, coaching, and medical purposes. We also talk about his role as Sepp Blatter’s assistant, the day-to-day work, the main learnings and insights from working with him, his whereabouts and thoughts on when Swiss authorities and the FBI came cracking down at FIFA headquarters, and more.
42 minutes | Dec 15, 2020
#6 Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Juan Carlos Rodriguez — President of Sports at Univision, the leading Hispanic media company in the US. He’s regarded as one of the most powerful and influential sports executives in the industry. We talk about his journey, being shaped by growing up in Mexico City, how childhood insecurities led to his creativity and unique leadership style, and how football informs his approach for business, including hiring decisions. He’s one of the rare breed of sports media executives and a disruptive force in a typically traditional industry. Under Rodriguez’ guidance, Univision Deportes Network has become the No. 1 Spanish-language sports network in the country, just five years since its debut, and is consistently among the top five sports networks in the country, regardless of language. Rodriguez was also responsible of delivering the most successful FIFA World Cup broadcast in the United States to date. Among many other things, he’s lead the acquisition of exclusive Spanish-language media rights of most major tournaments and leagues, including the World Cup and the Champions League. Rodriguez has been named one of the “31 Most Powerful People in U.S. Soccer” by FourFourTwo, he has also been named for two years in a row to Sports Business Journal’s annual list of sports business mavens, “50 Most Influential” and appeared in Sports Illustrated’s “30 Most Influential Hispanics in Sports”. Under his direction, Univision Deportes has garnered five Sports Emmy Awards for excellence in sports coverage.
62 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
#5 Thairo Arruda
Thairo Arruda — from a humble upbringing working on his family’s farm outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to working in management consulting to pursuing an MBA at Yale University at 32 years old. While at Yale, Thairo, came up with the idea of buying a football team in Europe. By applying statistical analysis and microeconomic theory, Thairo and his partner came up with a formula that would ensure success in buying, managing, and eventually selling a club. Does it sound a bit like…Moneyball? Here Thairo delves into his journey and goes in-depth on the details behind the concept and quest to prove his theory that investing in a football team can be successful, and profitable.
99 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
#4 Dr. Erkut Sögüt
Dr. Erkut Sögüt - reflects on his journey, from the immigrant neighborhoods of Hannover to the top of world football. He is a lawyer, teacher, agent, language student and aspiring novel writer. He has three Master’s degree’s and a PHD…at age 40. We talk about his quest to become a Harvard professor, how teaching is the foundation to everything he does, how that led to him becoming Mesut Özil’s agent. We also talk about racism, media bias, propaganda, and pressure, Mesut’s retirement from the German national team, and, that photo with President Erdogan.
66 minutes | Nov 21, 2020
#3 Jon Smith
Before Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola, there was Jon Smith, often labeled as the original Super-Agent. By the time Jon sold off the company he founded, First Artist, it was making over a 100 million pounds a year and had 400 clients. Some of those he’s represented include Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola, the England National Team, and most famously, Diego Maradona. Jon was also one of the key figures in establishing the commercial structure of the English Premier League and helped it become the most powerful and recognizable sports league in the world. We discuss eventful negotiations, mixing American entertainment with English Football, his drive to remain relevant, dealing with a Naples based family business, and what it was like to work with Maradona.
52 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
#2 Sven-Göran Eriksson
Sven-Göran Eriksson - on leadership style, downside of public life, managing England, being asked by North Korean officials to fix the World Cup, and the sad feeling he has when thinking about a journey that doesn't include more than football. Was that all there was to it?
68 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
#1 Emile Heskey
Emile Heskey - on life after football, self-refection, media pressure, and racial prejudice. In 2000 22-year old Emile signed for Liverpool for a record transfer fee. The following year he scored to "make it five" in England's most epic game to date, the 5-1 win against arch-rivals Germany in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. Often criticized, always questioned, yet picked by six different England managers. How does football's misunderstood man reflect over his life and career journey?