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Sports Speaker Series, Workshops

Covid-19 and the Professional Sports Ecosystem: Tennis under the spotlight

Session 3 - The Future of ESports

Interviewer: Frank Hendrickx

Interviewee: Fernando SolerFormer Senior Vice President at IMG Tennis Worldwide and International Tennis Consultant

Interviewee profile: Fernando Soler is a former professional tennis player on the ATP Tour, who then became one of the most powerful agents in the sports industry. His sports business career began in 1987, when he joined IMG as a tennis agent and managed clients and events including Carlos Moya (former ATP World #1), Sergi Bruguera (2-time ATP Grand Slam Champion), Guillermo Coria (former ATP #3); and an ATP event in Barcelona, the Trofeo Conde de Godó.

During his wide-ranging career in sports, Soler also managed IMG’s Football Talent Division, representing players like Kun Agüero and Gerard Piqué; served as Head of Sales for IMG Media Spain and Portugal, where he was responsible for selling a wide range of sports and entertainment content to broadcasters in those countries; and was involved with the successful ownership, management and sponsorship of major sports events in Tennis, Golf, Ice Skating, Athletics and Football (most recently the Football Super Cup in Jeddah).

As Managing Director of IMG Tennis Worldwide, Soler was responsible for leading and growing the agency’s wide-ranging activities, including managing world-renowned players (e.g. Novak DjokovicRoger FedererRafael NadalSerena WilliamsMaria Sharapova), producing ATP and WTA tennis events around the globe (e.g. Miami Open, Rio Open, Chengdu ATP 250, Chennai ATP 250), and creating sponsorship programs for international blue-chip brands (e.g. Itau Bank, Peugeot, Lacoste, Rolex).

Soler is now a global consultant in sports. His clients include IMG, Kosmos and others under NDA.

This event will look at how the professional sports ecosystem has been impacted so far by Covid-19, how it has responded, and the potential lasting implications of the crisis. Given that Tennis has been doing things differently from a lot of other sports, our host Frank Hendrickx will talk to Fernando Soler, the former Senior Vice President of IMG Tennis Worldwide and international tennis consultant, to analyze the future of tennis post Covid-19. Important tournaments such as Wimbledon have been cancelled, while the US Open and Roland Garros might still take place later this year behind closed doors. How are the main stakeholders - sponsors, tournament organizers, broadcasters, players, federations - being affected by the crisis? In an act of support, the governing bodies of world tennis have come together to raise in excess of US $6 million to create a Player Relief Programme aimed at supporting players who are particularly affected by the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Will other sports follow this example by taking action to ensure young, talented athletes pursuing their dreams are not lost in the crisis?

Wednesday July 8th 2020, 3pm - 4.30pm
45 minutes interview then 45 minutes Q&A

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