Issue 100: SportsPro Years - 2011

SportsPro has now been in print for ten years and 100 issues. To commemorate that landmark we’ve delved back deeper into the industry decade gone by in SportsPro Years. Here, we look back at 2011, a year when Qatar seemed to be all over the sports industry.

Issue 100: SportsPro Years - 2011

2011 began with editors and sports fans everywhere deep in research on the tiny gas-rich Gulf state that had somehow captured the Fifa World Cup. Soon, there would be plenty of opportunities to brandish that newly held knowledge.

Qatar’s influence on the sports industry rapidly approached its apex in 2011. A world record sponsorship deal was signed with club soccer’s best team, Barcelona, who would break with tradition to wear the logos of the Qatar Foundation and then Qatar Airways on the front of their matchday shirts. Then the country’s bold new vehicle, Qatar Sports Investments, made an even bigger impression by buying sleeping French giants Paris Saint-Germain, subsequently fuelling their rise towards Europe’s elite.

Meanwhile Doha-based BeIN Sports, the newly branded off shoot of the Al Jazeera broadcast empire, was expanding its free-spending activities from the Middle East to France and even the USA.

But not everything was possible. London prevailed in the race to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships, though Doha, Qatar’s capital, would follow in 2019. More damagingly, soccer powerbroker and Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed Bin Hammam was thwarted in his bid to replace Sepp Blatter at the head of Fifa, forced to withdraw amid a bribery scandal that would later lead to a life ban from the sport.

The Quote

There’s significant business that has been created and will be created through that new distribution ecosystem. Social media will be an unbelievably important part of that ecosystem

Casey Wasserman, chief executive, Wasserman Media Group – Issue 36


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