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Former Lagardère executives Gaede and Ruhnau launch consultancy business

Nicolas Gaede and Ulrik Ruhnau, both formerly of Lagardère Sports (and the erstwhile Sportfive business), have launched a new sports consultancy firm, CSIGHT Gmbh.

Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, the firm will support rights-holders, advertisers and other stakeholders from across the business, focusing in particular on esports, smart stadiums, virtual advertising and strategic sponsorship planning.

The two executives bring different qualities to the new organisation having held senior positions in at the Germany-based operations of Lagardère Sports and (the Lagardère-owned) Sportfive for a number of years.

A statement from the new company said: “We offer excellent, strategic top management consulting for the sports business based on genuine insights gathered through many years of practical senior management experience in the national and international sports business. We strive to sustainably improve the economic efficiency of the companies and organisations we work with.”

Gaede’s expertise lies in marketing and sponsorship, esports and fan loyalty. He was senior vice-president, esports, at Lagardère Sports for 19 months and prior to that he was head of marketing and business development, Europe & Africa, for the group between 2014 and 2016. Between 2012 and 2014, he was vice-president, marketing & business development at Sportfive. The Lagardère media group moved into sports rights management with the acquisition of Sportfive in 2006.

Ruhnau’s experience lies in stadium and arena management, major events and the development of new catering concepts and hospitality.

He was executive vice-president, stadiums & arenas and business development, Europe, at Lagardère Sports between 2015 and July this year. Prior to that he was vice-president, marketing and business development for Sportfive between 2008 and 2011, preceding Gaede in the role.

Ruhnau was a leading figure in the establishment of the Lagardère Unlimited Stadium Solutions arm in 2011 and the ramping up of operations in the same year following the purchase of French firm Stadia Consulting Group.

Gaede said: “The sports industry is facing the most fundamental change and transformation in its history. You can’t counter that with small-scale, operative actionism. What you need is a holistic strategy that provides consistent orientation in these turbulent times and reduces complexity for decision-makers.”

Ruhnau added: “We’re fully convinced that competent consultancy for the sports business must originate from within the sports business itself. The particularities and tightly meshed networks mean that classical consulting models do not meet the needs of the sports industry. On the contrary, deep insights and experience in the sports business are essential to creating the right individual solutions for each client.”