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Premier League seeks head of EMEA media-rights sales to bolster in-house team

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The English Premier League has begun a search to recruit a head of media-rights sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The league is working with headhunters to fill the position, which will be focused on sales, account management and servicing broadcast rights-holders in the region.

Candidates being sought are those who boast several years of experience in a broadcasting or sports marketing position, including experience of working across the EMEA sports broadcast sector.

The successful candidate will report to Josh Smith, the Premier League’s global head of media sales.

The search has been initiated ahead of the Premier League’s international rights sales cycle from 2022-23 onwards. The international sales process is yet to fully begin, but a landmark six-year deal was recently announced with media company Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group in the Nordic region.

Moves to recruit a senior sales executive covering the EMEA region come as the Premier League’s broadcast operation, which is headed by director of broadcasting Paul Molnar, continues to strengthen its in-house sales capacity amid challenges faced by media-rights agencies in putting down sizeable minimum guarantees.

In the middle of last year, the Premier League promoted Michael Edelston to the position of head of media sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Edelston, who has been with the league since 2011, moved out to the Premier League’s offices in Singapore to facilitate more direct relationships with broadcasters.

SportBusiness also understands that the Premier League has been looking for a head of media-rights sales in the Americas as part of the new structure put in place. The search for a senior manager for sales in the APAC region – to support Edelston – is also under way.

The Premier League does hold agency relationships in Europe for the current cycle (from 2019-20 to 2021-22). A 27-territory deal is in place with IMG across Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, while Saran secured the Premier League rights in Turkey.

Smith joined the Premier League last year from his position as director of television services at football’s world governing body Fifa. He was recruited after Sunil Kaikini, the league’s head of international broadcasting, moved to the Pitch International agency to become managing director of football.