Football Marketing Asia COO Tyler takes his leave

Co-founder and chief operating officer David Tyler has departed from Football Marketing Asia, the Asian Football Confederation’s Hong Kong-based exclusive commercial rights agency.

FMA said that Tyler has “stepped down from his role and will relocate back to Europe for personal reasons”.

Tyler will not be replaced as chief operating officer, with those directly reporting to him now reporting to Patrick Murphy, FMA’s chief executive.

Tyler, who leaves with immediate effect, has been retained as an external strategic adviser on “certain key projects”.

FMA, which recently rebranded from its DDMC Fortis name, was created when Tyler and Murphy’s Fortis Sports agency teamed up with Chinese sports, media and entertainment group DDMC to bid for the AFC’s commercial rights from 2021 to 2028.

Tyler is to remain a shareholder in Fortis Sports, itself a shareholder in FMA.


Outgoing FMA chief operating officer David Tyler

Commenting on the exit of his long-time business partner, Murphy said: “All of us at FMA and many in the broader sports industry are aware of the immense role David has played here from day one. His leadership of the AFC bid documentation project was key to us winning this prestigious mandate in the face of stiff competition and very literally laid the foundations for FMA’s (then DDMC Fortis) existence as a company.

“Since then, David has been pivotal to the set-up and day-to-day running of our business across a wide range of operational areas as well as providing critical professional expertise for the board, staff and indeed me personally.”

Murphy added that he looks forward to continue working with Tyler in a different capacity. The pair worked together for many years as part of the Team Marketing management.

FMA acquired the AFC rights in a historic deal in 2018, ending the confederation’s 27-year relationship with Lagardère Sports and the Singapore-based World Sport Group agency (later acquired by Lagardère).

Having far outbid rival agencies, in terms of the minimum guarantee it offered the AFC, FMA was already faced with a sizeable challenge to return a profit on the deal, a task now made tougher by the market conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

FMA has announced just four deals for the 2021-24 cycle so far – media-rights deals in Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Central Asia. However, Murphy told SportBusiness in June that more than a dozen further media and sponsorship rights deals have been finalised but are yet to be announced.

FMA praised its departing COO today (Friday), saying that “from the very start, Tyler helped build the company from scratch. His broad remit focused on the original Asian Football Confederation bid, negotiating the agency agreement, guiding day-to-day relations with the AFC and overseeing multiple business verticals including operations, HR, legal and business affairs”.

FMA recently recruited Andrew Guy of Talisman Sport & Media, the London-based independent media-rights consultancy, as its executive vice-president, business affairs and general counsel. Murphy turned to recruit Guy, another Team alumnus, following the decision by Ronu Miah, the incumbent executive vice-president, business affairs and general counsel, to leave his position.

Tyler joined Team Marketing in 1997 and worked his way up to become managing director and general counsel. He left in 2012 alongside Murphy (managing director of sales) and chief executive Simon Thomas, amid a dispute with shareholders Highlight Communications.

He went on to become chief executive of Relevent Sports, a subsidiary of RSE Ventures, which develops and owns the International Champions Cup, the summer club football tournament.