MTG appoints Thomas Schmidt as ESL chief commercial officer

Media company Modern Times Group has appointed Thomas Schmidt as chief commercial officer of its eSport subsidiary, ESL.

Schmidt will have responsibility for ESL’s media rights as well as developing global sales and brand partnerships.

He joined ESL as a non-executive board member last October after having been responsible – as managing director of media rights at Team Marketing – for the distribution of Uefa’s Champions League and Europa League global media rights.

MTG comprises various esports, online gaming and digital video content businesses, as well as other minority holdings. It split off from the Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group in July last year.

Most recent

Social media giant Facebook’s challenges around its Copa Libertadores coverage in Latin America have convinced it that non-exclusive rights models form “one of the best ways” of breaking into markets where entrenched viewing habits restrict the potential for exclusive rights to grow engagement with the platform.

The Football Association rejected a higher bid for domestic FA Cup rights for the 2021-25 cycle from incumbent pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in favour of commercial broadcaster ITV, SportBusiness Media understands, in a move that took the competition exclusively free to air in the UK.

Spanish football’s LaLiga extended its rights deal in China with Wuhan DDMC Culture in May without going to market, where it would have faced a tough task maintaining its income, SportBusiness Media understands. The Chinese rights market has cooled since the previous deal was agreed, and DDMC is thought to be paying the league a strong rights fee.

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.