Lagardère Sports Poland started off as an information office in 1997. A former part of Bertelsmann, the company used to go by the name UFA Film & Fernseh GmbH. It moved into TV rights for football and has been active in the field ever since.
“We had the rights for 14 clubs, all from the Polish premier league,” says Andrzej Placzynski, President of the Management Board. “Since 1997, we’ve had the media and trademark rights to the Polish Football Association. At that time, we also started organizing games for the National Team of Poland. We still do that today and have a contract with the association. We’re the exclusive marketing firm and are the exclusive partner until 2022.”
The company’s core activity continues to be its cooperation with the Polish football association. “We obtain sponsors and partners for U21 and the Polish national team,” Mr. Placzynski continues. “We do the marketing, prepare projects for the association, and acquire sponsors and partners for the national team. We successfully acquired some huge partners, like the Polish oil company Lotos for Polish Football Association and T-Mobile for Ekstraklasa”.
Lagardère Sports Poland also sells hospitality, VIP tickets for major sporting events in Poland and abroad, such as the World Cup and the UEFA Euro. “One highlight from our past was when Poland was co-hosting the UEFA Euro 2012,” says Mr. Placzynski.
Among its selling points is Lagardère’s track record for quality. The company brings in the sponsorship money for the football clubs and has proven itself to be the best in the business. “We opened the doors for sports marketing in Poland and were pioneers in that respect,” the President says. “Football isn’t our only sport, however. We also work with the Polish Volleyball Association – it’s Poland’s second-most popular sport, the handball association and the ski jump association, as well as rugby tournaments in Africa. We’ve won sponsors for boxing matches, like world heavyweight championships, too.”
Lagardère is active in Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Poland, as well as Africa and Asia. While 15 employees work for the company’s Polish branch, worldwide they number 1,700. For two years now, all Lagardère companies have been operating under the name Lagardère. There is another Lagardère company in Poland: Lagardère Travel and Retail, which controls airport retail space.
Lagardère Sports Poland is also currently developing some esports projects. “We have among others a preliminary contract with the Polish national football league exclusively for esports,” Mr. Placzynski points out. “We are working on creating and developing official esports league for Ekstraklasa (Polish highest football league). Streaming will not replace the traditional TV, but the Internet will broadcast sports in one form or another. Regardless, the live experience in the stadium is unsurpassed.”
In addition to the rise of esports, Lagardère will be in charge of selling hospitality and acquiring sponsors for the exhibition matches played by the Polish national football team.
“We aim to extend our contract with the Polish football association beyond 2022,” says Mr. Placzynski. The company also wants to find sponsors for other kinds of sports, such as basketball.