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The Euro50 Q&A: Laurent-Eric Le Lay, chairman and CEO, Eurosport Group

Eurosport has increased both its audience, across all platforms, and its revenues despite tough competition in the market, and continues to increase the reach of its standard and HD definition channels, and has innovated well in the digital space, as chairman & CEO Laurent-Eric LeLay explained to DTVE.

Age 45

Education A degree in Economics and a Masters in Finance from Paris Pantheon-Assas University, with a Masters in Media from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris.

Previous positions After nine years at Eurosport in different business development roles across broadcast, commercial and online I became the head of Eurosport France in 2002, while continuing to manage the sports rights acquisitions for the TF1 Group (covering both TF1 and Eurosport). In September 2003 I was promoted to managing director broadcast, Eurosport, alongside my role as head of sports acquisitions, TF1 Group. I was appointed chairman and CEO, Eurosport Group in 2006.

Life outside work I am passionate about sports with a personal love of tennis and golf. I enjoy literature, astronomy and psychology. I am married with two children.

Achievements of 2012 2012 has been a phenomenal year of sport and I pleased to have seen TV audience ratings on Eurosport reflect that – despite being in such a hugely competitive industry – thanks to our strong programming. We have also seen an ongoing upward trend of visitor numbers for our Eurosport.com website resulting in a series of audience records being broken. Finally I am proud to have strengthened Eurosport’s connection with Sport & Resilience, a movement that demonstrates how sport can help people who have suffered a trauma, either physical or mental, in their lives. We hosted two symposiums in Paris this year and the debate around this area was fascinating.

Most significant industry developments The sports broadcast industry is always changing so it was interesting to see the arrival of BT into the UK sports rights market with a strong statement for Premier League football and rugby union. On the reverse of this for the first time there was no broadcaster in Spain for a friendly match featuring its national team, the World Champions. It shows nobody is infallible. The continued rise of Android in the mobile market is also significant and creates clear opportunities to reach fans whatever device they own. I was also interested to see that the most powerful football club in the world is now in France, Paris Saint-Germain to be exact.

Key challenges for 2013 To remain flexible, smart and adaptable in order deal with the potential financial, economic issues that Europe will face.

Goals for next year To continue to run a good business in these unpredictable times.

Most admired industry personality There have been a few this year: Dietrich Mateschitz, the CEO of Red Bull for his sponsorship and marketing successes; Michel Platini, president of UEFA for his conviction and governance of football; Jack Dorsey Cco-founder of Twitter – this has truly been the year of Twitter.

Favourite current TV show My favourite TV show this year was the final afternoon of the 2012 Ryder Cup for the high drama and great emotion. In 2013 I am looking forward to the 100th edition of the Tour de France, which will be live on Eurosport, and to see Stage 18 when the riders tackle the legendary Alpe-d’Huez climb twice.

Tags: Eurosport, France

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