The Interview - Enric Rojas (CEO at Kosmos Tennis)
SPSG Consulting is assisting Kosmos Tennis in a specific project related to the economic and social impact of Davis Cup by Rakuten. In this month's article, we had the chance to interview Enric Rojas, CEO at Kosmos Tennis.
Kosmos is a conglomerate of companies and initiatives focused on the sports industry. Can you briefly elaborate what have been the main milestones for the company so far?
The first major achievement as a company was the agreement in 2018 with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) through which Kosmos acquired the rights to organise and commercially operate the Davis Cup Finals for the next 25 years.
In 2019, Kosmos organised the Finals for the first time with great success, and we are just two months away from the second edition. Since 2018, the company has continued to grow and expand its business activities. This includes Kosmos Football, which is the majority partner of FC Andorra; there is also Kosmos Studios, which has developed a number of initiatives aimed at new consumer formats on different platforms; and we have also moved into sports management, working with sportsmen and women including Dominic Thiem.
We also have the media rights arm. In 2021, we acquired the rights to the Copa America football tournament, a competition that could not be viewed at a national level, and which was broadcast on Ibai Llanos' Twitch channel with really interesting audience ratings. This was a major milestone for us – an international competition on a platform such as Twitch for the first time.
In addition, together with Enjoy TV, we acquired the rights for Spain to France’s Ligue 1. Viewers could follow Messi's debut for PSG in our country through Telecinco and Ibai's Twitch channel.
Another business area that we announced a few days ago was the agreement we have reached with several football legends to launch their NFTs (non fungible tokens) together with Sorare, the football fantasy platform.
Kosmos is also involved in other areas and businesses, such as athlete representation, eSports clubs, football clubs as well as media rights holders. What are the plans for the next 3-5 years?
The plans for the coming years are, firstly, to consolidate all the initiatives we have started, of which there are many. We have a team dedicated to each of the areas as well as people who are involved across all projects. We will continue to look out for new opportunities, exploring possibilities that are gradually gaining ground in an increasingly digital world.
I believe that we have already shown that we are capable of exploring new paths and breaking new ground. Innovation will continue to be an important part of our company profile in the coming years.
One of the initiatives led by your company is the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals, which will take place from November 25 to December 5, 2021. What new initiatives are you preparing for this second edition?
As soon as the first edition was over, we started working on the improvements we wanted to incorporate into the second.
Essentially, we wanted two things: to avoid a repeat of the very long days for the players and fans; and to bring the competition closer to more local audiences. This means that in 2021 we will have a new multi-venue format, with three cities for the Group Stage and quarter-finals, with the event being held over 11 days instead of one week. Madrid remains the main venue, exclusively hosting the semi-finals and final, plus two quarter-finals as well as the Group Stage of Groups A and B – with Spain in Group A. Innsbruck, in Austria, and Turin, in Italy, host Groups C, D, E and F and two quarter-finals.
You, Enric, have been working at IMG in the media division for many years, planning and overseeing some of the most important media rights deals in the sport industry and now, at Kosmos, the company is also entering into that space. What are the main trends in media content and distribution in the sport sector?
These are very interesting times because of the impact that new technologies and platforms are having.
There is no doubt about the importance of many of them as places where large audiences can be found and, in particular, the place where a new generation is heading, whose consumption habits have nothing to do with those of their parents. All of this is leading the industry to a necessary readjustment, one that is very attractive and full of challenges, and where it is important to be open to exploring new paths that we could not even have imagined just a few years ago.
Content is one of the main elements to success in the sports industry, but also how this content is “packaged”, communicated and distributed. Kosmos has been very active in exploring innovative ways to deliver new content to audiences (for example, through Twitch). What are the main challenges that the sports industry is facing when it comes to attracting audiences? And how to monetise this audience?
The diversity of content and the easy access to a huge volume of information is a great opportunity to reach audiences but, at the same time, presents an immense challenge, because the offer is so broad that it’s not easy to achieve good positioning. You have to know how to choose well and then know how to offer that content in a format that fits with consumer habits, which are very changeable.
Throughout the 20th century, consumer habits changed gradually. Now, year after year, innovation is constant. Here at Kosmos our experiences have led us to promote Twitch as another channel in competition with more traditional ones. And in another very different field, but also fully digital as already mentioned, we have moved, together with Sorare, into the world of NFTs.
In addition, at Kosmos Studios we are still working on several projects that will eventually see the light of day on digital platforms; in each of our sectors, online channels are always considered a priority. Brands are not oblivious to these changes and are increasingly open to engaging with innovative approaches away from the usual and traditional channels.
It is a great moment for building new synergies and creating new monetisation models.