With the creation of the brand new Head of Digital role, UEFA is seeking to transform its digital landscape. We spoke to the hiring manager, Marketing Director Guy-Laurent Epstein, to find out what qualities he’s looking for in candidates.
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Guy-Laurent, you’re creating a new unit and a new role, can you give us an insight into the emerging digital vision for UEFA?
There is an ongoing revolution right now in the digital world, where business is digitally driven in many different activities and sectors. Then there is the question of fans, and how we ensure that we engage with them in the long run.
We believe it’s time for UEFA to fully invest in the digital world from a business perspective, continuing the significant work we’ve done with broadcasters, where we’ve developed new products and innovations, such as 2nd screen applications feeds or VR experiences.
We’re already providing a top service that is well recognised by broadcasters. The idea is to mutualise this, and use it, or part of it at least, for our own platforms. We also want to strengthen the direct-to-fan experience on our own platforms, including video content and, potentially, live content when appropriate. Finally, we want to increase and centrally control the relationship with third-party platforms, and drive our partnerships with the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
What kind of qualities are you seeking in candidates?
We’re looking for someone who comes from the digital business of course, and probably from a direct-to-fan experience. We are very well-advanced in B2B in terms of talking to our partners and offering services that fit their needs. What we want to extend further is the B2C experience, so someone who comes from a large platform, or who has been directly involved in direct-to-fan experience in the past would contribute positively to our future development.
What we actually want is someone who brings ideas, and who leads by example based on existing experience. But also, because the role includes a lot of coordination within so much of UEFA, the person that joins us needs to be a natural leader with strong interpersonal skills, who would be able not only to lead a team, but also communicate ideas and objectives across the organisation.
With this new unit and the growth of digital in general, would you say that it’s an exciting time to be joining UEFA?
It’s always exciting here in any case! But yes, especially so now. The broadcasting landscape is evolving in a direction that is very much driven by digital. Our commercial partners - broadcasters and sponsors - are moving their business towards digital as well, and therefore we need to be there even more than today to support that commercial effort. Ultimately, we need to find opportunities to reach more people directly, to convey our message and to promote our competitions.
We need to engage in a one-to-one relationship with those people, to be able to understand what they want; how they perceive football, how they perceive UEFA, and give them more about what they want, and ultimately of course, be able to monetise this experience in a variety of different ways.
You mentioned that it’s always exciting to work for UEFA. For you, what makes it an exciting and unique place to work?
In the entertainment world, and sports is definitely a significant part of this world, it’s all about the content. We have the incredible opportunity to work on three of the world’s greatest sports properties - the Champions League, Europa League and European Championship, with the Nations League coming soon. This makes the content we can provide, for what is the number one sport in the world for fans, an experience that is second to none. That’s very special, and also unique. UEFA is also a very dynamic organisation to work for, with a cosmopolitan mix of staff who have the knowledge and experience to give you the support that you require.