|Laurent Delanney- CEO, ATP Europe|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 06 February 2012 11:06
Prior to joining the ATP, Laurent Delanney worked for the international sports management and marketing agency ProServ (now BEST), from 1983 in Paris, France, where he managed the careers of a number of top professional tennis players, including former Roland Garros champion, Yannick Noah. He continued to work with ProServ in New York from 1988, before managing the marketing and publication operations of Club Med, the international holiday resort company, in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
ATP Involvement: Laurent has served as the ATP's Chief Executive Officer, Europe, since August 2009. He joined the ATP's European headquarters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, in 1994, and served most recently as Senior Vice President, ATP Properties, the business arm of the ATP, to develop commercial opportunities for the ATP’s tournament and player members.
Well, I’ve always been passionate about the sport and have played since I’ve been a child. I was born in France, but raised in Southern California, so had many opportunities to play tennis there. After I graduated from college, I worked for maybe a year in a family business. Then I suppose my passion for sports, and tennis particularly, drew me to find a way to work in sports. Eventually, I managed to string together a network of contacts and to end up at the right place at the right time.
My first job in tennis was with Proserv Europe, based in Paris, where I worked with a number of French junior players, one of which, a female player called Pascale Paradis, became World Junior Champion and won the Wimbledon Juniors. I grew in the organisation and was able to work with some more well-known names, particularly when Ivan Lendl and Gabriela Sabatini came to Europe. I was responsible for their activities and ended up being the manager for Yannick Noah, who was a very well-known player and a very big star in France. A few of the others became good coaches and are now on the circuit. To see people like Eric Winogradsky, who worked with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga for many, many years, until recently, or Thierry Champion, who worked with a number of French players, is quite fun too.
We’re structured in three different regions, Europe, North and South America, and Asia Pacific. The CEOs for the regions are responsible for managing the ATP’s governance of the circuit in their own region - from the calendar to the different aspects of running a tournament as part of a circuit in compliance with a certain number of rules so that there’s consistency. Also, there is of course the all-important priority of maintaining the integrity of the sport throughout the region. So, on a day-to-day basis I liaise with tournament directors and work with them in preparation of their event in various aspects. What I’m expected to deliver is a coherent, well-run circuit across the region.
With that, I have global responsibility for our sponsorship, sales and management of our sponsors. So, finding, negotiating, contracting and then the implementation of contracts like Corona, Ricoh, South African Airways and FedEx, some recent contracts that we signed just at the end of last year with Moët & Chandon, the tourism agreement with Rio de Janiero, as well as long-standing partners like Head.
I’ve found it very interesting to be involved in both of the main missions of the ATP. Firstly, the governance of the sport. Secondly, the development of the men’s professional circuit, the growth of the circuit from a commercial point of view and being able to have a view on both to have an overall perspective.
It’s becoming more and more critical. It is a new channel to reach and communicate directly with our fans. It’s a new environment that we certainly have positioned as a priority. You can allow fans to have a broader view of the players, meaning that whereas a television broadcast is very much about the matches and seeing the players on court, often referred to as ‘in their office.’ With social media players can have a bit more fun in communicating with fans and showing a little bit more of a light-hearted aspect of their personalities. I think that is critical, because the relationship between the fans and a player in an individual sport like this is very strong. It’s built up over many years. For the players, they are in the forefront of the sport for about ten years and you almost see them growing up. This channel allows just a better understanding of the player as a person.