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“We are committed to powering people’s passions in sports”

Discovery’s Ian Woods on how the Eurosport brand is expanding into the homes of its enormous viewer-base.

As the number one sports destination in Europe and a leading provider of locally relevant premium sports, as well as the home of the Olympics in Europe, Eurosport is available in 242 homes across 74 countries in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The brand is unique in being synonymous with a wide range of sports including cycling, golf and winter sports, providing huge scope for consumer products.

Discovery Consumer Products’ licensing strategy for the Eurosport brand was initially to reach the core demographic of super fans to provide its passionate viewers with products which enhance their sporting lives.

This approach is clearly seen in the initial licensed range – an adult cycling apparel range with British Cycling brand, Le Col. Ian Woods, svp, international consumer products and global digital gaming, explains: “We knew that we wanted to partner with a cycling company, as it was so endemic to the Eurosport brand. When considering key cycling brands in the European marketplace, we identified Le Col as a target.

The partnership with Le Col proved that co-branding is a successful strategy for Eurosport.
The partnership with Le Col proved that co-branding is a successful strategy for Eurosport.

“We were impressed by their existing relationships, for example their incredible relationship with cycling legend Bradley Wiggins, who also works as a commentator and podcast host for Eurosport, making it a truly synergistic relationship.”

Le Col’s existing range was also a key factor in the partnership. With strong performance qualities and technicalities, Discovery saw the company as a partner which would allow it to deliver an authentic collection, delivering quality products to the target cycling enthusiast.

Ian furthers: “From the success of the collection we launched this year, we can tell that this partnership really resonates with our consumers and we are expanding the partnership in 2020. We also have plans to work with Le Col and our other partner Zwift, the virtual training service, to bring our Le Col products to the virtual world.”

The brand has also expanded into recovery nutrition.
The brand has also expanded into recovery nutrition.

Following this early triumph, the company is now launching into wider categories including an upcoming sports skincare range with Lionstooth, plus a recovery nutrition line with Petrow and lifestyle products. Ian says: “We are focused on building out products geared towards recovery and replenishment for adults, as both are as vital as the activity itself, and these two partnerships are great examples of how we are doing that.”

He continues: “We are committed to powering people’s passions in sports, and providing them with products that enhance their lives.”

That commitment is key across Discovery’s new expansion of Eurosport Youth, where it is using the Eurosport brand to encourage youngsters to try new sports. Ian explains: “Our tagline, which we feel really encompasses what we are trying to accomplish with this, is ‘Designed for Future Champions’.

“By using our fitness and sports equipment, they can try tennis or racket ball, learn the sport and stay active. We are also looking to expand Eurosport Youth into apparel and footwear, so we can truly provide the youth with everything they need to get into these various sports and activities.”

Ian says that they want to provide people with products that enhance their lives.
Ian says that they want to provide people with products that enhance their lives.

Across all its categories, the team at Discovery carefully chooses partners which can enhance the Eurosport standing as a trusted brand in sports.

“We are focused on working with partners and retailers who believe in our mission and our overall message,” continues Ian. “We look to build collaborations with new partners who align with us as well as expand upon partnerships that have been successful, for example Le Col. The key is picking partners who share our goals. And, in turn, we are really able to offer those partners true 360 partnerships.”

As part of that 360 approach, Eurosport works with sports commentators and crews at various high profile and high exposure sporting events, allowing them the chance to share products and messages on a major scale.

Ian is also planning the announcement of a home fitness partner for the Eurosport brand and is hoping to talk to potential partners which align with the property and share the company values and plans for the future.

He says: “We are very excited about Eurosport Youth and introducing a whole new age group to our brand. Additionally, we are looking forward to being able to offer adults a full range of product – from their activity to their recovery – so we can be a part of their passion, whether it be cycling, tennis or golf, from start to finish.”

The Discovery stable

With its impressive reach and heritage, and the leading website averaging 42 million unique monthly visitors in Europe, the Eurosport brand is an attractive prospect for potential licensees as a standalone brand. But add in the pull of the Discovery network, and Ian believes there is capacity for long-term relationships to be formed.

He enthuses: “We are non-restrictive in many aspects, including timing, demographics and subject matter. We have so many brands now that touch so many passion areas, including food, home and travel, that partnering with Eurosport means you have access to one of the most immersive and expansive portfolios of brands in global media.”

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2019 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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