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Dow Jones EMEA Managing Director Michael Lynagh: Sports is definitely benefiting from China

Monday, 23 May 2016 17:40   |   By Yutang Sports

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(Michael Lynagh/ Photo credit: Getty images)

During the 2016 SportAccord Convention, Yutang Sports was able to hold an interview with Michael Lynagh, Managing Director EMEA at Dow Jones.

Yutang: As we know, Dow Jones is a very famous company that publishes the world’s most trusted business news and financial information in a variety of media. What is the benefit of attending SportAccord this year?

Michael Lynagh: We launched Dow Jones Sports Intelligence last year which delivers a range of services to help sporting bodies and organisations manage risk, which is especially relevant given the growing requirement in the world of sport to have commercial transparency, to be aware of who you are doing business with, and to ensure you have processes in place to manage risk.

Yutang: Why do you choose to enter the sports industry now?

Michael Lynagh: Good question. The publications within Dow Jones have access to data from our professional information businesses, which represents big pools of proprietary and public data, which are useful for all decision makers when managing risk. The timing for us and fortunately for sports is very good, because there are so many issues going on in the sporting world.

Sports for many, many years was an amateur environment, a hobby and a pastime for many athletes. The professionalism of sport has led to increased capital flows, and some of the problems of the past couple of years have been around mis management of this money, which has caused a loss of public confidence in come world sporting bodies.

Further erosion of this confidence would be a disaster for sports. So Dow Jones Sports Intelligence can offer a range of services to help sports administrators raise the bar in terms of risk management and transparency. We’ve been helping some of the world’s leading businesses and largest governments deal with and manage risk for years and, there’s no reason why sports shouldn’t benefit from the same tools and expertise.

Yutang: How do you compare with Sportcal or Repucom?

Michael Lynagh: I think we have a unique approach because our work is based on our experience as professionals from the world of business and sport, and also access to huge, public and proprietary data sources, such as leading risk compliance databases, with thousands and thousands of individuals and businesses listed and interlinked.

For example, if you enter the name of a business or individual into our risk and compliance database, you will be provided with a range of information checked against all manner of different topics, such as the status of an individual and whether they hold a public role or are related to a senior politician, or perhaps have been convicted of a financial crime.

Yutang: There are other companies that provide intelligence, information and consultancy services out there like Meltwater. What makes Dow Jones stand out in the market?

Michael Lynagh: Our Factiva database alone has one billion articles in it - with 1.4 million added per day. These one billion articles include many from behind paywalls, so the Factiva database also collects data from huge information sets that are not publicly available. Our competitors all have their own benefits, but we consider our media data sets to be the most comprehensive.

We have hundreds of researchers  around the world, making sure our databases are up to date, interrogating data and ensuring they are correct, and constantly adapt elements such as like sanctions lists for example.

Yutang: Then do you have any focus in the Chinese market now?

Michael Lynagh: We are selling services and products of Dow Jones in general to Chinese companies, because Chinese companies, like any company, have the same demands to ensure they operate with full knowledge of their commercial environment, understanding of market risks and opportunities, to achieve clarity through data, to make sure they make the right commercial decisions and work with the best partners internationally. Dow Jones Sport Intelligence have plans to help any company communicate and make the best business decisions, based on transparent data.

It is best practice in business to know who you’re doing business with. So Dow Jones traditionally is one of the leaders in risk and compliance field. We use our vast resources and data to help banks, for example, comply with anti-money laundering guidelines, and ensure they understand who their customers are. We believe Dow Jones Sports Intelligence is a natural extension of this for the sporting world.

We understand that there are a lot of Chinese companies that are investing a lot of money into sport, not only locally in China, but also around the world. So we would like to be able to help those companies and many others in China to assess who they are doing business with in the wider world, know who you are talking to, in order to know who those people are, know their companies.  So we hope we can become more involved in China, using our services to help those Chinese businesses that are spending a lot of money globally on sports.

Yutang: Do you have any client now in China? If not, do you have any plan to partner with any Chinese companies?

Michael Lynagh: While it is early days for Dow Jones Sports Intelligence in China, we certainly have plans to partner with Chinese companies. I wouldn’t be able to name anybody in the stage, but we’ve certainly been talking to a few people that are here. We had preliminary discussions. We are open to meeting people, and to developing business partnerships.

Yutang: Do you have any plans to work with the Chinese government?
Michael Lynagh: We are commercially interested to share our knowledge, data and information with all relevant parties.

Yutang: How many people do you have in the Beijing office? Are they doing technical things or are they researchers?

Michael Lynagh: As a company we have a broad team in Greater China, working across our data strategy, databases, business and commercial teams, newswires and of course journalists working for Barrons, Marketwatch and the Wall Street Journal, as well.

Yutang: In the Chinese sports industry, there are sports giants like Wanda Sports and Alisports. So could you give us any prediction for the future of those companies?

Michael Lynagh: Wanda, Ali, both of the companies have been very successful. They are run by very smart people, who are doing a great job, particularly in the world of sport. They see their benefit out of their own sports brands. World sports is definitely benefiting from the involvement of China. For example, rugby union, after coming to China, will have strong exposure and greatly benefit from the huge market as China is, but also provide access and content for the media platforms (in China), so it’s a win-win situation.

Mr. Lynagh has a 30-year track record in business. Mr Lynagh combined his business activities with a stellar rugby playing career. He is a former Rugby World Cup winner with Australia, and remains Australia’s record points scorer. In 2002 he worked for the International Rugby Board (World Rugby) assisting with rugby’s reintroduction to the Olympic games. A seasoned broadcaster, Mr Lynagh appears regularly on television as a rugby analyst. He has also written extensively for The Times and The Sunday Times.

In March 2016, Michael Lynagh was appointed as Managing Director, EMEA, for Dow Jones Corporate. In his new position, Mr Lynagh assumes a leading role in promoting Dow Jones’ suite of products to customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as the company strengthens its presence in global markets.

Please note: this article is a condensed version of the original interview.

Tags: sports business,Chinese sports,China,sports marketing,sports industry

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