Eintracht hires Fink from Lagardère after taking marketing rights from agency
By Jonathan Rest
Eintracht Frankfurt, of German soccer's Bundesliga, have appointed Julia Fink as head of strategic partnerships as they continue to strengthen their sales and marketing division ahead of selling rights in-house from 1 July.
Fink joins from Lagardère Sports Germany, which (along with its forerunner Sportfive Germany) has been been Eintracht’s commercial agency for the last 15 years.
Indeed Fink has spent the last two-and-a-half years on-site as the senior director for team Eintracht Frankfurt, in charge of selling the club’s sponsorship rights and hospitality packages.
In October, Eintracht announced it would handle the sale of sponsorship rights and hospitality packages in-house from the start of the 2019-20 season, having invoked a clause in their contract early last year, and invited tenders from agencies for the rights.
Fink, who has spent almost 12 years at Lagardère, is the third addition to Eintracht's sales and marketing team in recent months, Sponsors.de, the German website, has reported.
Enricco Saliccia has joined as head of after sales, following almost seven years in a sponsorship sales roles at Bundesliga rivals TSG Hoffenheim, while Patrick Daum, a one-time Lagardère employee, has come on board to lead international partnerships from Nielsen, the global information and measurement company, where he was a director of consulting.
The team is led by head of sales and marketing Arnfried Lemmle, who joined the club nine months ago. Lemmle is a former head of sponsorship and sales at Hoffenheim.
The terms of Eintracht’s initial deal with Sportfive were negotiated in 2004 and as the agency’s negotiating hand was strengthened by financial difficulties endured by the Bundesliga club at the time.
That agreement afforded the agency 16.5 per cent of in-stadium commercial revenues (such as pitchside advertising) and 18 per cent of team commercial revenues (such as shirt sponsorship monies), according to Kicker, the German soccer publication. This is said to have led to a payment of €6 million ($6.75 million) to Lagardère Sports Germany in 2017, an increase of €900,000 on the 2016 payment.
It was reported in Germany that the Bundesliga club is looking retain an additional €3 million per season by taking the rights in-house.
Commenting on the decision to go to market, Axel Hellmann, an Eintracht board member, said 12 months ago that the “challenges of marketing a Bundesliga club have changed significantly with a view to the future.”
Hellmann publicly bemoaned the costs associated with the Lagardère contract in 2017, telling the Bild newspaper: “We are satisfied with the revenue from sponsorship, hospitality and ticketing, which amounts to more than €50 million, or about half of our turnover. It is only the costs that we have for the marketing through Lagardère that are much too high. We will not accept that any more in the future as it impinges upon the growth opportunities for sport.”
Eintracht’s Commerzbank Arena is currently operated by the Stadion Frankfurt Management joint venture that involves Lagardère and HSG, the property services provider.
Eintracht, the holders of the DFB Pokal cup competition, are enjoying a stellar season, sitting fourth in the Bundesliga - in line for qualification to the elite Uefa Champions League - and are in the quarter-finals of the second-tier Europa League, where tonight they are at home to Benfica looking to overturn a 4-2, first-leg deficit.