More Events, Fewer People

June 7, 2014
Flop or Not?

Flop or Not?

The sports and music events market is growing rapidly, but this year supply is exceeding demand, according to Puls Biznesu. The season for outdoor holiday events is just getting started with the Orange Warsaw Festival (hopefully!) and Open’er Festival in Gdynia kicking off summer party time for millions of Poles at thousands of events around the country. However, it appears that there are more events  every year than potential participants. “There are far more events this year than during the same period last year, whereas the number of tickets sold is similar but is spread across a greater number of events,” says Marcin Matuszewski, head of eBilet.pl, one of the largest distributors of tickets in Poland. The company estimates that the ticketed events market in Poland is worth more than PLN 0.5 billion, 45% of which is generated by sports events, 35% constitutes music events, while the remaining 20% is made up of other cultural events. Four out of five tickets are sold via the internet. The highest turnover was achieved in Warsaw, almost 40% of the whole industry. Other profitable regions included Lower Silesia, Greater Poland, Pomerania, Silesia and Kraków.
finanse.wp.pl

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Polish Start-up in China

May 25, 2014
Deal in the Bag

Deal in the Bag

Betegy has signed a three-year contract with one of the largest Chinese lottery operators, SunLoto, owner of Wozhongla.com. The Polish start-up is the first company to manage to sign a long-term contract for delivering football data and forecasts to Chinese clients. “It is extremely difficult to break into the Chinese market, especially those sectors controlled by the state. International corporations like William Hill and BET365 have tried and failed many times,” says Alex Kornilov, Betegy director and co-founder. He adds, “The ability to reach a large number of Wozhongla.com clients is extremely important to us. The games and lottery market in China is one of the largest and fastest developing markets in the world. It was valued at an estimated at $22 billion at the end of 2013 and its annual growth was 20%.” On the other hand, Gao Lei, CEO of Wozhongla says, “Since we became a licensed lottery operator in 2008, we have succeeded in building a massive database of loyal clients. Their demands are growing all the time so it is important to offer them extras like forecasts and predictions. After a detailed analysis of the market, we chose Betegy because of its achievements, unique technology and professionalism.” Its technology is based on highly advanced statistical analyses, giving them an extremely effective forecasting model, which uses factors such as the latest team results, atmospheric conditions, individual players’ fitness and even the condition of the pitch. Betegy is able to probabilistically predict the prospects of a chosen team, the number of goals scored and even the exact result of a chosen match. The games and lottery market in China has also become increasingly more interesting to external investors. Sequoia Capital, the global investment fund, has provided help to Chinese lottery operator 500.com, which was listed last year on the New York Stock Exchange. The market price of 500.com recorded an increase of 54% on its very first day on the NYSE.
pierwszymilion.forbes.pl

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Business of Football

April 28, 2014
Found a Friend

Found a Friend

The story of Playarena.pl is trivial. On one day in 2007, four students from the Wrocław University of Economics were about to play football, however, they had no people to play with. They decided to establish a website, which would allow unknown people to get together and arrange a match completely for free. It turned out that no one in Poland had come up with the idea of bringing together football enthusiasts before and no one had spotted the business potential in it. Fortunately, the founders of Playarena were so motivated that within six years it became one of the largest sports initiative in the country. Today, the website has 150,000 active members and the company started making money after four years. The owners Wojciech Dudek and Piotr Popiel, came up with the idea of holding free competitions, and were later joined by a third owner, Jarosław Bojarski, in 2011. They made the money to finance the company during their holidays. “We needed around PLN 10,000, PLN 15,000 to start Playarena.pl,” says Wojciech Dudek, chairman of the company. “Establishing the website was the easiest of the challenges facing us. Finding the right kind of business partnership and pursuing an effective marketing strategy were far more complicated. It was hard to convince people to cooperate with a new startup,” Dudek adds. Initially, their marketing strategy was rather irregular. When the founders were not studying, they were riding around on their bikes around Wrocław’s playgrounds with posters and banners. In 2007, social media in Poland was just starting so they concentrated on advertising outside. To begin with, the Playarena team needed over a year talking to people in the field to realise that they could meet players’ needs and provide a useful local service.
pierwszymilion.forbes.pl

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Poland Resigns from Euro 2020

April 27, 2014
Tough Call for Boniek

Tough Call for Boniek

Euro 2020 will not be staged in Poland. The Polish Football Association (PZPN) has withdrawn its candidacy from the pan-European football event. During a press conference in Warsaw, the head of the PZPN, football legend Zbigniew Boniek said that Poland will not apply to co-host the European championships. UEFA is planning to organise a tournament in thirteen stadiums across Europe. Recently, the Czech Football Association also withdrew. “We have decided to pull out of Euro 2020 for several reasons. First of all, our application would require a large number of guarantees and hard work and even then Poland stood little chance of being chosen to host a match at Euro 2020. On the other hand, I can say that instead of Euro 2020 we may be able to organize another event, which could even be bigger than Euro 2012. I will be able to announce the details in around six to seven months,” said Boniek.
sport.dziennik.pl

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Boruc Makes Fool of Himself

November 25, 2013
Oops!

Oops!

Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc is in the news again. British commentators were ruthless in their opinion of the Pole. In the 22nd minute of the Arsenal-Southampton match the Pole began to dribble with the ball while Olivier Giroud powered down on him. Boruc lost the ball, and his team conceded a goal. The game ended 2-0 to Arsenal, Giroud scored again from the penalty spot in the 87th minute. “A moment of madness by Boruc,” according to a Daily Telegraph journalist. “Farce,” according to a Goal.com reporter. The Guardian report was the most ruthless, they tweeted: “Boruc confirms the words of Ruud Gullit, a goalkeeper is a goalkeeper because he doesn’t know how to play football”. This is a another Boruc setback that has occurred in recent weeks. The other Polish goalkeeper, Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny, received moderately positive reviews largely due to the fact that Southampton did not really force him to make any difficult saves. Goal.com gave him a solid three stars out of five. Artur Boruc, on the other hand, was dubbed anti-hero of the match.
sport.dziennik.pl

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Spurs Want to Help Legia

August 26, 2013
Vlad, Not the Impaler

Vlad, Not the Impaler

England’s Tottenham Hotpur are pleading with Romania’s Steaua București not to play Spurs transfer target, defender Vlad Chiriches against Legia Warszawa in Tuesday’s second leg Champions League qualifier to protect him from injury. The London outfit and their boss André Villas-Boas wish to acquire the Romanian for around €9.5 million euro. The defender did not play in the first leg of the qualifier in Bucharest as he was injured and Spurs are worried that he could get injured in what will probably be a feisty encounter in Warsaw. However, Steaua București’s coach Laurențiu Reghecampf wishes to play Vlad from the very start of the game. 23-year-old Vlad Chiriches is regarded as one of Romania’s brightest prospects. If the transfer goes ahead, it will be one of the highest transfers fees paid for a Romanian player for years. Vlad would make £800,000 a year.
Wirtualna Polska

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Robert Lewandowski – World Player of the Week

May 1, 2013
Goal Machine

Goal Machine

The editors of Goal.com, comprising journalists from around the world, regularly choose the world’s best footballer of the week. This time Robert Lewandowski is this weeks’ winner after his incredible performance in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. “It was an absolutely extraordinary week for Robert Lewandowski. His performance is one of the greatest individual performances in Champions League history,” according to Goal.com. Last Wednesday ‘Lewa’ scored four goals giving Borussia Dortmund victory against Real Madrid at Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion), thereby becoming the first player to score four goals against the ‘kings’ of European football. “Not only has Lewandowski proved to have the instincts of a killer, but he also demonstrated his great technical skills. The third goal was unbelievable. No one can doubt his world-class abilities,” according to Goal.com. The journalists emphasise that ‘Lewa’ is already being chased by Europe’s leading football clubs. “Bayern Munich and Manchester United both want him. However, his price has rocketed in the last few days thanks to his performance at Signal Iduna Park which will be part of football folklore for years to come.” Not only that but Borussia together with Lewandowski will be in the Champions League final on the 25th May at Wembley.
Interia.pl

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Victory of Polish Patriotism

June 22, 2012
Smuda to Blame?

Smuda to Blame?

Poland’s football players did not live up to the nation’s expectations. However, journalist Dominik Zdort regards Euro 2012 “a splendid time for patriotic emotions.” The Rzeczpospolita journalist said on TOK FM radio that, “I have watched masses of Poles in white-and-red T-shirts with pleasure. It’s a positive awakening.” He added, “Such excitement is necessary for the country to feel a certain togetherness.” It is interesting that Dominik Zdort does not belong to the group of journalists heavily criticising Polish manager Franciszek Smuda. He stated, “I like this young team. I would not dismiss coach Smuda either, even though he made mistakes in  tactics.” Being a political journalist, Zdort could not resist adding a political twist: “This national team is politically pluralistic. There were hints that Robert Lewandowski is a Civic Platform (PO) supporter and Kuba Błaszczykowski is pro Law and Justice (PiS), but they managed to play together very well.” According to the Rzeczpospolita journalist, Franciszek Smuda and PM Donald Tusk are alike with regard to their… reluctance to make changes. Also, Marek Zając from TVP (Polish TV) shares the opinion that Euro 2012 is a chance for Poles to demonstrate their patriotism. However, he has does not agree with Zdort with regards to the team. “We lost mentally. I blame the manager, Franciszek Smuda, who was supposed to motivate his team to fight from the beginning right until the end.” He added, “Remember how Smuda announced before the Greece match that if the game was looking like finishing a draw he would not throw players on to attack. Before the Russia game Smuda said that he would be satisfied with a draw. It now looks like this drawing attitude, and not playing for a win, backfired on Smuda.”

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Portuguese View of Euro

June 13, 2012
Nani Attacked

Nani Attacked

According to Portuguese and other international media, and despite negative publicity, the atmosphere accompanying Euro 2102 seems to be extremely friendly. Despite yesterday’s ugly scenes in Warsaw, foreign hooligans (rather than home-grown ones) seem to be causing the main problems. Record, Portugal’s most famous sports magazine, noted that Sunday’s scuffles between Croatian and Irish football fans ruined the whole event for many who made the journey to Poznań. It appeared that hooligans from both countries decided to confront each other even before the match started. Unfortunately, this had absolutely nothing to do with real sport. When summing up the first several days of Euro 2012, SIC Noticias mentioned the aggressive attitude of Russian fans toward security guards who were attacked in the Wrocław stadium, and as a result had to be taken to hospital. However, this incident was not the only one which drew international media attention. Other than the fighting in Warsaw, the Lisbon media reported, long before the start of the game between Russia and the Czech Republic, that  Russian supporters had decided to stir up trouble in one of Wrocław’s local bars. They were stopped by the police. However, as well as Russian fans, a small section of German fans caused embarrassment to themselves, when in Lvov, they were caught singing racist songs, setting fire to stadium seats, as well as making monkey chants every time Nani, the Portuguese football player born in Africa, had the ball.
wp.pl

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Under UEFA Rule

April 6, 2012
Ironic, isn't it?

Ironic, isn't it?

“In June, Poland will lose part of its sovereignty to UEFA in connection with Euro 2012,” according to Polityka. From 2005 Polish authorities have signed approximately 30 guarantees with UEFA, which, besides obligations to build stadia, sports centres and hotels also include guarantees to sell TV licenses and commercials, employ commercial areas in cities and even block TV broadcasts of matches in pubs and restaurants. “Some of the signed documents involve legal and financial guarantees, and by signing them Poland is obliged to change tax law, intellectual property rights, and public procurement regulations. All of these are being implemented to protect the economic interests of UEFA,” continues Polityka. Even though the tournament will be held in Poland and Ukraine, with both countries providing the necessary infrastructure, UEFA remains the sole organiser and can expect to make as much as €2.3 billion, including a €116 million net profit. Polityka also informs its readers that one of the major problems in the collaboration with the football organisation is its desire to create a monopoly especially over the sale of licenses. To illustrate, the organisation wants to sell TV rights, and even has a final say as to the conditions in regard to blocks of commercials accompanying the broadcasts. “The most visible ‘sign of UEFA domination over Poland’ will be in public areas, which will be filled with sponsors’ ads,” adds Polityka. Thanks to these guarantees, UEFA may also profit on match broadcasts in pubs and restaurants. According to the regulations, these broadcasts will be allowed only after the purchase of special licenses from the organisation (at a cost of between €35 and €65 per match). Even though the guarantees are restrictive, Poland has managed to re-negotiate some of them. Poland has managed to negotiate from UEFA a guarantee that the organisation will finance part of the costs of the installation of fan zones.
Onet.pl

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