In a pair of executive appointments, Discovery Communications looks to be signaling a more aggressive move into the European sports rights arena. Earlier this week, CEO David Zaslav said, “I don’t think there’s any stopping us outside the U.S.” Now, Discovery has implemented two execs to bolster its global sports expertise and strategy.
Jean-Thierry Augustin has been named President of Sports Strategy & Development in a newly created position at Discovery Networks International, and Peter Hutton has been appointed CEO of Eurosport. Augustin, who previously held the position of CEO at Eurosport, is based in Paris and will work closely with Discovery’s international leadership team and Hutton to create a compelling sports business development strategy that “utilizes sports as a game-changing asset and drives new growth globally,” Discovery said.
The company took a controlling stake in Eurosport in 2014 but up until now has not been one of the major hunters of prime rights. Hutton joins Eurosport from MP & Silva Group, where he was Co-CEO and oversaw a portfolio of rights that included the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Formula 1, Grand Slam tennis and Serie A football. As CEO of Eurosport, Hutton will oversee the negotiation of sports rights and lead Eurosport’s content strategy “to bring renewed focus to programming, production, promotion and platforms.”
Said JB Perrette, President of Discovery Networks International: “As we approach the one-year anniversary of Discovery’s acquisition of Eurosport in May, our focus is now on unlocking the full value of our must-have sports content for the entire Discovery Communications portfolio to benefit our advertisers, affiliates, audiences and shareholders around the world.”