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Q&A with James Durbin, CEO of Madison Sports Group

James Durbin


Q&A with James Durbin, CEO of Madison Sports Group

SRi’s Partner, Josie Lahey, recently sat down with the CEO of Madison Sports Group, James Durbin to discuss the organisation and the ambition for the Six Day Cycling Series in the Asia Pacific region.

CEO James Durbin

Josie Lahey: Please tell us about the Madison Sports Group and the global team based in Europe and the UK.
James Durbin:
Six Day Events are owned and operated by Madison Sports Group. Headquartered in London with offices in Germany and Spain, and we are looking to add Australia to that team. Madison Sports Group was founded in 2013 and during that time we have organised 12 Six Day events in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Mallorca. We are a lean operation and use contractors and agencies to supplement our core team, particularly as we get closer to the events.

JL: SRi are supporting the process in hiring a General Manager for Australia.  Can you tell us a about the team you are looking to build in the region?
JD:
We want our team in Australia to be a core part of MSG – not a satellite office. That means working alongside dedicated colleagues in London (and beyond) to create events in Australia that are recognisably ‘Six Day Series’ events, but have a local personality.
The culture of Madison Sports Group is one whereby our team is encouraged to share and communicate, but ultimately take responsibility for our own workflow.
The likelihood is that the GM will be predominantly working with agencies and freelancers initially in Australia, therefore the support and co-operation with London will be vital. 

JL: Can you tell us about the event and your vision and objectives for the series in Australia?
JD:
Six Day is a highly differentiated event, combining world class sport with world class entertainment. We have revamped the 140-year Six Day proposition for a modern day audience ensuring that wherever and however you are watching the event, be it; live at the venue, on TV or through our digital channels you get a great experience. By bringing Six Day Series to Australia, we want to create experiences for people to share in the joy of cycling.

JL: We hear you have attracted some big names in Cycling to compete. Who can we expect to see racing in Australia?
JD:
Spectators can expect to see the best of the best from the world of track and road cycling. In London last year 8-time World Champion, Cameron Meyer partnered with fellow Australian Callum Scotson to just pip 30-time Tour de France stage winner, Mark Cavendish and Olympic champion and Team Sky rider, Pete Kennaugh to the title. We pride ourselves on being able to showcase riders that are the best in the world and the best of the home nation.

JL: Where will the events be held in Australia? What sort of attendances and visitor numbers are you expecting?
JD:
Our events sell out. It is a ‘must-see’ event on the cycling calendar in Europe and we expect to see the same result in Australia. We are currently finalising the locations for the events which we will be announcing in May 2018.

JL: Madison Sports Group has reinvented a race which began back in 1878.  How are you bringing this event in to the 21st century whilst retaining its history and staying true to the sport?
JD:
The integrity of the sport is still a priority but as with many other sports, the way we now consume them differs and we need to adapt to that. Entertainment remains important but the length of the event is reduced; intensifying the action and making it an unmissable experience.

JL: Australia plays hosts to a plethora of world class sports and entertainment events.  How does the Six Day Series complete with these existing products in a packed calendar.  How will you get the bums on the Velodrome seats?
JD:
Australia has a long and prestigious history with Six Day Cycling; Tasmania’s Danny Clarke still holds the second most wins since records began. The enthusiasm and passion for cycling in Australia makes it a logical next step in expanding the Series. In 2017, Six Day Series was recognised by BT Sports Industry Awards for delivering  ‘Best Entertainment Experience’ for our London event and we want to bring that same high quality entertainment to Australian fans.

To find out more about the Six Days Series please check out this videoTo apply for the General Management position, please click here.