Grace to head up media and sport in EMEA as part of YouTube reshuffle
By Tariq Saleh
YouTube, the Google-owned video streaming giant, has promoted Tomos Grace to head up media and sport in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of a leadership reshuffle within its sports division, Sportcal can exclusively reveal.
Grace has spent the last six years as head of sport EMEA at YouTube and will be replaced internally by Rob Pilgrim, who is preseently responsible for the platform’s sports partnerships.
In his new role, Sportcal understands Grace will be overseeing both the media and sports divisions across the three geographic regions, taking on additional responsibilities for output across TV and film, news and kids.
It represents Grace’s second promotion at YouTube after he was previously elevated from head of sport in the UK to be the lead across the EMEA territories.
During his time with the internet streaming service, he has been part of a team which has built up its live sports offering, which has included free-to-air rights to show the final of the Uefa Champions League, European soccer’s elite clubs competition, in the UK in recent years in an agreement with pay-television broadcaster and domestic rights-holder BT Sport.
In addition, he also helped secure a deal with another pay-TV operator, Sky, to show highlights of England’s Premier League on YouTube, as well as working on projects around the Fifa World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Grace has been with Google for nine years, spending his first three years with the internet giant as strategic partner development manager for sport EMEA.
He has significant experience in the media rights space having previously held roles with pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport and Canal Plus, the French pay-TV broadcaster.
Pilgrim, who will report to Grace, will step up to the head of sport role after spending almost four years handling sports partnerships for YouTube.
During that time, he has worked on many sports deals including the recent agreement with motor racing’s Formula 1 to live-stream the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany last month.
This marked YouTube’s first-ever live broadcast of a Formula 1 race, which was shown free-to-air on the series’ official account as a digital exclusive in the home market, plus Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, in what was described as a first-of-its-kind initiative.
Pilgrim has been with Google for nine years and was previously responsible for high-profile brand deals, including with German sportswear giant Adidas.
Despite the reshuffle within its sports team, YouTube’s focus and strategy will not shift and it will aim to retain its status as one of the biggest players in the market offering sports highlights and additional non-live content.
YouTube will also continue to look at opportunities to work with its partners to broadcast more live premium content following its successful Formula 1 stream, which attracted 1.7 million viewers.
In an interview with Sportcal in May, Grace said YouTube was targeting more live sports broadcasts after the online video service proved to be a major platform for content of rights-holders in the absence of live sports during the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
For many rights-holders, YouTube was the go-to platform amid the Covid-19 outbreak with lengthier sports content rolled out on the service.
A feature on the growing demand for non-live content will appear in the next issue of the Sportcal Insight magazine, out in December.