Legends eyes Spanish opportunities with appointment of Iberia MD

Featured image credit: Legends

Premium experiences company Legends has furthered efforts to target the Spanish stadium market by appointing Jesus Bueno as managing director of Iberia.

Bueno joins Legends after 12 years at the NBA. He joined the North American basketball league in August 2010 as vice-president for NBA Europe, but since May 2014 has served as vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as managing director of NBA Spain. Prior to that he was executive director and secretary general of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) from December 2006 to August 2010.

In his new role, Bueno will oversee the development and implementation of Legends’ 360-degree services platform in Spain and Portugal. Legends’ data-driven solution for sports and entertainment organisations, venues and attractions is comprised of planning, sales, partnerships, hospitality, merchandise and technology solutions service divisions.

Mike Tomon, co-president and chief operating officer of Legends, said: “With our established business in Spain and well-found confidence in the market, the time is right for a further investment in infrastructure to underpin our commitment to the dynamic sporting landscape in Spain.

“Chus’ market expertise and deep industry experience will help us drive continued growth and lead a local team in Iberia that will provide world-class results leveraging our unique 360-degree service solution.”

Legends’ client base in Spain includes a wide-ranging partnership with LaLiga football club Real Madrid, leveraging the company’s platform to optimise the management of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

In May, Real sealed a €360m (£316.5m/$349.3m) deal with global investment firm Sixth Street and Legends for the formation of a new entity aimed at enhancing the non-football activities at the revamped Bernabéu.

The objective of the deal is to elevate the Bernabéu as a “unique venue and a worldwide benchmark” for leisure and entertainment. Real said the funds it receives can be invested across any of its activities, with Sixth Street acquiring the right to participate in the operation of certain new businesses of the Bernabéu for a 20-year period.

Legends will contribute its experience in the operation of large stadiums, attractions and event spaces to optimise the management of the Bernabéu. Sixth Street invested in a majority stake in Legends in January 2021.

Through the deal, a new company will be established to manage the Bernabéu, with Real to receive 70% of the proceeds from this venture and Sixth Street the remainder. Legends held an existing relationship with Real. The club in July 2020 teamed up with Legends to launch a programme that included a new flagship store at the Bernabéu.

The company has worked with Real since 2018, when it was appointed to provide strategic insight and guidance on optimising commercial opportunities during the redevelopment of the Bernabéu.

Legends is also working closely with several LaLiga clubs providing feasibility work to assist them in infrastructure investment decisions. There is increasing activity in the Spanish stadium market through the LaLiga Impulso investment vehicle, which places a heavy emphasis on football clubs improving their stadium infrastructure.

In March, Legends was appointed by Sevilla to assess the club’s stadium options. Legends has also been involved in the development of Atlético de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano, as well as the redevelopment project for Barcelona’s Camp Nou.