POSTED: September 15th 2009

Q&A: Juan Antonio Villanueva - putting Madrid's personal touch into 2016 media relations

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA/LONDON: Juan Antonio Villanueva, who is manager, international communications, for Madrid 2016 has talked exclusively to about his experiences on working with bid communications and Olympic media worldwide.

What was the project attraction for you in taking up the media position on the bid? 
The Olympics is the biggest sporting and cultural event on earth so the opportunity to lead communications for the bid was an irresistible challenge.   But, above all, what most attracted me was the possibility of helping the city of Madrid achieve the Olympic and Paralympic Games, fulfilling the dreams of so many people.

How many people are on your media team?

There is the core media team within Madrid 2016 which also draws on considerable communications talent and experience from the wider marketing and sports team. We also work with international agencies such as Bell Pottinger, based in London and Madrid, our public relations agency, our advertising agency Sra Rushmore, our media and television production agencies, and the many other diverse and expert communications consultants. So the overall number is around 40.        

Do you work on a different time schedule and what part of the world is your main focus?

The Olympic movement is global so yes we have to work to different time zones. There are a number of major events around the world which our teams have attended and of course work to local times. So for example we have had our media teams working out of Acapulco, Denver, Istanbul, Beijing, Bali and New Zealand. No part of the world is more important than any other to our bid          
The Madrid did has been focused on the theme of Games with a Human Touch and on keeping the bid simple and straightforward. How have you tried to promote this concept through media?

This hasn’t been complicated because everyone in the team firmly believes in the concept that all people can become enriched through sport. What is more, any journalist who knows Madrid well knows the passion for sport that exists here. Perhaps, the most challenging thing has been to express so many sentiments in just one paper or one video.
As a former broadcaster and journalist – how have you strived to make the media’s job easier?

As I have previously worked as a journalist, I know what the media needs. We always aim to provide journalists with everything they need and help them in their work as much as we can. We look to provide interesting, visual and appealing news, making sure all the news, by any means possible, reaches journalists, in the way that is easiest for them - whether it is via the internet, satellite videos or press releases and through other initiatives which we continue to put in place.
How have you tried to take a very personal approach to working with the media?

We have a close relationship with the media here in Spain and have made many new friends internationally. We have tried to  have as much 'face-to-face' contact as we can when attending events around the world and our partner agency Bell Pottinger is also in daily contact with a wide range of international journalists.
What is your favourite part of the bid to highlight?

There have been so many great moments so it is difficult to single one out. If I had to name one it would be welcoming so many International media to Madrid for the visit to our city by the IOC evaluation commission and hearing so many positive comments from them. Of course I am hoping the best moment of all is yet to come, when Madrid is announced as host city on October 2 in Copenhagen.
What advice would you pass on to anyone thinking of working on media for an Olympic bid?

Enjoy it. It will be an exhilarating experience and you will never work harder or have so much fun.

Keywords · Juan Antonio Villanueva · Madrid 2016 · Olympic Bid

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