"Focusing on the present to shape the future"

Witnessing the technological evolution of TV and media over the last 30 years, Pilar Gancedo shares her story as a mother and professional

There is a stage in everyone's life when we always ask ourselves "why?". A simple question, but it is key to helping us discover the world. That curiosity is something which Pilar Gancedo has kept, turning it into a faithful companion in life, and allows her to make her work an adventure.

March 8th is a special day, with it highlighting the difficulties faced by many women across the globe, particularly within the workplace. In celebration of International Women’s Day, motogp.com is thrilled to bring you the story of Pilar Gancedo, the Director of Media Sales at Dorna Sports, a woman who has seen her family and the company she works for grow simultaneously, becoming a reference and a source of inspiration for many people.

Her first steps into the world of Journalism

"I was always fascinated by the world of television and I imagined myself working there", Pilar begins to tell us, "so I chose to study journalism because I have always liked reading and writing and I have always been a very curious person; I felt the need to know, to know." She combined her studies with internships in newspapers and television stations all over Spain until she got a scholarship to work at Televisión Española: "The same year I finished university, private television was born, and I was lucky enough to work at Antena 3 as a producer."

She soon left Barcelona for Madrid, where she would cover some big moments through history: "Those were fascinating years. I travelled with a journalist and a cameraman, together we covered European events, election campaigns all over Spain, we covered a couple of trips of the former Spanish president Felipe González, I was in the Gulf War and in terms of sports, I followed the Rally of Argentina where Carlos Sainz became World Champion and two basketball Final Four. In short, they were all interesting experiences."

In Pilar's story, her excellent knowledge of English has played an important role since her first experiences at Antena 3: "At that time, television managers did not speak English well, so I started to attend meetings to translate, but also to follow the management aspects of television, such as the purchase of rights."

Returning to her roots for a new chapter

Personal circumstances meant that Pilar longed for a return to Barcelona. A choice made out of personal necessity but made easier by her professional situation. It had become an office job, I no longer travelled. At the same time, an old friend and colleague, Sergi Sendra, now Head of Global Technology, proposed that I join Dorna as a producer."

In the interview with Manel Arroyo, Chief Commercial Officer, Pilar pointed out the value she could bring to the company: "I didn't know much about motorbikes at the time, but what they offered me was to communicate to the TV stations that had bought the rights to the Championship how they were going to receive the signal, prepare their accreditations, inform them of the schedules. So, during the interview, I explained that I knew all these aspects from the client's point of view and that they were offering me to be on the other side. I also liked the idea because I would be travelling and working in an international environment."

MotoGP™ and technology, a winning formula

"I started the job on a Monday and on Thursday of the same week I was in Jerez for a test. It was 1994, Dorna was still at the beginning of its history. At that time, during a test, we recorded the images on tape and then we had to find the nearest ingest point to send the material. During the Grand Prix, however, we had a satellite dish to send the signal to all the clients around the world."

Dorna Sports' first clients were public broadcasters and Pilar experienced the transition to commercial and then pay-TV: "Most sporting events have gone through that transition. The rights became more valuable because the end consumer pays to watch sport and, at the same time, has a much higher quality product and a clean product, without too much advertising."

A higher and cleaner product has meant that no expense is spared from Dorna, who have committed even further to bringing the best possible coverage available to fans at home. "So we decided to develop the system internally to offer the TV stations the signal from the OnBoard cameras, we hired a helicopter to offer aerial images and we developed new graphics from the information we were able to get from the bikes. All this has created a new experience for the fan, who can follow MotoGP™ from different points of view, being able to choose what to watch at any given moment through the app or the television itself. We started to work on exclusive content such as UNSEEN, where the cameras follow the riders while they are in the pits with their teams so that the viewers have the chance to feel part of that moment."

Discovering new worlds

Pilar is a proud mother of three, and when her first child was born in 1997, she decided to change her role within the company. Moving away from the production side of things, she now focuses on the sales of TV Rights and reducing her involvement in Grand Prix racing. Committed to learning on all fronts, privately and professionally, curiosity has been the main driving force behind her need to explore the unexplored.

"For me, reconciling work and family has been easy. I had a lot of support from my family and the company." In this phase, organisation was more important than ever, as was trust: "I looked for people who could help me raise my children and I trusted them. I think this made me an example for my children because I showed them that it is possible to reconcile work and family".

Looking back and having taken the risk to leave her home comforts, to returning to Dorna Sports, Pilar is one of the pioneers of the sport who have helped open the doorway to other professional women working in the same environment.

"At the end of the 90s there were still very few women in the paddock and I think that most of the time it was an advantage to be a woman with responsibilities in such a masculine world because, although this situation was surprising, especially for people with very different cultures to Europe, they always felt admiration for me."

Stop for a moment, look back and... smile

Taking stock of her many achievements, Pilar values the exclusivity of her work because it has allowed her to experience an infinite number of different realities: "We have faced the present trying to interpret in the best possible way the novelties that technology presented to us. The objective of Dorna Sports is to make races and show them through the media. So I know realities like Facebook, YouTube or TikTok from the beginning because we have always been committed to showing MotoGP™ through all platforms.

On the other hand, regarding the exponential growth of the company and the considerable increase of female professionals within the world of motorsport, Pilar is clear about the importance of this evolution: "I think that although there has not been an explicit policy that has facilitated the access of female professionals, there is awareness and new commitments in this sense. There are more and more women in the world of motorsport because there are more and more professionals who are prepared and interested in working in this environment."

Broadening her horizons is a value that Pilar has always strived to maintain, and feels it is crucial to the growth of the industry: "I believe that if you want to communicate to women, as well as to the new generations, it is important to have people with different experiences and backgrounds because this will be the resource that will allow you to reach an increasingly wider audience and I think it is important that there are more and more women involved in management positions".

Pilar’s career and life has dismantled preconceived notions about women in the workplace and can be an inspiration. A pioneer in the sport that led the way for others, she has reached the very top of the career ladder without sacrificing her time as a wife and mother, and vice versa. 

For us at motogp.com, the incredible successes of women within the sport we love deserve to be celebrated more than once a year. That’s why on the 8th of every month, since 2020, we bring you one of the stories of someone extraordinary.

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