GroupM eyes prize, rolls out sports sponsorship unit

By AdNews | 17 September 2013
Rob Smith, SponsorCom boss

GroupM continues to diversify. As the agency model shape shifts, sports is a good bet. The WPP-owned company has today launched a sports rights and sponsorship division with the Football Federation Australia (FFA) as marquee partner.

The aim is to make more money for sports bodies and take a cut for putting brands in front of millions of loyal eyeballs across all platforms.

SponsorCom will operate across all four GroupM media agencies with the remit of improving the revenue, profile and financial stability of sporting bodies in Australia by identifying or monetising existing and creating new assets.

Services will include broadcast rights negotiations; media rights (ancillary digital platform rights); major sponsorship strategy; contract evaluation; supporting sponsorship sales; licensing and merchandise management; talent management; and a consultancy service.

Rob Smith will head up the SponsorCom unit. The former lawyer-turned-player-manager-turned salesman has a decade of sports management experience. GroupM has hired him from Sports & Entertainment Ltd (SEL).

“The business of sport is expanding rapidly, but not all codes or stakeholders are keeping pace with the changing influences and drivers of the industry – or, importantly, monetising the full value of their assets,” GroupM Chairman & CEO John Steedman said.

“SponsorCom will help Australian sporting bodies navigate the often complex world of sponsorship, media rights and related areas through an intelligent advisory service. With his immense experience and considerable commercial acumen, Rob is the perfect person to steer the launch of this new service.”

Smith added: “SponsorCom will deliver an unparalleled offering for sports right holders, individual sports people, traditional and new media broadcasters and, most importantly, brands. SponsorCom will sit at the point where all these parties intersect, providing a unique and exciting platform from which to create value for everyone.”

SponsorCom launches with Football Federation Australia (FFA) on board for the sole purpose of major sponsorship sales to GroupM Australia clients.

"We’ve worked with GroupM previously and are excited to be the inaugural partner of the SponsorCom business. As the world gets smaller, football gets bigger and this partnership will continue to connect the world game with the corporate community." FFA CEO David Gallop said.

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