The Band & Brown Group has launched a specialist sports agency to compete in the £390 million sports sponsorship market.

Playmaker starts trading with two major accounts, the football sponsorship interests of both Nationwide Building Society and One 2 One, already on board.

The new agency will be jointly managed by Band & Brown’s Rowan Andrews and David Piper from the Group’s recently acquired Larkspur.

Andrews, as Group Account Director at Band & Brown, led one of the agency’s consumer PR divisions and has handled a number of sports related accounts including supporting AXA’s FA Cup sponsorship. Piper, a former footballer, headed Larkspur’s sponsorship team and previously managed the Coca-Cola Cups in both England and Scotland while at Karen Earl Limited.

Playmaker will provide two key services: sponsorship management and public relations. Each will be exploited to extract value from the sponsorship, with PR used to reach a broader audience including sports fans and non-fans alike.

Rowan Andrews said: ‘There has never been a better time to be involved in sport. Britain’s magnificent performance at the Olympics has marked a resurgence of sporting excellence in the UK which will further boost the sponsorship market.

‘At Playmaker we realise that Sport does not stand alone, it impacts on every other aspect of our lives beyond the game itself. The Playmaker concept – which mixes classic brand-building PR with skilled rights exploitation – can unlock the power of the sponsorship, reach beyond just the sports pages and take the brand to other areas of the media. It is a compelling proposition for brands that wish to maximise the value of their sponsorship.’

David Piper said: ‘Sponsorship is now an important part of the marketing mix. Most sponsors are no longer interested in simple patronage but instead are looking to involve themselves in mutually beneficial partnerships with rights holders.

‘Playmaker’s role will be to add significant value through the management of these partnerships and their subsequent sponsorship properties.’

Playmaker will buy-in specialist e-marketing and media relations services from iJack – the Band & Brown Group’s on-line offering – which will give the company a key strategic advantage in a market that has seen an explosion of sports marketing on the internet.

Playmaker is based at Band & Brown’s Group headquarters in Camden, north London.

For further information or a photograph, please contact:
Rowan Andrews or David Piper
Playmaker Communications Limited
020 7813 9000