Sportsworld Media Group plc, the international sports media company, today announced the formation of SSM Sportsworld, to represent its European and Latin American interests.

The creation of SSM Sportsworld represents a commitment by the Group to delivering marketing-led, sports-focussed communications under a single international brand umbrella.

Stuart Sawyer, currently Managing Director of SSM Freesports, has been appointed Chairman of SSM Sportsworld, responsible for overall strategy, business development and acquisitions.

Peter Christiansen, formerly Managing Director of Gem, part of the GMG Endemol Group, has been appointed Managing Director of SSM Sportsworld. Within GMG Endemol, Peter was responsible for establishing Gem as the commercial arm to exploit such hits as Ready Steady Cook and the The Pepsi Chart Show.

Peter has been at the forefront of developing prime-time hits using innovative financing structures and production techniques. Peter Christiansen : ‘Sportsworld has shown tremendous growth over the last 12 months, and given the way TV is evolving and media markets are fragmenting, Sportsworld looks ideally placed to continue its growth because it has proved it is able to communicate with core customers – namely major sponsors as well as broadcasters.’

Shaun Whatling, currently Communications Director of SSM Freesports, will be a Director of SSM Sportsworld and assume a Group Communications portfolio. Jonathan O’Neil, presently Head of PR at Sport England, will assume the position of Head of PR for SSM Sportsworld. David Grundlingh joins SSM Sportsworld from Octagon as Head of Business Development.

SSM Sportsworld will apply SSM Freesports’ multi-platform approach to lifestyle and niche communications to more mainstream properties such as cricket and tennis, and to exploiting Group IP rights with entertainment-based sports programming.

The new company will use the identifier – ‘360s Media Group’ below its SSM Sportsworld logo to convey its distinctive approach to brand communications.

Stuart Sawyer, Chairman of SSM Sportsworld : ‘360s for us means that we are able to cover every angle of media communications, as there is no longer a single traditional definition for consumer communication. We also wanted something that represented the spirit of innovation and free-thinking that characterises sports like snowboarding and surfing – and a 360s is a popular but demanding move in many Freesports, which we see as relevant.’

Shaun Whatling, Director of Communications at SSM Freesports is to take a broader role, responsible for communication at Group level for parent company Sportsworld Media Group plc. ‘The landscape is moving quickly – there is a tremendous challenge ahead to map out and communicate our unique philosophy and vision’.

Three of the Group’s four independently operating European companies…

  • SSM Freesports – the world’s leading agency in new generation sports,
  • Sports and Outdoor Media – which owns signage rights to some of the UK’s and the world’s leading stadia, and holds marketing rights for the English Cricket Board and other sports properties,
  • Netsports – the owners and operators of Dream League, the official fantasy football partner for Euro 2000,
  • … will soon be integrated in a single London office designed to accelerate the business synergies which exist in terms of brand and broadcaster relations and services : Pro-Active Television, the international sports production and distribution company, will retain its production base in Wiltshire.

    These companies have already begun to produce concrete results in terms of cross-Group projects :

  • SSM Freesports and Pro Active have reached agreement to guarantee extended airtime for both SSM Freesports and Pro Active properties,
  • SOMI and SSM Freesports are offering an extended range of brand communication services to existing SOMI clients, and creating fully integrated communications packages as part of a business development,
  • Netsports has recently extended its Dream League concept to the Tour de France, and the SSM Sportsworld broadcast sales team is working with broadcasters across Europe on a range of concepts incorporating Dream League technology.
  • These four companies, together with a brief to SSM Sportsworld to acquire like-minded businesses in continental Europe, will significantly lift the Group’s European presence in the business areas of TV production and distribution, sponsorship and IP rights-ownership.

    Stuart Sawyer Chairman, SSM Sportsworld: ‘We knew when we set out 6 years ago we were building something special – that we were creating a new market. We still feel the same way today – it is a part of our unique culture, not only a business focus but a way to think about work. SSM Sportsworld will continue that mission but apply what we’ve learned in Freesports more broadly. Combined with other talents joining the Group, we are creating a powerful new approach – a 360s approach – to sport and communication’.

    For Further Information Please Contact:
    Shaun Whatling
    tel:+44(0) 410 76 34 16
    Gerry Dawson
    tel: +44 (0) 20 8394 5838