Sport Endorse Platform Links Talent With Clients
Sports management agency Sport Endorse is using technology to bring sports talent and brands together
There’s a distinctive frisson at the office of Sport Endorse in Dublin. It’s a corporate environment like many others, yet the conversations are laced with an excitement that is infectious. This is sport, and in November conversations centred on the WBO middleweight title bout in Boston between Donegal’s Jason Quigley, a Sport Endorse client, and Demetrius Andrade.
“It’s not like a normal job,” says Tralee-born co-founder Trevor Twamley. “Sport thrills you one day and disappoints the next, and the margins between success and failure can be tiny. It’s a cliché, but we’re sports fans too, and we get caught up in the tension as much as our athletes and our brands.”
Earlier this year, that excitement was linked to the fortunes of Team Qhubeka ASSOS in the Tour de France, the world’s largest annual sporting event. Later this month, it’s closer to home, as the FAI Cup Final beckons for client St Patrick’s Athletic.
Covid was cruel to those involved in sport, but fellow co-founder Declan Bourke draws positives from lockdown. “It gave us breathing space to progress our technology, and we’re in a better place because of that. More broadly, I think it brought into sharp focus how fundamental sport is to our everyday lives, be it as participants, as parents supporting from the sideline, or as armchair fans.
“The period strengthened our conviction that sports marketing will claim a greater share of the marketing mix in the future, and there is plenty of data to support that conviction. In today’s cluttered advertising environment, businesses struggle to cut through with meaningful brand values. Tapping into the integrity and passion of sport and elite athletes can achieve this. It’s not just the preserve of large blue-chip brands – more and more SMEs are recognising the use of sportspeople as a key marketing lever.”
How do brands capitalise on sporting talent? Sponsorships can range from something as simple as brand mentions in online posts, to a sports clinic for customers and staff, to fronting a full television campaign.
“Contra deals, such as the provision of a product or service, with little or no monies being exchanged, also play a roll,” Bourke adds. “This makes a sponsorship more accessible where budgets are tight.” He cites a recent agreement between clothing brand Remus Uomo and cyclist Nicolas Roche as an example.
Never envisioned as a ‘me-too’ agency, Sport Endorse looked to technology as a game-changer in a market where transaction values vary from low to high.
In development for two years, the Sport Endorse platform and app enable talent and brands to come together online and transact directly. “The benefits are twofold. The platform opens doors to commercial opportunities for both local and international talent. At the same time, it enables SME brands to source brand ambassadors in a way that is cost- and time-effective,” Bourke explains.
Launched in late 2020, the Sport Endorse online platform already showcases over 1,000 athletes from 67 sports, including 59 Olympians and 26 World Champions. Hundreds of deals have been realised to date, among them a mini-activation campaign by Specsavers where children interviewed both Lee Keegan from Mayo and Frank Burns from Tyrone, just before the All-Ireland Final.
The platform also presents a scalable opportunity for the Sport Endorse founders, and with it the potential to attract significant investment. “We’re busy engaged in another round of funding that would help us on the journey to becoming a genuine global player,” explains Twamley. “It’s lots of work with plenty of knocks and uncertainty along the way, but hey, that’s sport!”