SBJ/Jan. 17-23, 2011/Olympics

Olympic marketing vets to create agency

A group of a half-dozen Olympic marketers based throughout the world have coalesced to create a worldwide agency offering corporations and properties a range of services, from strategic guidance and negotiation support to activation planning and communications development.

The group, which will be known as Encompass International, is led by former International Olympic Committee executive Davis Butler, who managed the IOC’s sponsorship program from 2004 to 2010. He is joined by a number of former Olympic organizing committee executives, including Duffey Asher, Athens 2004’s legal department manager; Nevio Devidé, Torino 2006’s managing director of marketing and sponsorship; Andrea Shaw, Vancouver 2010’s vice president of sponsorship, sales and marketing; and Andreas Tsochantaris, Athens 2004’s marketing and sponsorship manager.

The network also includes associates with Olympic experience based in Beijing and Johannesburg. Those associates are Hong Li, a former IOC consultant who worked on Beijing 2008, and Robert Klein, a former executive at gaming company ISM, which is the official game licensee of the IOC.

Gerhard Heiberg, chairman of the IOC marketing commission, will act as an ambassador for the agency. What that will entail is not clear.

Each of the members of Encompass will operate an independent agency but will have access to the entire network of staff if a client needs it.

For example, should a corporate client in Brazil hire Butler to help with strategic development of a sponsorship program for the 2014 World Cup, Butler would use Shaw to develop a communications strategy, Devidé to build a corporate activation plan and Asher to review sponsorship contracts.

Butler said he put together Encompass International because he saw a need for a global sports marketing agency that had a diversity of expertise.

“We picked people who are trusted and the best in the world at what they do in different areas — servicing, deal negotiating, legal and property representation,” said Butler, Encompass International president. “We can deliver the whole package.”

Encompass International’s current clients are the IOC, the Sports Concussion Institute and a South African company.

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