SBJ/May 12-18, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Chance to work with Ross, Higgins draws new leader to Insignia

Bob Brennfleck, the new president and CEO of New York marketing agency Insignia Sports & Entertainment, said the opportunity to work with the company’s leadership and on its range of projects was what attracted him to the job after having spent the past 12 years with the New York Jets.

“It’s an opportunity to work with Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, who aim high and do everything with class,” said Brennfleck, 46. “I loved my time with the Jets and left on great terms. The chance to lead Insignia was just too good to pass up.”

Insignia is part of RSE Ventures, the sports, entertainment and technology outfit led by Miami Dolphins owner Ross and former Jets executive Higgins. Brenn-fleck and Higgins were colleagues at the Jets, where Brennfleck most recently was vice president of partnership and media sales. He resigned last month to take the position with Insignia. His first day in his new job was May 5.

“Bob is one of the most driven leaders I know,” said Higgins, who was with the Jets from 2004 to 2012, the last four years as executive vice president of business operations. “He brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the table.”
At Insignia, Brennfleck replaces Peter Murray, the former William Morris Endeavor and NFL sales and marketing executive. Murray has taken a senior position at Under Armour, where he will focus on global brand development and marketing (SportsBusiness Journal, May 5-11).

One of Insignia’s top properties is the Guinness International Champions Cup, the summer soccer tournament featuring eight of the world’s most recognized teams, including Real Madrid and Manchester United — clubs that will play Aug. 2 at sold-out Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. This year marks the second year of the tournament, which is run by Relevent Sports, also a division of RSE Ventures. In addition to Ann Arbor, matches will be played in New York, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

According to Brennfleck, event organizers are working to stage a few tournament matches next summer in Asia.

For this year’s event, which runs July 24 to Aug. 4, Insignia recently closed on a pair of sponsorship deals. MasterCard/Citi Private Pass has signed as the official credit card of the Champions Cup. (MasterCard holds 75 percent of Citi’s credit card business.) Also, Pepsi is on board as the official soft drink of the tournament. Pepsi plans to use the tournament as a platform for the relaunch of Wild Cherry Pepsi.

Both deals are new sponsorships for this year’s tournament.

“We hosted a lot of prospective partners at the first ICC last summer to show them what it’s all about, and we’re proud that companies were impressed enough to want to be our partners,” said Matt Grandis, vice president of corporate partnerships and media sales for Insignia. “We expect to be closing deals in a few new categories before the tournament starts in two months.”


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