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Volume 20 No. 42
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Repucom continues aggressive expansion strategy

Paul Smith, Repucom’s global CEO, walked out of a boardroom in May after completing a months-long, tense contract negotiation with a key tech supplier. He was less than ecstatic.

“It wasn’t fun,” Smith said. “We both walked out feeling that neither of us got very close to what we wanted. Let’s say it finished in a one-all draw. But when we shook hands after the match, the guy said to me: ‘You know what the difference between you guys and everyone else is? You guys invest in the industry.’ I really take a lot of comfort in that.”

Global CEO Paul Smith leads Repucom’s global push.
Photo by: Marc Bryan-Brown
Smith can also take comfort that in only a few short years, Repucom has methodically built a global sports research juggernaut that can go head-to-head with more tenured competition such as London-based Populus, WPP Group’s Kantar Media, and Nielsen.

Repucom was founded in Sydney in 2004 and began operating in the U.S. in 2007. The company is now based in Stamford, Conn. Its global expansion accelerated in November 2010, when Repucom formed a strategic alliance with Cologne-based research and consulting firm Sport+Markt AG. That deal, and numerous since then, was financed by GF Capital Private Equity Fund, a New York-based private equity firm that took equity in the joint venture. Within months of the deal, Repucom acquired three fellow measurement shops: German-based IFM Sports; U.K.-based Sports Marketing Surveys; and Kansas City-based Image Impact.

Smith said securing the financial backing of the equity fund was the critical step toward creating a universal model for rights holders, brands, agencies and broadcasters in sports and entertainment to assess current and potential partnerships.

“We continue to be very acquisitive,” Smith said. “We’ve completed one acquisition this year [Australian sports consultancy Colgan & Co. was announced in July] and we have three more running as we speak, which will help us expand around the world. The key thing to us is that we are finding that, in general, the global acceptance of systems processes and methodologies is nearly complete.”

Latin America has been a key part of Repucom’s most recent global moves. After several years of researching the Latin American landscape, Repucom in the summer of 2012 formed a joint venture with Brazilian media research company IBOPE — the region’s equivalent of Nielsen — and acquired consultancy company Informedia, creating the biggest sports research footprint in that part of the globe. Those deals allowed the company to create, among other things, a tool similar to Repucom’s Sports24, its signature brand exposure measurement product in the U.S., which integrates Nielsen data into the company’s media valuation technology.

The Latin American strategy both blends and separates the old Repucom with the new Repucom.

“We were, and are still, the best logo counters in the business, hands down,” Smith said. “Bring on the competition and we’ll kick their ass all over town. But under our old model, there were soft markets that didn’t buy into media measurement. There are a number of markets in Asia, for example, that have quite soft actual media exposure values, but have a lot of other elements that play into the valuation model for sponsorship. The new Repucom model is a complete range of global services.”

This spring, the company announced the global expansion of the Davie-Brown Index, a celebrity awareness product launched in the U.S. in 2006 by Dallas-based The Marketing Arm and now operated by Repucom.

Another big win this year came when the company won FIFA’s social media measurement business despite not having a single client subscribing to that new service at the time of the bid. In April, Repucom agreed to incorporate social media analysis from Boston-based Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform into its client offering and secured similar partnerships with several other third-party vendors.

Finally, in October the company will open a 42,000-square-foot data analytics facility in Bangalore, India. The

The rendering shows Repucom’s planned India office.
Photo by: Repucom
facility will bring its number of employees worldwide to more than 1,400 in 20 offices.

The global expansion of its products sets a strong foundation for Repucom’s current portfolio of brands that use sports to market worldwide.

Coca-Cola, for example, has worked with Repucom in North America for several years to quantify the value of major athletic sponsorships, such as the NCAA and NBA. According to the soda giant, Coca-Cola uses Repucom to measure the quality and duration of sports fans’ exposure to sponsorship elements such as on-screen graphics, courtside signage and courtside branded assets such as cups and coolers.

Business with such blue-chip brands had paid off for Repucom, with Smith acknowledging that his company is profitable.

“We’re making money,” he said. “But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re known as being a ‘disruptive’ company and we’re going to continue to innovate, because it’s all about gathering and distributing the information in a different and better way.”

Repucom's major offices & select clients

The Americas
Stamford, Conn.; Charlotte; Sao Paulo; Vancouver
Key clients: NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA Tour, Madison Square Garden, Boston Red Sox, Miami Heat, U.S. Tennis Association, PGA of America, LPGA, USGA, Arizona Diamondbacks, Anaheim Angels, Washington Nationals, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Speedway Motorsports Inc., International Speedway Corp., Feld Motor Sports, Gatorade, Anheuser-Busch InBev, UPS, Geico, Coca-Cola, Mutual of Omaha, Callaway, BBVA Compass, Red Bull, Aon, EA Sports, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, Rede Globo, Itau Unibanco

London; Waterloo, Belgium; Paris; Cologne and Karlsruhe, Germany; Hilversum, The Netherlands; Milan; Barcelona, Spain
Key clients:
FIFA, UEFA, Barclays English Premier League, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain football clubs, Etihad Stadium, Lawn Tennis Association, PGA European Tour, Volkswagen, Red Bull, Unilever Schweiz, HSBC, Deutsche Football League, Just Marketing International, Rolex, LG Electronics, FedEx, BMW, UBS, BSkyB, Unilever, HSBC, Eredivisie (highest division of professional football in the Netherlands), Puma

Middle East
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Key clients:
Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, International Cricket Council

Australia/New Zealand
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia
Key clients: National Rugby League, Tennis Australia, International Cricket Council, Australian Football League, V8 Supercars Australia, Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Australian Rugby Union, SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby), ANZ Championships, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Stadiums Queensland, Victoria Racing Club, Bupa Australia, AAMI insurance, Foster’s Group, National Australia Bank, Lion Nathan National Foods, Orica Greenedge, Brown-Forman, Pernod Ricard

Singapore; Bangalore, India; Tokyo
Key clients:
Asian Tour (golf), SingTel Optus, Board of Control for Cricket in India, Idea Cellular, Dentsu, IMG, Epson, Asian Football Confederation, J League (highest division of professional football in Japan), Bridgestone, Tokyo Dome, Mindshare, Mediacom, Hero MotoCorp

Key clients: South African Rugby Union, Cricket South Africa, Kaizer Chiefs F.C., Absa Bank, Investec Bank, MTN, Comrades Marathon, The Sharks (rugby), SA Breweries, Nedbank

Source: Repucom