Jan Katzoff, former GMR head of global sports and entertainment, has rejoined the sports business, this time teaming up with Olympics marketing titan Terrence Burns.
Katzoff has accepted a position as exclusive senior consultant to Engine Shop’s global division, which Burns founded in February when he sold his personal consultancy to Engine Shop, part of the Bruin Sports Capital portfolio.
The two, along with Burns’ deputy Hye-Young Cuddy, are pursuing clients now with the hopes of advising them on their sponsorship strategy for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and the 2026 U.S.-Canada-Mexico World Cup. Sales for the Olympics are already underway, and FIFA will soon reveal more about its sponsorship plans.
“There was all of a sudden this opportunity with two people I’ve known for a very long time, and having watched what George [Pyne] was developing with Bruin and knowing David [Abrutyn] from his time at IMG, the more interesting it got,” Katzoff said. Pyne is founder and CEO of Bruin, while Abrutyn is a partner.
Under the terms of Katzoff’s engagement, he retains the freedom to continue his work as a film executive producer, but has promised his sports consulting work exclusively to Engine Shop. He’s produced three films since leaving GMR in early 2016. A non-compete deal with GMR parent Omnigon expired in April.
“This is a big deal for us,” Burns said. “Jan ran a really big shop for a long time, and if he wanted to do this by himself, or with anybody he really wants to, he could. So we feel very fortunate to have him.”
Burns said the combination with Katzoff fills a gap in his résumé. Burns spent much of the 1990s in brand marketing at Delta Air Lines working on the 1996 Atlanta Games, but more recently his career has focused on advising Olympic bid groups in places like Almaty, Kazakhstan; Pyeongchang, South Korea; and Beijing.
“He’s kind of like me, but he’s done a lot more deals on the brand side than I have so it’s really complementary,” Burns said.
Katzoff and Burns are hitting the market together, dividing up target brands between themselves.
The two first did business together while Burns was at Delta, when he hired Katzoff’s SportsMark to advise on the Atlanta activation, but they then went their separate ways. A chance meeting in Sante Fe, N.M., last February — Burns was on vacation and Katzoff was spending the winter there — led to this new era.
Engine Shop’s global sports division is coming together just as the Olympic industry enters a period of potentially profound changes. The International Olympic Committee is still in renewal talks with six worldwide sponsors, and the entire U.S. Olympic Committee portfolio will expire in 2020. Meanwhile, the LA28 sales team is setting up shop with hopes to sell $2.5 billion in sponsorships.
In the background, there’s Calgary’s attempts to land the 2026 Winter Olympics, which would give North America its third major global sporting event in just under 30 months. They hope the turnover leads to new opportunities for agencies, too. “It’s the decade of global sport in America for the next 10 years,” Burns said.