Taking The Plunge

Author: Robert Wadsworth

In November 2016 my business partner and I stepped out of our roles at one of the leading sports brands to set up our own agency. 

It was a year earlier, almost to the day, when returning from a business trip in Turin that we decided to explore and piece together what an agency might look like, were we to go it alone.

Collectively we had chalked up almost twenty years of experience across commercial brokerage (global sponsorship/ licensing/ broadcast partnerships) and partnership activation in conjunction with the world's leading football properties, so we felt confident that we had a strong blend of perspectives and insights to offer brands and rights holders as they shaped their future investments and partnerships.

At the heart of our rationale to embark upon a fresh start was the desire to build and grow our own company. We wanted to apply our own ideas in our own way, across a broader base of opportunities and sectors. Above all we wanted to take our skill sets outside of an established company and see if we had what it takes to use them effectively in an independent capacity.

The twelve month period of due diligence was akin to 'walking the plank' in that there was a great expanse of attainable opportunity shimmering in front of us but as we edged down the 'plank' it quickly became apparent that the timing of our 'jump' was going to determine the quality of the wave we caught, and ultimately the early direction of the company. 

We chose chose to 'jump' at the end of November since the festive period signals the unofficial wind down of the calendar year, allowing us to seed out our new venture with our network in a more relaxed and informal setting, and in the process tee up a host of meetings for the front end of the new year so we could hit the ground running. The timing of our departure in no way disadvantaged our previous employer which was important to us, so while there is never a 'right time' to start a new venture we felt comfortable with the timeframe we chose. 

Taking the plunge was completely liberating. While the process of stepping out on your own isn't without trepidation, the act of physically leaving our old roles meant that the pent up anxiety and anticipation dissipated, allowing for the excitement of getting stuck into our new world to kick in.

Five months in and we are partnering with leagues, clubs, brands, tech companies and agencies across a variety of opportunities. We are enjoying the depth of projects that are in the market and the challenge of coming up with solutions that contribute to bringing them to life.

With that in mind, it is with great pleasure that we share with you one of the projects that we recently finished working on. We partnered with McCann London to sign and activate Marcus Rashford and Willian Borges da Silva to appear in the latest Global XBOX LIVE ad campaign.

Watch the ad here.

The ad campaign launched last Friday across XBOX digital channels, with support from both players on social media. We hope you enjoy it and please let us know what you think.

The hard work goes on as we continue to support our existing partners and explore new opportunities, but as we pause for just a second or two to reflect on our journey so far, we would like to say a big thank you for all of the generous support, advice and guidance that we have received to date from our family, friends and professional network. Without it our start could have been slower and it underscores the importance listening, sharing and striving for constant improvement.

Wishing you all continued success in your ongoing endeavours, whether they be personal or professional, and we look forward to hearing all about them.

Robert Wadsworth is Director and Co-founder of Digital Sports Mgmt.  You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. For all business enquiries please email us.

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Thomas Henderson