GroupM introduces sports marketing division

Less than one month after launching its content production division Motion Entertainment, GroupM Canada has launched another specialty division called Sports & Live. It will create and execute sports programs and sponsorships for clients across its EssenceMediacom, Mindshare and Wavemaker networks.

The media services company describes Sports & Live as a partnership and brand engagement division providing advertisers with “impactful, multi-platform sports marketing programs.” It is led by executive vice-president Jim Kozak, a sports and sponsorship veteran who, prior to joining GroupM, led Olympic sales and marketing for CBC Television and also served as director of consumer promotions with Kraft Foods Canada.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve worked across agencies and within clients, and this opportunity feels like the sweet spot for my professional experiences,” said Kozak. “At my core, I love to create and mobilize sports marketing programs that break through the saturated media landscape. Though it’s challenging to get consumers’ attention these days, it’s so rewarding when a brand breaks through to make a lasting impact.”

The Sports & Live division will combine GroupM’s investment and content capabilities to secure and develop sports marketing programs at a time of rapid growth for sports. According to GroupM data, North America’s sports sponsorship market has seen year-over-year growth of 9.3% since 2020.

“We have seen significant growth in this space over the last few years so this move to formalize the offering and invest in its growth is a testament to the opportunity and to the team’s ability to deliver outstanding sports and live experiences to our clients,” said GroupM Canada CEO Kevin Johnson in a release.

“Live events, especially sports, have an incredible level of fandom and passion that allows brands to engage consumers in a two-way dialogue,” said Kozak. “This expertise allows all agencies and teams across GroupM to add effective and meaningful value to our clients’ marketing plans.”

While sports media and programming have been a key part of GroupM’s global offering, Kozak said that Sports & Live will enable clients to create multi-platform sports marketing programs specifically tailored to the Canadian market. “We’re currently in conversations with clients across categories to discuss how they can elevate bespoke sports partnerships with this new offering,” he said.

Chris Powell