“The sports sponsorship model is broken”
“The sports sponsorship model is broken.”
That’s according to Jeremy Thompson, CEO of caytoo – the sports intelligence platform which innovates the way that athletes, brands and sport connect and do business, as well as loosening the cash flow that too often sees vital funding stuck at only the elite level of the game.
Having overseen a reported £200m sale of media information company Gorkana Group, where he was CEO, to Cision, Thompson faced the question of what to do next.
“I wanted to work with people I found inspirational and address a need in the market that had real potential, caytoo was the right idea, at the right time with the right people.
“I think there is a huge opportunity to deploy data and technology more effectively in the business of sport.”
Teaming up with co-founders Mark Middlemas, Alex Burmaster and Ellen Thornber, caytoo was born.
“Mark had the original idea of creating a platform that provided 360-degree insight, using data analytics, to help improve the decision-making process for sports marketing and sponsorship.
“I pulled the team together to realise that vision, which has morphed into a marketplace where athletes and brands can connect using data and intelligence.”
Whilst still in its infancy stage, caytoo has signed a number of partners to help turn it from concept to reality. Ex-England and Lions rugby star Simon Shaw is an advisory board member, helping caytoo to represent athletes across the business, whilst start-up guru Andrew Hogbin is involved to help iron out any creases.
To further ensure they provide a successful platform, caytoo is working with content and data streaming experts Brandwatch and the European Sponsorship Association, It’s also “hoping to partner with non-profit organisation Switch The Play who help athletes form a personal brand to ensure they can forge a career after their playing days.”
This is just one of the topics Thompson hopes caytoo can address.
“I think the time is right to disrupt and improve the way that athletes and brands connect. Everyone knows that too few brands and too few athletes benefit from sports sponsorship.
“The market continues to grow but that money is stuck at the top. Some of the money paid to athletes at the top end of the chain, and the money not paid to athletes towards the bottom of the spectrum, is obscene. We want to try and address that.”
How? By drawing attention to unknown talent and putting a spotlight on sports that do not receive as much attention or coverage as they deserve.
“We want to level the playing field. We want athletes to be a commercial success and get paid for what they’re so good at.
“Some athletes may not be household names but they have really interesting audiences and an engaging story to tell.”
This has been echoed through recent marketing campaigns from the likes of Nike, Oakley and Beats that focus on content and narrative rather than simply exposure. By tapping into a niche audience, your brand may receive less coverage, but the opportunity for engagement is much higher.
“A lot of brands think that sports sponsorship is something that is too costly and out of reach, but this doesn’t have to be the case,” Thompson explains.
“caytoo wants to disrupt the way these relationships are brokered and make it more cost effective for both parties. Engaging in this way can result in a big win for both athlete and brand.”
As well as looking at established sports, those that are currently on the rise are firmly on caytoo’s radar. “caytoo will look at women’s sport, disability sport, sports in schools as well as established sports that simply don’t have the same commercial opportunities as top-tier football.”
As well as hoping caytoo can ‘level the playing field’, Thompson wants caytoo to become a “must have” in the sports industry, becoming “synonymous with helping athletes build their brands” as well as building a business and “team everyone wants to be a part of with a reputation for being brilliant.”
Due to his self-professed love of sports and data, it was no surprise that he listed Team Sky’s Tour de France triumph and England’s 2003 World Cup winning campaign amongst his favourite sporting achievements.
“Sir Clive Woodward employed the philosophy that you should look to do everything one percent better than everyone else, not one thing one hundred percent better,” Thompson explains.
If caytoo employ that philosophy across their platform, he’s on to a winner.