• Andy Marston

Networking with Jamie Corr, Managing Director of Sports for H+K

Welcome to the the Sports Pundit Networking Series. The aim is to promote Sports Pundit readers and foster a greater community across the newsletter. For the latest edition, I caught up with Jamie Corr, Managing Director of Sports for Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

When did your journey (in the sports industry) start? And how did you get to your current role?

My journey started in 2003 when I was offered a role at Football Aid, a charity started by successful Scottish entrepreneur Craig Paterson. At Football Aid I was responsible for helping to arrange and host football matches across the UK where fans of clubs could bid to play on the hallowed turf with legends of the clubs they supported. This experience allowed me to get an appreciation of the importance of sport and the power it has to inspire people to drive change.

Since then I have been privileged to work with some of the most recognised and respected agencies, rights holders and brands in global sport including M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, Red Bull, IMG Consulting, International Olympic Committee and GMR Marketing. All of these experiences have enabled me to learn, develop my skillsets and build my global network.

In 2019, I was working in a global business development and consulting role with GMR Marketing and had been approached for a number of roles. However, I took the decision to join Hill+Knowlton Strategies as Managing Director of Sports based in London.

Who inspired this journey? And who continues to inspire you today?

I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most intelligent people across the global sports industry and if I could I would list everyone who has inspired me during my career. However, I have narrowed this down for the purpose of brevity for your article!

Stephen Morrow, Senior Lecturer in Sports Finance at the University of Stirling - Stephen was my tutor when I studied my MSc in Sports Management at the University of Stirling back in 2001. An extremely humble and intelligent individual that taught me the importance of continuous learning. I am still in touch with Stephen today and he has continued to inspire me with his forward looking thinking on the future of sport and finance.

Julie Garcia-Sjogrim, Senior Director, Partnerships, Business Development and Commercial Affairs at the Canadian Olympic Committee - I reported to Julie during my time at the International Olympic Committee. Julie is one of the most hard-working, organised, knowledgeable and passionate people that I have had the privilege to work with. Her approach can be articulated very simply – focus and deliver with passion.

Timo Lumme, Managing Director of IOC Television & Marketing Services – I remember when I started at the International Olympic Committee back in 2013 Timo saying that he wanted people who joined to leave as better people. I have always remembered this comment as I feel it is imperative for businesses to really focus on this. Timo is a one of the most highly respected sports industry executives who has consistently negotiated, delivered and managed the biggest RHB and TOP deals for the IOC. His approach is understated and modest but this is what makes him so hugely impressive and successful.

Andy Sutherden, Founder and Owner of Sutherden Consulting – Andy is an industry stalwart and was responsible for building the successful Hill + Knowlton Sports Team and business. He is always willing to offer support and is an individual that people can truly trust to provide stellar advice and guidance. I have had the privilege of getting to know Andy over the past 15 months and he is a true gentleman with a wealth of knowledge on the global sports industry.

Hill + Knowlton Sports Team – I joined the H+K Sports Team in January 2020 right before the global pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the global sports industry. It was a very tough year last year for everyone in the team but the dedication, resilience and ability to think differently from every single team member was truly inspirational. The collective effort and support that everyone has shown each other has allowed us to build and look to the future with optimism.

Liseli Sitali, Head of Marketing & Campaign Marketing at VAHA – I have only know Liseli for a few months but her energy, intelligence, entrepreneurial ability and passion for sports business is inspiring. She recently started a new role at VAHA but also hosts her own podcast, In Her Corner, which focuses on female excellence in sport. She works tirelessly and without an agenda to drive forward the sports industry and every time I speak with her I am energised by her enthusiasm. I learned early in my career that the best way to grow is to listen and engage with people younger than you as they have insights and opinions that are different and diverse.

Jan Katzoff – What can I say about Jan? A global sports industry legend who I am really proud to call a close friend. I first met Jan during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and he then hired me to be part of his team at GMR Marketing. Jan is an individual who is never too busy to speak and offer advice. I know there are many people across the world who have benefitted from his professional and personal support and this continues through his work with major global brands.

And finally, my mum, dad, grandfather and girlfriend. They have supported me throughout my career and are always there for a chat on the phone if I need their advice and support. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them. Thank you. I maybe don’t tell them enough!!!

Besides Sports Pundit, where do you look for insight?

Firstly, continuous learning is imperative in the sports industry and ensuring you stay up to date is important for both personal and professional growth. There are so many robust sources that industry professionals can go to for fresh and valuable insight. I have listed these below but I will say that there are a lot more out there that are equally as valuable.

Sportico, JohnWallStreet, Unofficial Partner, FT Scoreboard, Forbes Sports Money Playbook, Front Office Sports, N3XT Sports Newsletter, Leaders Digest, Leaders Sports Broadcast Bulletin, The Sports Playmaker, Mailman Newsletter, Sheridan Sports Group The Backpage, Sports Industry Daily, Sports Innovation Lab Newsletter, Sports Loft Newsletter, SportsPro Daily, Sport Techie, The Sustainability Report.

From a podcast perspective. Unofficial Partner from Richard Gillis and Sean Singleton is essential listening. A wide variety of guests and experts speaking informatively on a range of topics. Similarly, Are You Not Entertained hosted by Grant Williams, Giles Morgan and Roger Mitchell is an invaluable source of insights but also entertaining with big name sports stars and athletes taking part in the The Captains Table show.

The Sport Unlocked podcast is excellently hosted by Rob Harris, Martyn Zeigler and Tariq Panja and they dissect and provide the inside track on the big sports news stories in a concise and intelligent manner. Angela Ruggiero’s The Fluid Fan Podcast is also important for those interested in digital transformation and innovation across the sports industry.

For non-sports specific listening, my preferences are On Strategy Showcase, The McKinsey Podcast, HBR IdeaCast and The Anxious Achiever by HBR which is important for anyone in business who has struggled with mental health issues.

It's also worth mentioning that a planned reading list important and I am old fashioned in the sense that I still like to visit book shops and buy hard copies! I am currently reading Mark Carney’s Value(s), Building a Better World for All, which I would highly recommend as well as the revised and expanded version of Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski.

What trend in the industry most excites you for the future of sports? And why?

I am very excited by the future of sports partnerships and how through smart thinking and intellectual rigour they can truly transform the business of both the brand and the rights holder. What I mean by this is that a well-structured and articulated partnership can provide a roadmap for both the partner and the rights holder to build a more responsible and resilient world.

A commercial partnership deal is a monetary investment but it is also an opportunity for both the brand and the rights holder to work collectively to create a value proposition that has an impact on all the stakeholders that are involved. We have seen a number of important commercial deals agreed recently that have that focus and which will be the future of our industry.

Photo Source: SportsWorld Ghana

Who is an example of someone that is well positioned to take advantage of this trend?

The Right to Dream football organisation and its CEO Tom Vernon are very forward thinking and they are well positioned to take advantage of this trend. Purpose is at the core of what they doing and they are leading the football industry into new ways of thinking as well as building a point of difference focussed on how sport and football can change individuals and society in a positive manner.

To be transparent, Right to Dream is a client of H+K and it has been a real privilege working with so many passionate and inspiring individuals from the organisation including Tom, Andy Gowland/Dr Pippa Grange and Christian Wolny. They understand that sport and football is a business but that it can be used as a platform and vehicle to juxtapose and align profit and human potential for the collective good of society.


Jamie subscribes to Sports Pundit and get's our content direct to his inbox every week, be like Jamie and sign up here.