Philip Greene interviews John Clark
22 min listen.
In this podcast, I spoke with John Clark, Senior Vice President of Sales with Fenway Sports Management.
John is responsible for selling multiple properties under the FSM portfolio including the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, and LeBron James, amongst many others.
We spoke about John’s background in the sports business industry, the opportunities offered by partnerships with athletes such as LeBron James, and the expansion of MLB into Europe. We also discussed some of the challenges around measurement in sponsorship and the importance of ensuring sponsorship has the correct position in the marketing mix.
John spoke about his diverse career to date, a path which has taken him through each of the four major American sports leagues; NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. John also discussed his happy knack of joining organisations just before moments of triumph, such as joining FSM just before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013.
John and I talked about the importance of measurement in sponsorship, as well as defining what success looks like for a sponsor. John outlined that while intellectual property is often the most valuable asset a rights holder can offer a sponsor, it is also the most difficult to measure precisely.
John shared his belief that agencies like FSM must act as consultants for their clients and to advise brands to ensure sponsorship is in the right position in their marketing mix.
There was also a discussion about how, for the best sponsorships, the rights fee paid is often only the beginning and how great activation brings a partnership to life.
John’s belief is that the quality of content on offer from rights holders, and their ability to hold the attention of the fan, is the key to the future durability of sponsorship as a marketing tool. For John, live sport is still the most compelling content rights holders have at their disposal.
Throughout the course of the conversation, John and Phil also discussed the true benefits of a partnership with an athlete like LeBron James, how the GAA Fenway Classic came to Boston and the commercial opportunities on offer from MLB’s continued expansion into new markets.