Omnicom to merge GMR/SportsMark divisions
January 31, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
Omnicom, the New York-based holding company with several marketing agency operations in Canada, has announced plans to merge its sports, entertainment and lifestyle-marketing agency GMR Marketing with its sports marketing, event management and corporate hospitality agency SportsMark Management Group.
Financial terms of the merger, which brings together GMR’s strategic digital and consumer engagement capabilities and SportsMark’s expertise in global event operation and hospitality, were not disclosed. The merger is expected to be complete sometime in 2013.
The companies will retain their respective names until the merger is complete, although Cameron Parsons, GMR’s international managing director, said that the SportsMark name would continue to exist as a division of GMR.
“There’s a huge amount of value in the heritage, history and quality of the programs SportsMark has delivered over the years,” Parsons told Marketing.
GMR and SportsMark have collaborated on numerous client projects over the years, most recently managing 20 sponsor programs at the London Olympics. The two companies have also planned events, corporate hospitality, product showcases and digital/social platforms for nine clients at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Parsons said it is GMR’s continued growth that brought the two companies together. “As GMR has grown as an organization, we found ourselves in the position of starting to build infrastructure that somewhat matched some of the infrastructure SportsMark had in place,” he said. “We were evolving towards overlap, so this is really getting ahead of that evolution and looking at a really clear and obvious solution that’s positive for both sides.”
Parsons said combining the GMR and SportsMark resources allows Omnicom to deliver best-in-class business solutions to its global client base.
“With [SportsMark’s] much deeper understanding and many decades of heritage, it just made all the sense in the world to strengthen the product we deliver to our clients by combining the two organizations,” he said.
Based in San Francisco, SportsMark’s business model has been to establish “temporary” headquarters – sometimes lasting two to three years – in cities where major sporting events such as the Olympics are taking place. “There’s always been the business model of entering a market to activate around these global events and then exiting that market on completion,” said Parsons.
In Canada, GMR employs over 50 full-time staff at its head office in Toronto (which marks its 10th anniversary this year) and a second location in Vancouver. Matt Lewis, GMR’s Canadian managing director, said that the merger expands his agency’s capabilities.
“The merger really evolves our service offering and gives us a solution we can take to current and potentially new clients,” said Lewis. “[SportsMark] are world renowned experts, and we hope to leverage some of that with our clients. It’s a natural evolution of the two companies coming together. This just makes more sense to make it a consistent and embedded service offering.”
Parsons said that no layoffs are expected as a result of the merger. “Our expectation is that it will be a net-net growth opportunity in terms of human resources and businesses, rather than any kind of efficiency play or redundancy issue,” he said.