George Woffenden, Co Founder Blueprint Sports
3 January 2020
Meeting Usain Bolt and David Beckham on the same day was a highlight of my career back in 2014 and I’m still chuffed to have worked in every sport I love – football, rugby, cricket, horse racing, athletics and tennis.
I got in touch with f1 the moment I decided that a career in sports marketing was for me. Straight after university it found me work experience at Ketchum, Fast Track and Benchmark Sport. My first permanent job was with Arena International working with E.ON and the Barclays Premier League – a fantastic first job for a football fan. Since then f1 has found me every career move.
I worked with Synergy (Engine Sport) on projects like the RBS 6 Nations and Betfair’s partnerships with Manchester United and FC Barcelona, then at Weber Shandwick for clients like the Jockey Club and PUMA. We also launched Sainsbury’s partnership with the 2012 Paralympics. Then f1 introduced me to Dan French at Clifford French and I worked with him for two years. I was an Account Director in a very broad role, which appealed to me because it brings together everything I’ve done in my career to-date. At the time, Clifford French (now 160/90 and part of the Endeavour Group) worked across all marketing disciplines, including communications, social media, sponsorship and PR, to produce market leading campaigns for clients like EA SPORTS, Brother, and IBML brands Slazenger and Dunlop.
From here I made my jump through f1 into the commercial side of sports marketing with a role at Romelle Swires matching sportsmen and women with brand partners. And it was my 2 years here that fuelled my determination to start my own business. The Co-founder of Blueprint Sports is Rob Hughes who I met on my first day of work experience at Ketchum all those years ago. Since then f1 found Rob a role at H+K Sport on the Adidas account and he then moved inhouse to work with Adidas out in Germany as a head of comms & content. In 2018 we set up Blueprint together. www.blueprintsports.com
The emphasis of our industry has changed in one way, but not in another in my eyes. This industry is always about communicating to consumers via media platforms. It’s important as new platforms come along that we understand them as quickly as possible: to embrace new media. It’s that which has changed considerably, the media landscape. We all get to grips with what comes next (for example twitter launched during my career, which is funny to think now) but the basic principles of reaching and engaging with an audience remain the same. It’s a testing environment and the competition keeps you on your toes.
My top tip for getting the best start in sport is: work hard, learn fast and don’t make enemies – it’s a very small industry.