Sports management firm launches in South West - Business Leader News

Sports management firm launches in South West

John Matthews (Left) & James Filmer (right)

John Matthews (Left) & James Filmer (right)

TWO Bristol based entrepreneurs have joined forces to launch a brand new specialist sports consultancy that is set to revolutionise the industry in the region.

James Filmer, 51, and John Matthews, 44, have pooled their skills and experience in the business and sporting world in order to launch Sports Management International (SMI).

SMI is based in Portishead and specialises in the brokering and activation of commercial rights within the sports and entertainment industry. Additionally SMI also provide recruitment and talent acquisition services within these sectors.

SMI work both nationally and globally to bring brands into the partnerships with leading sports organisations, covering diverse areas such as stadium naming, sponsorship, merchandising and licensing.

The pair have hit the ground running with the launch of the business by already striking a string of major deals in the region.

James and John brokered the recent deal that saw the historic County Ground at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club re-named as the Brightside Stadium.

They also worked to tie up a deal that has seen Volvic Water become the Hydration and Community Partner for Gloucester RFC.

SMI already work with some of the biggest names in rugby, cricket, formula one and football; as well as non-traditional North American sports, and have recently been retained by a Test cricket venue to secure a naming rights partner for the stadium.

James started his business career as an aviation broker within Lloyds of London before deciding to follow his passion and enter the sporting world where he held senior roles in football and rugby before heading up all commercial operations for Octagon Motorsports at Brands Hatch, eventually leading him into Formula One with Jordan F1.

John started out working in executive search in the technology sector, before moving into corporate mergers and acquisitions roles. He then entered the SME world and became Managing Director of several Wiltshire based IT services businesses. After leading these businesses to growth of over 450% in 6 years, he ultimately took the merged company to market and sold in 2015.

With other investors he then launched the Harvard Group which is an investment business that helps start-up businesses to grow.

James comments: “We’re a fiercely ambitious business and in the next couple of years we have plans for regional and national growth.

“Traditionally clubs, venues, rights holders and governing bodies or player associations engage with the global agency, but are now recognising that talent and delivery actually lays elsewhere, and we are truly a viable option.

“We strongly believe in partnership at all levels, and already that ethos is proving to be a game changer.” 

John comments: “Our joint experience, connections and style will ensure we create a business and legacy that works in the best interest of sport and the region. There isn’t another business like this in the South West; as this kind of work is predominantly done in London. We’re here to change that.”