Octagon launches first dedicated service in Turkey in partnership with Sportsnet Group
By Simon Ward
Octagon, the international sports and entertainment agency, has established its first formal presence in Turkey after today launching Octagon Istanbul, the result of a strategic alliance with domestic company Sportsnet Group.
The new unit will focus on Turkey, an increasingly attractive country for sports marketing firms, but will also be active in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania.
Sportsnet Group was founded in 2001 as the first sports-related marketing agency in Turkey and has worked with Octagon for the past decade on programmes aimed at helping brands connect with consumers through sport.
However, Octagon Istanbul represents the international agency’s first dedicated offering in Turkey, where the most popular sports are soccer, basketball and volleyball.
Later this year, Octagon plans to launch localised versions of Passion Drivers and Passion Shift, its proprietary research platforms, to provide a qualitative understanding of Turkish sports fans.
Sportsnet launches and acquisitions over the years have included All Sports, which specialises in event marketing, in 2003, VO2, Turkey’s first sports-related digital agency, in 2009, and SportsTV, an independent sports television channel, in 2010.
The agency has been involved in various major sports events in Turkey, including the 2005 Summer Universiade in Izmir, basketball’s 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2011 Winter Universiade in Erzurum.
It has also worked with clients including Beko, P&G, Turkcell, THY, TEB, Koc Group and Adidas, offering services in areas such as consultancy, creative solutions, sponsorship management, public relations, events management and execution, digital initiatives and broadcasting.
Jeff Ehrenkranz, managing director of Octagon Europe, Middle East and India, said: "We are very confident about this partnership and are looking forward to collaborating with Sportsnet Group to leverage our collective experience and expertise. We believe that Octagon’s unmatched global network and wealth of knowledge around the world’s biggest sporting and entertainment properties will set a new standard for sponsorship marketing in Turkey and provide support for Turkish brands as they expand globally."
Ahmet Gülüm, president of Sportsnet Group, added: "As the sports industry in Turkey continues to grow, we identified a need for data-driven, insightful sports marketing programmes. The alliance between Sportsnet Group and Octagon allows us to anticipate the needs of our clients and contribute to the growth of the industry in Turkey and the region."
Last month, Octagon reshuffled its management team in Europe, with the appointment of former IMG executive Sebastian Smith as executive vice-president Octagon Marketing Europe, which followed the departure of the long-serving Gary Dods, one of the heads of the UK business.
Smith, who is based in the London office, forms part of a regional management team, working alongside Marc Brix, managing director Germany, and Tim Collins, managing director UK, and reporting to Ehrenkranz.