Octagon is one of the world's leading sports and entertainment marketing agencies, with 50 offices spread over 22 countries. It has been owned since inception by Interpublic, and works closely with that group's PR and experiential subsidiaries. Octagon Sports & Entertainment is a wider entity that serves as an umbrella for satellite entertainment agencies including Rogers & Cowan PMK and Frukt. Originally conceived as purely a sports marketing company, Octagon has broadened its remit to cover the whole entertainment field. It offers a wide variety of services covering all aspects of the marketing and commercial management of sports, music and entertainment events, including sponsorship negotiation, licensing and merchandising, television rights and production, and artistic management. It represents a large stable of around 900 sports and media personalities, mostly in the B and C lists, but with a few top US stars including swimmer Michael Phelps, gymnast Simone Biles, basketball star Stephen Curry and baseball player Felix Hernandez. The business was originally launched in 1997 under the management of Lowe Group founder Frank Lowe, with the aim of rivalling sports marketing pioneer IMG. The business was assembled from a collection of acquired sponsorship and rights management agencies which rebranded under the Octagon name. One of the pillars of the new company was athlete representation agency Advantage. Yet after a strong start, Lowe also championed a disastrous venture into the motorsports business at the end of the 1990s which cast an undeservedly negative spotlight on the business as a whole. Interpublic dismantled that side of the company (at some considerable additional cost) and the remainder of the Octagon group has worked hard to erase memories of the whole unfortunate experience. John Shea succeeded Rick Dudley as CEO in 2021. Dudley remains chairman. Advertising Age estimated global revenues of $192m in 2019.
Capsule checked 16th June 2020
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Who are the competitors of Octagon? Key competitors are Endeavor's IMG, still the world's leading sports marketing agency, Chime's CSM, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, Wasserman Media and Lagardere Unlimited. Omnicom's sports marketing units include GMR, The Marketing Arm and Optimum Sports, while WPP has Prism and 141 Alliance as well as units of Ogilvy and H&K Strategies. Publicis Groupe's MSL division handles some sports marketing, as do Publicis Events and group-owned Relay Worldwide. Competitors in talent management include global giants CAA (and its sports speciality unit CAA Sports) and Endeavor. See Marketing Services Agencies index for other companies.
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