UK Athletics to restructure comms for consumer brand focus

UK Athletics is restructuring its comms unit as it prepares to launch a consumer brand and become more commercially focused, post-Olympics.

Fast lane: Athletics enjoyed a high profile during London 2012
Fast lane: Athletics enjoyed a high profile during London 2012

Athletics’ governing body is set to take on the name of British Athletics as its consumer-facing brand in the New Year. The UK Athletics brand, traditionally associated with governance of athletics events, will become more of a ‘back office function’.

A number of UK Athletics’ 17-strong comms team, many of whom were appointed specifically to work on the Olympics, are now being shifted into new roles to prepare the British Athletics brand.

Liz Birchall, who was promoted to the role of head of marketing and comms earlier this month, said she couldn't comment on whether any jobs would be lost. Birchall, who replaced Claire Furlong after her departure in June, said a key part of the strategy was to become ‘more of a commercial organisation’.

She said the body was looking for ways of spending less on services and investing the money saved back into the sport.
UK Athletics planned the move before the summer but wanted to build on the confidence generated in the sport by the Olympics.

The comms unit’s objectives include communicating the breadth of sports available under the athletics tag, boosting the profile of the Paralympics and raising awareness of the range of levels at which athletics can be enjoyed.

UK Athletics ended its eight- year contract with Fast Track in March and there are currently no plans to hire alternative PR support. The athletics body is also planning a shake-up of its sponsors following last month’s split with Aviva, which had been its headline sponsor for 13 years.

Paralympic sprinter Sophia Warner, who joined UK Athletics in May as commercial director with responsibility for marketing and PR functions, said she expected to appoint around four to five sponsors with emphasis on the Para-lympics, elite training pathways, and community and school projects.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.