Hanover expands as Furlong kicks off sports PR practice

Hanover has announced the launch of its new sports practice, which the agency hopes will work with high-profile brands, major events and sports organisations.

The new division is led by Claire Furlong, who has previously been head of marketing and comms at UK Athletics, worked for the agency Vero and was head of media for England's athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as part of a contract with her own consultancy 16ten.

Furlong joined the business in September. Since then the agency has added England Athletics, running industry alliance Run Group and others to pre-existing sports clients the NFL and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The division will work "to create and activate brand sponsorships and deliver smart, strategic and fresh communications to connect our clients with the right crowd", a Hanover press release said.

Furlong will be supported by Leigh Ireland, who also joined in September as head of brand activation, from the agency Pretty Green.

Gavin Megaw, the agency's director of corporate and consumer, said: "This is an exciting investment for Hanover and underlines our commitment to grow our specialisms and challenge the market. Sport has been a core strength of our Corporate and Consumer Practice in recent years, and the hiring of Claire and Leigh, and the launch of our dedicated sport practice, demonstrate our big ambitions."

The agency recently created a newsroom in its London office to emphasise its increasing strength beyond its traditional public affairs core business, as well as hiring one of PRWeek UK's 30 Under 30 to launch a cybersecurity offering.

Click to read Megaw's preview of the branding challenge at the recent Rugby World Cup, or see below for the video Hanover has created to launch its new division.

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