CHICAGO: Hill %26 Knowlton is forming a business alliance with Team Marketing Report, a sports marketing and sponsorship shop, to go after business from college athletic programs.
Sallie Gaines, senior managing director with H&K, and Dan Migala, EVP for Team Marketing, will colead the new alliance. The idea for working together evolved as the two worked on a volunteer effort at the University of Missouri journalism school, Gaines said.
H&K has done some work with college athletic programs, such as handling crisis work with Northwestern University last year when a football player died at a preseason practice session. Gaines oversees the higher-education practice at H&K, which comprises about 20 people throughout the firm.
The agency also has a 10-person sports marketing group.
Team Marketing does research on sports sponsorships, including an annual yearbook of all sports sponsorships in the country. The two, as they came to know each other through their Missouri volunteer work the past two years, felt their operations could refer business to each other, as well as pitch for business together.
Gaines said she envisions the two marketing their services together, with H&K helping to raise the profile of a college's sports program, while Team Marketing helps the same school find sponsors for its various team or facilities. H&K also wants to do more media training for coaches and college athletes.
Migala said the alliance represents his company's effort to move beyond publishing and into consulting. "It's a great opportunity for us to work with H&K to counsel young athletes on handling the spotlight, and to help coaches and other athlete staff understand PR, he said.
He also hopes to create radio and TV shows that deal with sports business topics.
Team Marketing has moved into offices adjacent to H&K's North Michigan Avenue digs in Chicago to facilitate working together. The firm will remain independent from H&K, however; no formal business connection is planned.