The new department will be led by senior consultant Nicola McKelvey, who has worked at Performance since 2013.
The agency has recently worked on Skoda's DSI Cycling Academy and #thisisourtime initiative to tackle the gender gap in cycling. It has also worked with high-profile athletes and teams such as Martina Navratilova for Laureus, Fran Halsall for Multipower, the Arsenal women’s team for Citroën, and the FA home nations' youth football competition on behalf of sponsor Tesco.
McKelvey said: “I’m a huge supporter of women’s sport. Having recently worked with the Women’s Sport Trust on its #unlocked campaign, I was reminded of the value it brings to young people, the role models it provides and the excitement of watching the sporting action. However, it still has huge potential to realise, and I can’t wait to help our clients harness this growth and navigate the opportunities it offers."
The agency has marked the launch of the division with a competition offering £20,000-worth of consultancy to the winner. Called 'Boost – the Women’s Sport Accelerator', it is open to female athletes, women’s teams or organisations in the UK who need help raising their profile. The prize will include six months of proactive media relations support.
McKelvey said: “We hope Boost will attract applications from a wide range of people involved in women’s sport, which, like all sport, has been hit hard by the pandemic. The next 12 months will be vital in terms of the recovery of live sport and we’re looking forward to being part of that journey.”
In the summer, Performance bought a "significant" minority stake in Frisson Creative – a sports-focused social content and influencer marketing agency led by two former Performance staff and an ex-head of social media for Liverpool FC. Last year Performance launched a dedicated technology division.
The agency is based in Kingston upon Thames; it also has an office in Dubai.