WPP-owned AxiCom has worked with sports clothing start-up Prevayl since September, alongside another unnamed client in the sports sector.
Its launch of a sports tech division follows a reorganisation of the UK business under Rosie Bannister, who joined as managing director about a year ago from Huawei, where she was comms director.
The agency has several teams dedicated to different industries. They include the enterprise team, telecoms team, media tech team, business services team and consumer tech team. These operate alongside specialist services including digital services and content.
Bannister told PRWeek: "We've seen an increasing demand from brands where technology is forming part of their story, and part of that is from some sports brands.
"We realised there's an opportunity here. We won two clients in that area recently so we thought it would be worth setting up our own team around that to enable growing that expertise."
The sports tech division is currently overseen by Bannister, with employees from the consumer tech team servicing the clients. There are plans to hire a dedicated head of the division and dedicated sports tech staff.
Bannister said there's a "huge opportunity" in sports tech, especially among people who have a passion for fitness and improving their own performance, but are visiting the gym less often due to COVID-19. "I think tech is going to have an even bigger role to play; for us, that's really exciting in terms of the business."
Meanwhile, AxiCom is set to move its London HQ in the New Year – from Paddington to WPP's Rose Court location on the South Bank.
On recent trading, Bannister said: "In the past year, the team have shown true spirit in the current climate to win 25 new clients in the UK alone (nearly 50 in Europe), which has meant significant growth across the business. Key wins for both our consumer tech and enterprise teams, combined with investment in our senior leadership team, has helped to put us on target to meet our growth predictions for the year."
Bannister’s appointment last year followed a restructure in which Kate Stevens was named AxiCom EMEA president, Nick Head became European managing director and Katie Huang-Shin was appointed president of AxiCom US, following the sudden death of former Europe boss Henry Brake in February 2020.
The agency employs 51 people in the UK and about 200 globally. It has offices in the UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.