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Fenway Sports Group, shifts gears
Fenway Sports Group has no plans to replace departing motorsports chief Brian Corcoran, which will lessen the agency’s sales and marketing role with its race team, Roush Fenway Racing.
Corcoran joined Boston-based Fenway Sports Group last year as executive vice president of motorsports and was charged with streamlining the sales and marketing activities between Fenway Sports Group and the race team, while also seeking cross-promotional opportunities with the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Sports Group and the Red Sox are both owned by John Henry, and Fenway Sports Group is a 50 percent co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.

Although the team and the agency say they’ll continue to share leads on sponsorship sales, there won’t be a day-to-day role for Fenway Sports Group in the race team.

“Our focus is sales and representation, and Roush Fenway Racing has an exceptional sales and marketing team,” said Sam Kennedy, president of Fenway Sports Group. “We’ve explored the possibility of having day-to-day involvement with the team on the sales and marketing side as a service provider, as a vendor.

“What we’ve realized is that, given the structure of a race team, things will work better with a more casual working relationship. We’ll still share leads and best practices, but we won’t have a role in the day-to-day operations.”

The intent when Henry’s Fenway Sports Group acquired half of Roush Racing in 2007 was for Fenway Sports Group to become the sales and marketing arm of the race team. It was considered a landmark move that instantly vaulted Fenway Sports Group from a bit sports marketing player that leaned heavily on the Red Sox as its premier client to a more well-rounded agency that had the wherewithal to combine the resources of NASCAR and the Red Sox.

Since then, Fenway Sports Group has blossomed with a client roster that now includes the Red Sox, Fenway Park, NESN, Fulham FC of the English Premier League, Athletes’ Performance, Boston College, the PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston and the Professional Bull Riders.

But the relationship between the agency and the race team never flourished the way it was imagined. Corcoran, who spent six years in NASCAR’s New York-based sales and marketing office before joining Fenway Sports Group, said that the agency was simply unable to perfect the sales and marketing relationship with the team.

Kennedy didn’t offer specifics on why Fenway Sports Group will no longer push for more day-to-day involvement.

Roush Fenway Racing will continue to sell sponsorships out of its Concord, N.C., shop, led by President Geoff Smith and Robin Johnson, the executive vice president of business development.

“We’ve always done most of our own sales work here,” Johnson said. “We’ve always realized that the core of the sales and marketing has to be done within the race team. That hasn’t changed. We’re responsible for raising our own sponsorship dollars.

“We remain interested with working with FSG and leveraging each other’s assets when we can. If there are ways for each of us to broaden our base of prospects, we want to do that.” SceneDaily.com
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