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Repucom EVP Mike Wragg: One of important things for China is the commercialization of sport

By Yutang Sports 15 Jul 2016

Repucom, the global leader in sports measurement, evaluation and intelligence, has recently joined the family of Nielsen. Repucom's brand exposure data and metrics are considered currency in the global sports marketplace. We were able to talk with Mike Wragg, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research, Repucom at the World Football Forum meeting in Paris.

Yutang: How did Repucom become a popular service provider for the international sports industry?

Mike Wragg: The story starts in Australia about 20 years ago in the golf industry, and Repucom’s founder identified one of the major problems with selling golf sponsorship packages, with the general like evidence as to what is impactive in sponsors and partners, so the kernel of the idea starts from there. And then in probably next 20 years, Repucom expanded across the whole world, acquiring leading sponsorships data for companies in each continent to move on. And two 2 weeks ago, Nielson acquired Repucom, and Nielson is the largest business intelligent marketing company on the planet. So we are quite excited.

Yutang: What do you think are the most valuable services you provide now?

Mike Wragg: Three key ones. First of all is the media exposure work. We have about 1400 researchers that monitor all sports programming globally. That’s in line with digital programming. That helps understand how much exposure different brands get. But we’re also looking compliance with different agreements, sort of between brands, sports probably as well. But be on that, we did all significant fan research for FIFA, for NFL, for the Premier League and for other major sports rights holders, and of course the number of fans who does find out that’s the absolute foundation of value in the industry globally. We do a lot management consultancy now as well, particularly helping brands develop their strategy over a period of time, so you know, a 10-year sponsorship strategy.

Mike Wragg at  the World Football Forum

Yutang: What are your views on the Chinese sports market?

Mike Wragg: I think in relation to Repucom and Nielson in China, we have a huge presence in China now at an international level. At Nielson, we have a very developed relationship with brands both domestically and internationally from operating in China. I think from sports industry point of view, it’s one of the things which is changing fast on the planet. We think about this conference, the new geography of football. I think the two things that are changing fastest on the planet of the moment, is the commercialization of sport in China, how would the investment from China enter into the rest of the world in sports properties and then also the development of interesting football in the United States. I say those are the Top 3 things which are changing so fast for the moment.

Yutang: As you just said, you will remain on China, what do you think the Chinese market can do to expand further?

Mike Wragg: Well, I think there are two sides of Chinese market, one is abviously investment overseas. So we’ve seen a lot of examples of that recently. To tell about the development of the domestic industry, I think probably it will be the NBA because it was built in China with basketball. It is an amazing case study for the whole world, to understand just how powerful if you develop right, if you focus on developing interesting brands, with shoes if you have right proposition of the key celebrities on the global stage. Those are the key drivers. Those are the things which other sports like football in China need to do if it is to gain powerful domestic value.

Yutang: Are Repucom Nielson planning to continue to expand in China, because it’s an expanding market?
Mike Wragg: Absolutely. So we are already big. We are with very big brands in China, but we have less developed relationships with some of the properties, so I think that’s probably what would expand fast next year.

The article received assistance from Yutang Sports part-time reporter Simon Harding at the World Football Forum in Paris. 

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