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Seven League hires Bacardi’s digital chief Peter Clare and wins MLS Digital account


By Jessica Davies, News Editor

March 6, 2013 | 4 min read

Seven League has hired Bacardi’s head of digital Peter Clare (pictured) to the newly-created role of consulting partner, and won the Major League Soccer (MLS) Digital account.

Clare has been head of digital for the drinks giant for over a year and a half and will join the digital media firm, which specialises in sport, in a month’s time.

Prior to his time at Bacardi he was digital marketing manager for the Football Association for over four years.

Although exact details are still to be determined regarding his role it is likely it will be under the title of consulting partner, according to Seven League founder and CEO Richard Ayers.

Ayers told The Drum Clare’s marketing background makes him an ideal addition to the firm. “My background is in content and Clare is a marketing man through and through and can bring valuable skills and experience to develop our digital media activity for clients. Content and marketing continue to blur and it is the blending of the two that is creating the most interesting opportunities,” he said.

Seven League counts Manchester City, FIFA, The Rugby Football Union, The England and Wales Cricket Board, BT Sport along with Paris Saint-German, which recently signed David Beckham, among its clients.

It also scooped the MLS Digital account in January this year, with a remit to help drive the US League’s digital capabilities with clubs including Huston Dynamo. Seven League will focus on how digital publishing processes can blend and interact with marketing-driven fan engagement, according to Ayers.

“Digital publishing has always been a content-centric area while fan engagement has usually fallen into the marketing side – but we will be looking at how to drive the blending of these two areas and how they can interact with each other,” he said.

In the US soccer is not the primary national sport, which creates challenges around ensuring it generates enough media coverage as well as ticket sales, according to Ayers.

“In the UK there are similar challenges – for example things like the average gate size and number of season ticket holders - around cricket, which means we can apply our knowledge and what we have learned with those clients to the US clubs,” he said.

Meanwhile Seven League has also struck a legal and social media alliance with sports lawyer Couchmans LLP.

The deal is aimed at tackling the complex challenges around the use of social media by sports professionals including clubs, governing bodies, individual players and fans.

“There are two extremes when it comes to the use of social media in the sporting world. People forever get excited about Twitter and don’t really pay enough attention to things like ROI, then on the other side there is over caution with the result that sports people are warned off using it entirely. In between there is a sensible medium and this deal is to bring that sensible point of view to the use of social media down to an individual player level,” he said.

Seven League has grown significantly over the last two years and now has a team of around ten people and will continue to expand, according to Ayers. “Two years ago it was basically me and Manchester City, now there are about ten of us and 13 clients,” he said.

Its road map will focus on driving content, marketing and innovation with a focus on delivering value, he added. “An organisation’s digital DNA is very valuable – it’s hard to put a metric on it but it is crucial all CEOs understand the importance as ultimately everything will be digital and there will not be a need for specialists. But we are not there yet. In the short term, there are still many organisations that do not get it still,” he said.

Seven League also counts Limelight Sport and the Harlequins among its client base.


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