Bruin Sports Capital has struck a deal with advertising and public relations giant WPP to acquire a majority interest in data-driven sports marketing agency Two Circles.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal have confirmed to SportBusiness that Bruin has acquired an 80 per cent stake in Two Circles, placing an overall valuation of $42m on the agency.
Two Circles, which has offices in London, Bern, New York and Los Angeles, will become part of Bruin Sports Capital’s portfolio that also includes streaming technology company Deltatre, brand design agency Soulsight, marketing agency Engine Shop, and an interest in venture capital fund Courtside Ventures, among other holdings.
WPP is also a partner in Courtside Ventures, and Bruin and WPP also have a joint venture in OTT streaming service OverTier, which operates the NFL Game Pass subscription video service, which has a wide international footprint.
WPP will retain a minority stake in Two Circles, and the agency will continue to have access to WPP, its network, and brand clients. Current Two Circle clients include the National Football League, the Premier League, Uefa, Formula 1, and Wimbledon, among others.
The deal is also still subject to regulatory approval.
“As we look to the future of sports economy, everything we do will trace back to how well we can leverage consumer data intelligence to spur growth,” said George Pyne, Bruin Sports Capital founder and chief executive. “Two Circles has been way ahead of the industry on this and has developed a new breed of agency that serves every business unit of a sports organization.”
The eight-year-old Two Circles also recently released a study projecting the US sports sponsorship market will rise 5.4 per cent to $15.5bn in 2020.
“The sports industry is moving from a [business-to-business] model to a direct-to-consumer model where growth will be centered around a direct relationship between sports and fans,” said Gareth Balch, Two Circles co-founder and chief executive. “Over the last eight years, we believe we have built proven models that can take sports properties on this journey. With Bruin’s backing, experience, and relationships in global sport, we have the perfect platform to enter the next phase of commercial growth – both for our clients and as an agency.”
The acquisition is Bruin Sports Capital’s first since it closed earlier this year on a large-scale strategic partnership with private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and The Jordan Company worth at least $600m combined.