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CAA Sports targets expansion in Apac with slate of new hires

CAA Sports Apac team. L-R: Lin Yao, Sut Sia Lim, Manoj Sregantan, Lianne Adamopoulos, Sam Chen, Adrian Staiti, Zoe Zhou, Juan Miguel Ocampo, Qiao Sun (Credit: CAA Sports)

The Asia-Pacific branch of sports marketing agency CAA Sports, in Singapore, has added several experienced staff as it aims to expand its business in the region.

SportBusiness understands that Tilman Wendt has joined as vice-president, Apac, moving from Sportfive where he oversaw sponsorship activations in the region. Wendt also previously worked with Adidas in Southeast Asia.

Two other staff have also moved over from Sportfive in Apac, the former home of CAA Sports’ Apac president Adrian Staiti. Sut Sia Lim has joined as senior director, project management. She will lead CAA’s regional brand solutions efforts, providing expertise in data and analytics, activation concepts, creative and design. Designer Juan Miguel Ocampo has joined as associate creative director.

Qiao Sun and Lianne Adamopoulos have joined CAA Sports’ regional sponsorship sales team led by Samantha Peihua Chen, executive vice president of partnerships and strategic development. Sun, vice president, partnerships, joins from Italian football club Juventus, where he was head of partnership sales in Apac. Adamopoulos has previously worked with ONE Championship and IMG.

Manoj Sregantan has become manager of business intelligence and research in Apac. He previously worked at Octagon and data and research firm Euromonitor International.

Announcing the new hires, Staiti said the regional office had in the last year achieved “tremendous growth, driven largely by the great efforts of our partnership sales team. We are proud to add the important function of brand consulting, and the leadership of veteran sports marketing executive Tilman Wendt, to our service offering.”

CAA’s Brand Consulting division has more than 250 employees in the US, UK, Germany, China and now Singapore. CAA says the unit is currently “advising, managing, activating, and measuring more than $4bn in strategic partnerships” for clients including JPMorgan Chase, Allianz, Bose, Constellation Brands, Bybit, Mondelez, Aflac, KPMG, Tissot, and Volvo.

Looking ahead in Apac, Staiti said the regional business “will continue to grow [its] team, adding talented and ambitious people with expertise spanning a variety of areas across the sports and entertainment ecosystem.”

CAA Sports’ Apac office in Singapore was opened last year. Since then, the regional unit has closed more than 25 deals, including: a sponsorship agreement between crypto platform Bybit and the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team; signing South Korean esports organisation T1 and its star player Faker; sponsorship deals for the inaugural Tour de France Criterium in Singapore, including title sponsor Prudential; and various deals for talent managed by CAA including South Korean football star Son Heung-min.

Staiti told SportBusiness the year ahead would see the addition of more sales and brand consulting staff, and expansion into executive search:

“We will be even stronger in the area of property sales. This is our ‘engine room’ and we will double-down on our headcount to help drive even more partnerships and revenue for our clients. We will also add more brand consulting expertise as our client base in that area expands, and executive search, a new vertical that will focus on placing great talent in the areas of sports, music, entertainment, and tech. And lastly, we will fortify our corporate services to ensure smooth operations.”

The sports team will also look to expand joint work with CAA’s teams in film, television and music, he said.

Staiti said he is confident about growth prospects in various Asian markets in the medium to long term, but there is an “air of caution” in the short term amid various economic headwinds:

“Everyone is watching the global economy, inflation and other economic trends, so an air of caution remains for the short term.

“Certain markets are extremely active right now. South Korea is very alive across sport, esports, music, and scripted television. K-culture is continuing to influence other regions and Korean brands have been vocal and active about substantial international growth.

“Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia continue to evolve, providing opportunities on the domestic and regional level. And, of course, Singapore is booming with an influx of regional offices, family money, and general post-Covid growth.”

Read this: CAA Sports finds new wave of international growth