To strengthen its in-house brand marketing division, sports agency Excel Sports Management acquired Game Seven, a creative and experiential marketing agency focused on sports and culture. Game Seven has worked on campaigns for clients including Nike, Foot Locker, Timberland, Oakley, Bleacher Report, Instagram, TikTok, Meta and Spotify. Red Bull, Under Armour, PWC and sports video game publisher 2K are among those that Excel’s Brand Marketing division has worked with.
Excel, whose clients include Tiger Woods and Derek Jeter, will bring Game Seven’s creative, digital and experiential practices under its umbrella, but the newly acquired agency will retain its name. Co-founders Justin and Matt Leonard, who opened their shop in 2010, will continue to run Game Seven together and retain a minority stake in the company. Further financial details were not disclosed.
The acquisition is part of Excel’s broader effort to transform its business “from a sports consultancy into a modern brand marketing agency focused on sports, entertainment and culture,” Tuck said. Burch, head of brand marketing at Excel.
“To do that, there are a few areas where you really [have] to focus your attention on specialty offerings,” Burch said. “We did that in the data analytics and measurement space last year and needed to strengthen our creative and digital strategy and experiential marketing capabilities. Game Seven has just been an incredible agency at this respect and suited us perfectly culturally.
In 2021, Excel acquired data analytics and partnership assessment company Block Six Analytics. The agency also launched a new media division, expanded to original programming and branded content as well as media talent representation. More recently, Excel hired veteran agent Erin Kane as vice president of women’s sports to bolster its work in this area.
For Game Seven, the goal is to accelerate growth by leveraging both Excel’s reach and the company’s infrastructure.
“We have been an independent boutique for 12 years; we have an incredible client list; we’ve been blessed with year-over-year growth since our inception,” said Justin Leonard. “But this acquisition unlocks [an] ability for us to evolve far beyond what we could have done on our own. We are an agency that has traditionally relied on organic growth, word of mouth. We never really had a commercial department or a development function for the agency. …have the other functions around the business that Excel does so well [help us] scale beyond what we were able to do individually.