Summer of Sport

Sean Fitzpatrick, Andrew Strauss and Tanni Grey-Thompson give 200 industry guests an insight into a thrilling summer of sport

“As an All Black, to play against the Lions is the greatest honour. I played 92 Internationals and that jersey is my most special.” Sean Fitzpatrick, a former captain of New Zealand All Blacks, gave 200 guests at our London office a unique insight into the British & Lions brand. The 2017 squad, lead by coach Warren Gatland, will need to evoke the spirit of Carwyn James’ legendary 1971 side who are the only Lions team to win a series against the All Blacks, a group of men Fitzpatrick recalled “were our heroes”.
 
Joining Fitzpatrick on the panel for our Summer of Sport event was Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, the 11-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, and Andrew Strauss, the Director of England Cricket.

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With a number of brands, rights holders and governing bodies in attendance, it was fitting that Lord Sebastian Coe, our Executive Chairman, set the scene for the evening by speaking of the importance of creating “partnerships which are meaningful, memorable and measurable.”
 
Ahead of the panel discussion, our co-CEOs, Matt Vandrau and Jeff Shifrin outlined the reorganisation of our individual agencies under a single, unified brand. “It is a move which makes absolute sense for our clients and is the start of a momentous journey for the business” said Vandrau, who has spent the last 10 years leading CSM agency Essentially.
 
This summer, the world’s best converge on the Olympic Stadium for the biggest athletics and para athletics events in the UK since London 2012. Baroness Grey-Thompson explained that it was “a huge step forward for Paralympic Sport” to have the IPC and the IAAF World Championship’s alongside one another.

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With the Men’s England cricket team riding high in the shorter format of the game, Strauss highlighted the “extra pressure and expectation that comes with a global event in your own country” as the ICC Champions Trophy comes to UK shores. This summer also marks the “start of a generational change” of the Test Match team with Joe Root at the helm. Strauss believes that he is the “perfect man to lead” as England seek to conquer South Africa, the West Indies and win in Australia, the “holy grail of English cricket” according to the former England opening batsman who achieved this in 2010-11.
 
Vandrau, a former professional cricketer himself, asked Strauss whether the continued growth of T20 cricket, including a new city-based English equivalent to the Indian Premier League, could spell the end of the longer form of the game. “For the players, however much they earn in these T20 competitions, they still feel that Test Cricket is the ultimate test of you as a cricketer because not only does it test your shot-making ability, it tests your temperament, your courage and your resilience” was the response of a man with 21 Test Match hundreds to his name.
 
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Mass Participation is booming, which is why we launched an active lifestyle business, CSM Active, last year. It is also a sector which Baroness Grey-Thompson, a 6-time winner of the London Marathon, believes is essential to tackling a worrying national trend: “37,000 people die a year from being inactive in the UK, costing the nation 20-billion-pounds. If we don’t do something to get people being active, the National Health Service (NHS) will not be sustainable in its current form. We’ve got to look at participation in a whole new way.”
 
A significant challenge for the British & Irish Lions is unifying four nations, who are normally the fiercest of rivals, to create a winning environment. Fitzpatrick, a World Cup winner in 1987, shared his secret to successfully doing this: “You have to create that family environment where you look after each other, but you also criticise each other, challenge each other and then you get the performance that you’re looking for. You can’t afford to have people that aren’t working as hard as you. That is when they need to find another job.” A fascinating insight into a culture which has served the New Zealand All Blacks so well.
 
The event was broadcast live on Facebook and Twitter by our content team, reaching more than 150,000 people and receiving 65,000 views on the back of a targeted campaign by our marketing and social team. Watch the highlights here or tune-in to the full panel discussion here.

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