In the latest instalment of Industry Insider we spoke the Senior Marketing Manager at Fnatic, Edward Gregory about his career in sport, what he’s looking forward to, best advice and much more.
Sit back and enjoy edition #216…
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Edward Gregory and I am Senior Marketing Manager at Fnatic, having previously held partnership roles in the commercial team since joining the organisation in 2019. My marketing remit is looking after all things Partnerships (activating our roster of partners), Esports (tournament campaigns, player announcements, year-narratives), Apparel (new product launches, both Fnatic brand and collabs) & Digital Items (Web2 & Web3 in game items).
Prior to joining Fnatic I was CEO of sports agency Accelerate Sport in Cape Town South Africa. While I was there we were nominated for Agency of the year, compiled the successful bid for the Netball World Cup (being hosted in Cape Town this year), re-launched 3 dormant SA Opens (Surfing, Squash and Seniors Tour Golf) and more, punching above our weight in the SA Sponsorship industry.
What do you do in your current role?
My role is to ensure that all marketing we are doing at Fnatic involves all the pillars I look after, therefore ensuring that we are pushing out messaging that is all aligned and maximises the opportunity for impact.
This involves everything from initial ideation, to briefing, brainstorming, campaign strategy, content creation, distribution, launching of each campaign and finally reporting on it to learn and elevate our next one.
Within the role I also manage a team across all those pillars, with each focussing on a specific area.
“Normal” isn’t a thing in sport so what does an “average” week look like for you?
It may be cliche, but I would say no two weeks are the same. However if I look at where the consistency is. I like to front load my week with lots of meetings on Mondays so that I can get a gauge of what the key priorities for the week are and free up some time for getting stuff done and meetings that no doubt get scheduled.
On average we will usually have at least one content shoot per week, whether related to an apparel drop, pro-gaming or partners which I will try and be on set for. While the rest of the week is spent campaign and strategy planning, assessing new opportunities, ideating for upcoming releases and importantly also ensuring I spend time looking after my team’s progression.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I think if you ask my friends and family they will probably say I was never going to end up anywhere else. However I think I was around 16 when I realised the multitude of careers available within sport and decided that whatever I did I needed to be in the industry.
I ended up Majoring in Economics and Organisational Psychology for my undergrad, but then did an honours degree in Business Management with a focus on Sport. It was during that honours year where I completed multiple internships and ultimately found my way into a role within the industry.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
Personally, it is about ensuring I deliver the highest quality work I can by maximising all the phenomenal people I work with at Fnatic. I don’t pretend to be an expert in everything and ensuring that I optimise the talent within Fnatic is key to me being able to deliver the best campaigns and content.
Can you tell us about a time you failed and what you learned from it?
During my time at Accelerate Sport, one of the weekends of the Netball Premier League, we installed the wooden sprung floor on top of rubber flooring covering an ice-rink.
All was great and tested the night before the event, however when we returned the next morning the cold had created condensation on top of the floor and made it slippery and unsafe for play. With some heating, constant surface checks & wiping we managed to get through the first day and then sorted it overnight for the rest of the 3 weeks of competition.
It was there that I learned, that even if you think you have thought of everything, that events always have the potential to throw up an issue, but with calm heads and coming together, anything can be solved.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
Contrary to some of the negative news around disinvestment in sponsorship, etc. I think there is so much to be excited about in the industry. We have incredible talent entering the space all the time and I’m excited to see what new people will bring to the industry.
But for me, the thing I am so excited for is to see how brands, rights holders, broadcasters, etc. innovate the fan experience. I believe through the Covid period digital engagement advanced so fast, but yet fans still yearn for physical events and therefore how those two are merged is going to be very interesting going forward and I think there will be some major industry innovations.
If you could change one thing about your Industry, what would you change?
I think we can always aim to have better representation. The sports industry is certainly one that is transforming, but there is still plenty of room for improvement on that side of things.
The other thing is more paid internships. I don’t think there are enough on offer to encourage people to get into the space, rather relying on people’s passions and desire to get into the industry as a reason to not pay interns but ultimately losing out on talent who can’t afford to not receive remuneration.
Sport is a hectic industry, what do you do to switch off?
Embarrassingly, more sport. Playing (Football, Golf, Squash,Tennis, Cricket, Rugby) and watching sport (pretty much anything) are the ways I switch off.
But outside of that, travelling and spending time with friends always help the mind switch off.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Don’t limit yourself to trying to get into the industry through your sport passions. There are so many ways to get into the industry and no-matter where you enter it, you will find that all sports share so many similar traits and you will love it. Those skills you learn will be transferable across sports, esports and even further into entertainment and events.
The industry is so dynamic that there will always be opportunities to work in your dream roles, but getting into the industry, learning what it takes and understanding it can be done through so many avenues.
I joined an agency knowing nothing about Netball and to this day I am a massive advocate and fan of the sport.
How to connect with Edward Gregory…
Thanks for reading our chat with Edward Gregory! If you want to read more from our Industry Insider series, you can do so by clicking here.