Lewis Wiltshire | CEO of Seven League

Behind Sport
Jan 29, 2021

Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Lewis Wiltshire, CEO of Seven League talks to us about his career so far!

 

Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously? 

I’m Lewis Wiltshire, CEO of Seven League. We’re part of the global Mailman Group so I also lead Mailman in EMEA. I took on this role in 2020 having previously been a member of Seven League’s senior management team. Before Seven League I spent 5 years with Twitter. I was Twitter UK’s first head of sport, led sports partnerships for Twitter globally and then became Senior Director of Media Partnerships for the UK, MENA, Africa and other global markets. Prior to Twitter I was with BBC Sport for 11 years – as editor of the BBC Sport website, BBC Sport’s social media editor, and other roles.

 

What do you do in your current role?

Mailman is a global digital agency and consultancy. Seven League, which became part of the Mailman Group in 2018, provides digital services for clients such as the NBA, NHL, NFL, a range of Premier League and European football clubs, FIFA and UEFA, Sport England and many others. In short we do everything digital for some of the biggest names in the global sports industry.

Seven League

 

What does a normal week look like for you?

At the moment, working from home! Our team has been working from home since March 2020 so almost one year away from the office. It doesn’t make things easy but I’m very proud of the way the team has persevered and continued to provide work for our clients with absolutely no drop-off in volume or quality. Thank goodness for Zoom! So at the moment my week involves many hours in my office at home and getting out for a run as much as I can. 

 

How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?

I’ve been a sports fanatic for as long as I can remember. Football, American Football and Cricket were always on TV in our house growing up in the 80s. My Dad took me to Spurs for the first time in 1985 when I was 8 (lost to Aston Villa!) and like many kids I dreamed of being a professional footballer, but as soon as I realised that was unlikely, I switched my attention to becoming a sports journalist. I achieved the second one of those – the first was never likely! After starting out in newspapers as a sports reporter I joined the BBC and never imagined I would spend 11 years there. Then I had the opportunity to go to Twitter to lead its global partnerships around the London 2012 Olympics and ended up spending 5 years there, before joining Seven League.

 

What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?

So much! Athletes using their platform and using their voice is a big one – Marcus Rashford has been an inspiration. I would also say digital moving from the fringes of conversations in the sports industry to centre stage. We just published our trends report for 2021 which I’d strongly recommend that everyone read (https://www.mailmangroup.com/post/seven-trends-to-define-digital-sport-in-2021) – please give feedback and tell us your opinion!  

 

What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?

Making our clients successful. It’s what we do. We help Seven League clients figure out their objectives for digital, aligned with organisational vision and mission, and then we create a roadmap for that. In many cases we’re asked to deliver that plan ourselves, which is why on the agency side of our business we run digital and social media channels for some of the world’s biggest sports rightsholders.

 

In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about or focus on enough?
The most common mistake is to treat digital as a separated, siloed part of your business, with KPIs that only measure digital for the sake of digital. Digital is the best lever you have to achieve organisational objectives. If a CEO or CMO ever hears themselves saying that they don’t really understand digital but have clever people down the corridor who do, it’s probably going to fail. Fine to leave the clever people to execute the plan, but ensure that digital is central to what the business is trying to do, not an outlier down the corridor.

 

What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry? 

Hard work beats talent. Everyone wants hard-working and talented people in their organisation but if you can only have one of those things, you’d take the person who shows up every day with a smile on their face, ready to work hard, learn from their team-mates, and pass on what they know too (it’s a myth that learning is a one-way street; everyone can learn from everyone else). Also, most of us in the sports industry started out as fans but you have to keep that in check. It’s a professional industry – not paid fandom.

 

Any social links you want to plug?

Seven League is @7League on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. I’m @LewisWiltshire on all of those platforms. Stop by for a chat!

 

Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Lewis Wiltshire! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.

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