A partnership like no other
In 2018 Mailman partnered with Seven League to establish a global sport digital consultancy and agency. Our mission is clear. To help leaders in sports build a global digital media business.
Founded in 1999, Mailman was an early pioneer in China's media and advertising landscape. Before tweets and likes, Mailman was delivering postcard media throughout China's bustling restaurants and bars. Australian entrepreneur Andrew Collins acquired Mailman in 2007. It was a fledgling media company just ripe for change. China was on the move, digital was starting to take shape and the people were starting to get active.
By 2009 we had delivered the final postcard and began designing rich digital media campaigns for global travel and sports organisations. Liverpool FC were the first global football team to embrace China and became our first international client ahead of their summer tour.
The Chinese digital landscape continued to thrive. The youth were beginning to embrace all sports and we hardened our focus on solving bigger digital problems for leading sports and travel organisations. With fresh talent joining, broader services and investment from leading Chinese institutions we led the industry forward. This included successfully delivering work for over 50 global sporting pioneers, including NFL, NHL, UFC, Kobe Bryant, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and more.
In 2016 we began engaging founder Richard Ayers of Seven League, UK, about the prospect of developing a global platform for sports organisations to build bigger businesses digitally. Seven League were a leader across Europe and with Mailman's positioning in China, after some courtship both parties agreed to a partnership. In 2017 Mailman acquired Seven League. With shared values and a commitment towards leadership in the industry, we're now charged with delivering on our global offering.
Mailman / Seven League now have over 200 experts across 50 global markets with offices in London, Shanghai, Singapore & Indonesia. We strive for greatness across all things digital in sports, helping the world's leaders in sport make better decisions everywhere it counts.
To help save sports.
Helping sports become global media and entertainment companies
Mailman and Seven League believe in the power of sport for good in binding communities, building healthy societies and creating shared meaning.
It is this power that has built a thriving global sports industry that now needs to adapt to a new media reality and a whole new set of audiences, who have different needs and express their passions in new ways.
Sport was first a community activity, and then we built a business around it. We are now entering a third age of sport. An age of balance between commercialisation and community. It is an age of limitless opportunity but one in which we can no longer rely on having the undivided attention of fans.
In order for sports organisations to continue thriving and to continue connecting with their audiences, they will need to become media and entertainment businesses.
They will need to understand audiences like never before so that they can create direct-to-fan experiences that continue to drive passion and participation.
We exist to help sports organisations transition into high-functioning media organisations fit to do business in this third age of sport.
New media, new stories, new ways of connecting
Humans have always told stories and always played games. Competition and narrative will never go away, but traditional sports don’t have an innate ‘right to win’.
New delivery media are changing how content is packaged and consumed. It has never been easier to reach audiences, but the attention and trust of audiences has never been harder to win and sustain.
Audiences don’t want to be owned. They increasingly want their digital activities to be private and respected but they also want to be understood and delighted.
New markets, new audiences
In both East & West content consumption is mediated by large platforms and their ecosystems. Sport must understand when to leverage and partner with these platforms and when to follow its own course.
While global macro-politics may be creating two internets, in truth we have a world of many internets with audiences in multiple locations expecting customised experiences and localised content.
Audiences demand local nuance in content and so growing a sport brand requires a global/local approach. This is complex to implement but rewards those that can achieve it.
New technologies, new expectations
Device proliferation and ubiquitous computing and hardware developments like 5G, mean that user behaviours and expectations are rapidly accelerating.
And yet, the sport industry is frequently complacent. Too often it starts with the assumption that audiences are fans. Of course, by nurturing and serving audiences, fans can be won and retained. However, sport can no longer assume fandom is a guaranteed commodity to be leveraged.
Audiences want frictionless experiences and compelling narratives – sport must deliver both.
New business models, new opportunities
Sport rights have brought riches to many leagues, federations and teams, often at the expense of wide exposure. This has affected the reach that sponsor brands can achieve, jeopardised grassroots participation and reduced awareness.
Sports of all sizes – those looking to grow their audiences and those with global aspirations – need to think and act more like media businesses.
That is why Mailman and Seven League have built a unique capability to achieve this transition globally, at scale. In short, we exist to help sports organisations become global media businesses.