Established in 1989, SME provides branding and design solutions across industries such as sports, entertainment, fashion and technology. The company has headquarters on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, and has built branding for a long client list that includes Major League Baseball (MLB), as well as more than half the member clubs in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). In 2004, SME was approached by FIFA and Adidas, which lead to its involvement in Major League Soccer (MLS) and wider efforts to promote European football in the US.
“Our founders believed that great agency work and branding should aspire to the standards of great art, to inspire people to brand awareness and loyalty,” says Fred Popp, Chief Executive at SME’s UK subsidiary Teamup Co. “From players to teams to leagues, we support the biggest names in American sport. When we were approached by FIFA and Adidas about promoting European football in the US we welcomed the challenge of securing MLS’s place in a highly competitive market.”
Sector: Sports Marketing
Country: United States
As SME approached its 30th anniversary, the company sought greater access to the variety of sports and competitions in Europe and around the world.
“Sport is a major focus for us and with all the events going on in Europe this was a key target market,” says Fred. “Teaming up with UKTI and Think London was critical to our smooth landing. As well as all their practical support with setting up the business in London, UKTI gave us details of upcoming UK sporting events such as the 2012 London Olympics and the 2013 Rugby World Cup, as well as competitive sport at a national level.”
Kicking off the business
“UKTI was absolutely terrific as a sounding board, especially as my usual support network back in the US was in another time zone,” says Fred. “Thanks to our connection with UKTI, when we caught the US media spotlight at the London Olympics, we did so as a successful business that had built a foundation with major UK sports clubs. We have continued to work with UKTI in Europe and Brazil, and are proud to support their work helping companies from overseas explore the potential for their business in the UK. Undoubtedly UKTI has been and will be an integral fixture in our growth plans going forward.”