Hanover drops The Playbook in sports offer rebrand

Hanover Communications

Hanover Group has decided to consolidate its sports-related work under a new entity: Hanover Sport.

The Playbook, a creative agency launched by Hanover in 2016, will cease to exist as the group brings all of its sports work together in a new division.

The Hanover Sports offer combines the agency’s sporting expertise in the fields of brand storytelling, corporate communications, fan engagement, sponsorship activation and public affairs to provide a comprehensive sports comms offering.

Hanover sports

An agency spokesperson told PRWeek: “We recognised that across the Hanover group, specialist corporate, crisis and public affairs teams were delivering sports campaigns, so we are combining all of this expertise with the fan and brand storytelling work delivered by The Playbook across their sport accounts.

“Now, under Hanover Sport, we have a broader and more compelling communications offering which is suited to current clients’ needs and landscape.”

The rebranded sports division has been developed in recognition of the way that sport is “influencing entertainment, culture, purchasing, policy, community engagement, tourism and participation”.

Hanover has sporting clients such as National Football League (NFL) UK, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the British Horseracing Authority and StubHub International.

Previously the agency has worked with the likes of the Premier League, England and Wales Cricket Board, Sky Sports and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships.

Rebecca Hargreaves (pictured, above left), formerly a director at The Playbook, has been appointed director of Hanover Sport.

She has over 15 years’ experience working with brands in sport, having previously been at agencies such as The PHA Group, Fuse and Lexis, working across clients including Paddy Power, Tour de France, Carlsberg football and Barclays’ sponsorship of the Premier League.

Hargreaves will oversee Hanover Sport’s work, reporting to Hanover Group managing director Gary Cleland (pictured, above right).

She said: “Sport provides so much opportunity for brands to grow but the business of sport is complex, so you need to understand the ecosystem – from fans to journalists, leaders to policymakers.

“We understand this and, most importantly, know how to tell brand stories rooted in sport. By combining this expertise, we are able to partner with organisations and brands to really help them grow.”

Hanover Sport’s senior team will include comms experts such as Gavin Megaw, Hanover president, who has worked with The FA and Premier League; Khobi Patterson-Vallis, a director who supported ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Steph Lis, a director and former deputy press secretary to the Prime Minister; and Ceri Reed, Hanover’s group head of brand, who has led global campaigns for the likes of Nike and Puma.

With offices in London, Dublin, Brussels and the Middle East, Hanover Sport’s work will range from local activations to worldwide programmes.

“This is a strengthening of our global sport offering,” said Cleland. “2024 is a huge year in the world of sport, headlined by the Paris 2024 Olympics and UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany, and our sports team under Rebecca will have an industry-leading offer to design and deliver strategies that unlock insights, shape narratives, harness influencers, activate campaigns, navigate regulations and access markets.”


About Hanover
Hanover is one of Europe and Middle East’s leading strategic communications and public affairs consultancies, with offices in London, Brussels, Dublin, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Hanover Group has over 200 full-time employees across Europe and the Middle East. Hanover provides a full suite of communications services to clients in healthcare, financial services, technology, media, energy, urban mobility, FMCG & retail, and sport. Hanover is an AVENIR GLOBAL company.

AVENIR GLOBAL is a Montreal-based holding and management company with an active operations mindset and a hands-on approach to all its investments. A global powerhouse of specialist communications firms, AVENIR GLOBAL has 1,000 staff and offices in 22 locations across Canada, the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, and ranks among the top 25 largest communication firms in the world.

In Canada, AVENIR GLOBAL owns NATIONAL Public Relations, the country’s leading public relations firm, servicing clients across a wide range of sectors, and Time & Space, a leading insights, media strategy, and execution agency. In the United States, AVENIR GLOBAL owns SHIFT Communications, a data-driven integrated communications agency; and the public relations and communication company Padilla, which includes the brand consultancy Joe Smith and the food and nutrition experts at FoodMinds. In Europe, AVENIR GLOBAL owns the London-based strategic communications consultancy Madano and Hanover, one of the leading strategic communications and public affairs consultancies in Europe and the Middle East, with offices in London, Brussels, Dublin, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The AVENIR GLOBAL network also includes healthcare specialists AXON, with offices in Toronto, the U.S., the U.K. and Europe and healthcare creative agency Cherry, based in London.