June 27, 2005 06:30 ET

Burson-Marsteller and Helios Partners Join Forces to Drive Global Olympic and Sports Marketing Opportunities

BRUSSELS, Belgium--(CCNMatthews - Jun 27, 2005) -

Burson-Marsteller and Helios Partners today announced an exclusive Olympic and Sports Marketing strategic business relationship which brings together the unrivalled Olympic heritage of one of the world's leading global public relations and public affairs agencies and one of the sports industry's most experienced teams in international sponsorship and marketing communications.

The joint venture will be led by Jeremy Galbraith, CEO, Burson-Marsteller Brussels, Terrence Burns, President and CEO of Helios Partners and Frank Craighill, Chairman of Helios Partners.

In recognition of the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Helios team will also collaborate very closely with Burson-Marsteller Asia Pacific, teaming-up with Regional CEO, Bill Rylance, and Managing Director, Bryan Matthews, both of whom bring extensive experience working inside Olympic and soccer World Cup Organising Committees in Asia.

The combined experience of Helios Partners and Burson-Marsteller will secure ongoing Olympic and sports marketing business opportunities across the latter's global network. Helios Partners has worked extensively with the International Olympic Committee, Olympic Games Organising Committees, Sport Federations, Sports Leagues and corporate sponsors while Burson-Marsteller provides a seamless worldwide network of public relations and public affairs specialists with a proven track record in Olympic public relations support for bid campaigns, organising committees and Olympic sponsorship.

"Winning and successfully implementing global Olympic and sports marketing programmes today requires an in-depth understanding of the sports industry and its key players. Terrence and Frank have demonstrated an intimate knowledge of both dimensions and Burson-Marsteller is excited to join forces with them to provide our clients with an unparalleled team of senior management consultants that deliver tangible results," said Thomas R. Nides, President & CEO Worldwide, Burson-Marsteller.

Burson-Marsteller and Helios Partners will focus on developing new business opportunities and relationships with Olympic sponsors and future bid cities around the world.

The 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver have already created significant interest and business opportunities for both parties in corporate sponsorship and brand development - and Burson-Marsteller is uniquely placed given its position as the number one public relations agency in both China and Italy while its affiliate, National PR, is ranked number one in Canada. Burson-Marsteller China is establishing a dedicated practice supporting clients who are sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

"Over the past 35 years working in the sports management and marketing industry, I've learned that sponsors have to link sponsorship rights and benefits to their existing corporate goals and objectives in order to connect with their consumers on an emotional level - and nothing provides that emotional connection better than sports," said Frank Craighill, Chairman of Helios Partners. "Burson-Marsteller offers a global team of knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated individuals who, like us, are committed to quality and continuously developing new opportunities through tailored offerings and measurable outcomes. We are delighted to be a part of this remarkable team."

For the past 15 years Terrence Burns has built a long history in Olympic sponsorship and communications. Burns served as the Senior Vice President, Marketing Services for the International Olympic Committee's marketing agency where he was responsible for managing the marketing relationships with the IOC's global sponsors as well as brand development and management. Prior to his IOC duties, he managed the highly successful 1996 Atlanta Games sponsorship for Delta Air Lines. In 2000, he co-founded Helikon Media, which served as the chief communications strategists for the successful Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 Olympic bid campaigns. Burns left Helikon in 2003 to take the position of Managing Director Consumer Communications for NASCAR and subsequently launched Helios Partners with Frank in 2004.

Widely regarded as a leading authority and influential voice in Olympic sponsorship, Frank Craighill was part of the team that pioneered the modern approach to global Olympic sponsorship in the early 1980's which eventually led to the development of The Olympic Program (TOP). During the 1996 Atlanta Games, Advantage International, a firm he co-founded, managed the Olympic sponsorship plans for 10 sponsors. In 1970, Craighill co-founded ProServ, one of the world's first sports management firms. In 1983, he left ProServ to co-found Advantage International, where he served as Co-Chairman until it was acquired by the Interpublic Group in 1997 and renamed Octagon. He served as Octagon's first president, and in 2000, was appointed Deputy Chairman.

Together, Burns and Craighill have extensive experience with Olympic Organizing Committees including Atlanta, Nagano, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens and Beijing. In addition, they have worked with the Australian Rugby Union and the Football Federation of Australia.

Their collective Olympic consulting experience includes clients such as TNT China, Nissin Foods Japan, BHP Billiton, AT&T, General Motors, UPS, BMW, IBM, Motorola and Delta Air Lines.

Burson-Marsteller's Olympic experience dates back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where the firm managed the Torch Relay program for client AT&T. Burson-Marsteller already works with a number of companies who are Olympic TOP sponsors. Burson-Marsteller has worked on successful bid campaigns for both the Olympic Games and soccer World Cup.

About Burson-Marsteller

Burson-Marsteller (www.burson-marsteller.com), established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and public affairs firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and programme execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, advertising, and web-related services. The firm's seamless worldwide network consists of 44 wholly-owned offices and 49 affiliate offices, together operating in 57 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP Group plc (NASDQ: WPPGY), one of the world's leading communications services networks.

About Helios Partners

Helios Partners (www.heliospartners.com) is a sponsorship agency with a proven track record on both the "buy" and "sell" side of international sports marketing and sponsorship. The agency's mission is to provide sound, brand-based sponsorship and marketing communications services to a select number of domestic and international clients. The agency brings an unparalleled sponsorship and event marketing expertise, an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Olympic Movement and sponsorship, and an ability to understand and translate to clients brand objectives into marketing programmes.

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