Jesse Kehoe – Partnership Manager @ Prism Sport & Entertainment

1. Before we dive into your role at Prism Sport & Entertainment, what has your career journey looked like so far?

My career journey thus far has been a bit of a whirlwind! After leaving school and focusing on sports coaching and video analysis for a bit, I quickly jumped into the business world whilst still studying at University, joining Uber (Eats) when they first launched in Australia as a Sales Executive. 

After a great eighteen months there, I wanted to gain as much experience as possible before graduating with internships at:

  • PwC Australia in Brand Experience,
  • Google in their Google Customer Solutions Team, and at 
  • Zoom Video Communications at the height of COVID in marketing and sales

Since then, I have jumped into the world of sports on the agency side at Prism Sport & Entertainment as a Partnerships Manager.

2. Transitioning into work, what the heck does a Partnership Manager @ Prism Sport & Entertainment do?

What is Prism Sport & Entertainment?

Prism Sport & Entertainment are WPP’s specialist Sports Marketing agency. Prism is a 360 agency helping clients drive growth by engaging with sport and entertainment audiences. 

For 25 years, Prism has worked to help unlock consumer passion and sponsorship effectiveness for brands all around the world.

What do Partnership Managers do at Prism Sport & Entertainment?

As an Partnership Account Manager, you are responsible for having a deep understanding of your client’s business and challenges and have the ability to efficiently manage multiple projects, relationships and stakeholders at the same time. 

You need to have a passion for sport and entertainment and an informed understanding of the sports industry as a whole across multiple channels.

What does your role specifically entail?

The main role of a partnerships account manager will see you managing the sponsorship portfolios of clients and dealing directly with rights holders to ensure these rights are adhered to and delivered. 

For me, the main clients I work on are KFC, BP, and Hasbro (NERF) which sees me deal with the NRL, Cricket Australia, Supercars, West Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles, and the Penrith Panthers to name a few on any given day. 

On top of that, there are plenty of ideation and propositions of projects, providing sponsorship advice, budget planning, contract negotiation and third party supplier management to name a few.

3. What’s a campaign you’ve worked with on in your currently role and how have you helped bring them to life?

Campaign Name: KFC Big Bucket
Creative Example:

What was it?

KFC has been an official sponsor of the National Rugby League for many years, investing significantly in NRL programs over the tenure of the partnership and supporting the continued growth and success of the sport in Australia.  

KFC wanted to create a memorable and visual activation during the 2021 Finals Series that could be the envy of all NRL fans either in the stadium or watching from home.  

The brief was to bring this to life in the form of an at-match unique and engaging VIP experience for NRL fans to enjoy the game. 
Being 6 metres tall, the Big Bucket was impossible to miss, and with an audience of 3.2M People Nationally.​ watching the Grand Final, the activation generated some unbelievable media value results for KFC.

What was your role?

In collaboration with the NRL and KFC’s wider agency village, consisting of Ogilvy, Geometry, OPR and Mediacom; Prism helped to drive the project overall. This involved a variety of stakeholder management with the added challenges of state border restrictions at the time adding pressure to timelines and outcomes.

4. What do the entry level pathways into a media agency look like?

Media agencies and media groups in general are always on the hunt for new talent at whichever level, especially after they land some huge clients. I would always keep an eye out in the news to keep tabs on what agencies are up to to get a gauge on when they would be hiring and go from there. 
From an entry level standpoint, a lot of agencies these days have graduate programs that get you in early and the progression pathways from there are often super clear and they are always keen to look long term to retain you.

What about for a Partnership Manager role?

I would definitely recommend getting into sport as soon as you can if the sports partnerships side of the business jumps out to you. 

The great thing about this role is that there is no one-way of getting there; you use a variety of different learnings, business skills and sports knowledge in the role everyday so that a person with any sort of background can thrive if they have the right attitude and work ethic.

What are the other specialisations at Prism?

We build connections in six key areas: 

1. Strategy & Market Insights – As part of the wider WPP and GroupM family, we have access to the most comprehensive data libraries on the planet. With deep industry knowledge and access to relevant category and consumer insights, we can provide: 

  • Partnership strategy & frameworks 
  • Partnership audits & analysis
  • Creative ideation
  • Measurement & evaluations 
  • Go-to-market reviews

2. Property Evaluation – Our market-leading Connected Sponsorship™ tools allow us to tap into extensive data to help select, compare, and value sponsorship properties

3. Activation & Implementation – Our award-winning Activation team are productive, informative and champion sponsorship effectiveness. We believe in ongoing measurement to ensure sponsored assets and properties are constantly working toward objectives and outcomes.  

4. Negotiation – We have over 25 years experience in negotiating deals both internationally and locally, driving positive outcomes for both client and rights holder.

5. Talent – We have experience working with some of the worlds biggest sport and entertainment talent. Our integrated approach using both our Creative Systems team and Talent Identification™ tool to align talent to a wider sponsorship and marketing strategy allows us to be diligent, informative and productive.

6. Rights & Commercial  – With extensive relationships across APAC in sport, entertainment, events and other traditional rights holders. We’re able to quickly understand what constitutes a good deal. As a result, we’re able to help and secure partnerships that deliver positive business outcomes.

5. What’s one thing you recommend someone who wants to work in a media agency do right now?

One great piece of advice I got around the sports industry, but can definitely be replicated into media agencies as well is that especially at this age when you are trying to figure out which side of the landscape you want to hop into; whether it be brand-side, agency-side, or rights holder/publisher etc., is that agency is generally the best option

Agency side (and I can certainly attest to this) opens you up to so much learning through dealing with different brands and clients, a variety of different rights holders, and enables you to grow a lot more relationships across the industry as a whole. 

As opposed to potentially being pigeon holed if you take another road, spending your first bit of time on the agency side will allow you to see what everything looks like from the inside and can then help aid your decisions further down your career path.

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