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Spectacle Partners: Richard Conway and Scott Bowers launch new global sports and entertainment reputation advisory firm

Spectacle Partners: Richard Conway and Scott Bowers launch new global sports and entertainment reputation advisory firm

  • Sport, media and music industry leader, Simon Bazalgette, appointed Chair

Thursday 12th May 2022 – Two of the leading reputation advisers in sport and entertainment – Scott Bowers (left) and Richard Conway (right) – have joined forces to launch Spectacle Partners, a new global advisory firm focused on supporting the reputations of organisations, brands and individuals operating in the sport and entertainment industries.

Spectacle’s Managing Partner, Scott Bowers, is currently the award-winning Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for one of the UK’s largest sports and entertainment businesses, The Jockey Club, and was previously Head of Sport at international PR firm, Weber Shandwick, where he worked on Olympic bids, Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League Finals, UEFA Euros, Rugby World Cup and for major brands including Mastercard, L’Oréal and Coca-Cola.

Richard Conway, joint Managing Partner, spent close to two decades as a journalist, most recently as the BBC’s Sport News Correspondent. He was twice named SJA Broadcast Journalist of the Year. Since leaving the Corporation in 2019 he has provided reputation counsel and support to a range of blue-chip clients in the sports industry. This includes the organisers of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, a project he remains committed to and will see through to completion later this year.

Spectacle will be Chaired by sports, media and music industry veteran, Simon Bazalgette, whose management advisory and investment firm, Global Venue Services (GVS), is backing the new venture. Additionally, Bazalgette is currently an Independent Director of the 72-club English Football League (EFL) and a Member of NSPCC’s Sports Board. He was formerly Chief Executive of The Jockey Club and of Europe’s first digital music business, Music Choice Europe, and founding Executive Chairman of Racecourse Media Group. He was also Senior Independent Director of the London 2017 World Athletics and Para-athletics Championships. At the start of his career he spent nearly 10 years at KPMG specialising in international media and entertainment consulting.

Scott Bowers said:
“Richard and I have launched Spectacle because we’re excited to support organisations and individuals in sport and entertainment to achieve fantastic reputations amongst the audiences that matter to them and their success. We are grateful to have foundation clients and handpicked team members to meet those challenges. We’d love to make a difference to the sector in the years ahead, working in real partnership with in-house teams, having walked in those shoes myself.”

Richard Conway said:
“We’re thrilled to be launching Spectacle and we’re ready to start meeting the complex needs of our clients from day one. Scott and I have many years of experience from working on many major spectacles, from a variety of different perspectives. We’ve pretty much seen it all! We can’t wait to get started and apply our knowledge and expertise.”

Simon Bazalgette said:
“I’ve worked closely with Scott over the last 10 years or so and I know the strategic value he adds to the Boards and businesses he works with. I’ve also got to know Richard well in that time and at the BBC he demonstrated his ability to draw out the key issues faced in sport and, more recently, how to address them when he crossed the aisle to work on the comms side. They both have strong reputations across sport and entertainment for the wisdom and insight they offer, and by joining forces in Spectacle, the sector will be able to benefit from the value they will add to their clients. I’m proud to be appointed the first Chair of Spectacle and privileged to be working alongside such prodigious talents as Scott and Richard.”

Spectacle has also revealed aspects of commitments it is making to its client partners.
Explaining this, Bowers added:

“We also wanted to announce three of Spectacle’s Client Promises today. First, we will not promote ourselves off the back of our clients partners and so we won’t be publishing client lists or case studies. Second, hourly billing undermines the value and business impact of reputation. Our discussions with client partners will be about what it takes to achieve their desired
outcomes, not billing them hourly for how long it takes us to provide important counsel, create a killer idea or send a WhatsApp the Head of Sky News. Third, we guarantee hand-picked consultants to work on each brief based on their expertise and experience, as opposed to ‘who has capacity to fill’. I’ve worked in agencies and as a client, and the Spectacle team is committed to doing things differently where needed.”

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Richard Conway – Managing Partner
Richard Conway was a familiar face and voice across the BBC for close to a decade, reporting on the biggest sports news stories and events across TV, radio and online.

He was named SJA Broadcast Journalist of the Year in 2015 and 2017 primarily for his work on the crisis within FIFA and a range of exclusive stories across multiple sports.

Previously he was a senior producer at Sky News working in-studio and on the road with the channel’s presenters. He started his media career as a current affairs producer at ITV.

For the past three years, Richard has advised and worked with some of the leading names and organisations in global sport, focusing on reputation, communications and policy issues.

Scott Bowers – Managing Partner
Scott Bowers is one of the UK’s best-known communications professionals working on reputation in sport, entertainment and leisure, with two decades of experience in-house and consultancy side.

For the last decade he led corporate affairs and communications as a senior executive at one of the UK’s largest sports, venues and music businesses, The Jockey Club, where he was Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. In this time The Jockey Club doubled its revenues, attracted record crowds to the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and The Derby Festival, and the in-house
team he built won PR Week and PRCA Awards.

Previously he was Head of Sport at global PR firm, Weber Shandwick. He led multi awardwinning international communications programmes for Tokyo and Sochi Olympic bids and represented clients including Mastercard, L’Oréal and Coca-Cola.

Today Scott is a Member of the University of Oxford’s Global Corporate Affairs Council, a Non-Executive Director of Great British Racing and the Welsh Rugby Players Association and an Ambassador for Cardiff University’s School of Journalism. He regularly judges the Sport Industry Awards, Leaders Sports Awards and PR Week Awards.

Simon Bazalgette – Chair
Simon Bazalgette is a leader with experience spanning four decades in the sport, music and media industries. He is Chair and Co-Founder of GVS (Global Venue Services), the management consulting and investment services firm. His fellow co-founders of GVS are Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of GVS and previously Jockey Club Racecourses, the Founder and former Managing Director of Investec Bank, Bernard Kantor, and Global Head of Sport at Pinsent Masons, Trevor Watkins.

Simon Bazalgette was Chairman of the largest UK racecourse operator for 11 years, and Group Chief Executive of its owner, The Jockey Club. Prior to this he was the founding Executive Chairman for Racecourse Media Group, the start-up venture created to manage the media rights of more than 30 racecourse businesses, which now generates more than £100 million per annum. He was previously Chief Executive of Music Choice Europe, the first digital broadcaster in Europe, which was jointly owned by three major music groups and BSkyB. Bazalgette is an independent Non-Executive Director of the EFL, and was the Senior Independent Director of the successful London 2017 World Athletics and Para-Athletics Championships. At the start of his career he spent nearly 10 years at KPMG specialising in international media and entertainment consulting.