TRM Partners Two Circles

Two Circles Acquires TRM Partners, Establishes Rights Management Function

November 16, 2020

Two Circles, the Sport Industry Agency of the Year, has acquired TRM Partners, the world’s leading independent sports rights-sales business. Since 2014, TRM has been responsible for $700m in deals for sports rights-owners including the NFL, UEFA, ICC, Chelsea FC and AC Milan.

TRM was founded by former Manchester United commercial executives Harry Horsley and Leo Thompson as a pioneering, premium white-label sales resource and over the last six years has been responsible for landmark sports sponsorship deals including Yokohama’s record five-year partnership with Chelsea FC, and Visa and Pepsi’s ground-breaking UEFA women’s football partnerships.

Since Covid-19 hit this spring, TRM has also secured six deals worth a combined $50m – including Vodafone’s three-year title sponsorship of Test cricket in Australia – and renewed long-term agreements with UEFA, AC Milan and the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E team.

Two Circles, a Bruin Sports Capital company, helps over 300 leading sports rights-owners including the NFL, UEFA, Premier League, F1, World Rugby and Wimbledon use data analytics around sports fan behaviour to drive commercial growth and capitalise on the shift in media consumption to digital channels.

Two Circles will integrate TRM within the business through the creation of a Rights Management function that will build on TRM’s core commercial sales offering with the addition of data-driven, digitally-led sponsorship rights propositions that drive significant incremental revenue for sports rights-owners globally. Harry Horsley and Leo Thompson will serve as Co-Presidents of the Two Circles Rights Management vertical.

Gareth Balch, CEO of Two Circles, said: “TRM has created a pioneering rights-sales capability, successfully marketing the unique emotion of sport to drive commercial results for rights-owners and record impact for brands. By adding in data-driven, digitally-led rights propositions, we will take sponsorship into a new era. We’ve known for years that sports sponsorship is on the cusp of being rewired. Now we will rewire it.”

Harry Horsley and Leo Thompson added: “By combining our proven sales approach with Two Circles’ delivery of targeted and measurable digital audiences at scale, we’re going to demonstrate – in a more compelling, data-driven way than ever – why sports sponsorship is the most effective marketing channel for brands. Our new marketing proposition will deliver greater impact for brands, and significant incremental revenue for the sports industry.”

Two Circles has also acquired a majority stake in RugbyX, the World Rugby-approved 5v5 format of the sport founded by TRM. RugbyX features men’s and women’s international players competing on an equal platform, with equal pay, and debuted in 2019 at London’s O2 Arena. It will be expanded globally from 2021. 

Commenting on the deal, George Pyne, Founder and CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, said: “The growth of the sports marketing industry will be directly correlated to a marketer’s ability to definitively quantify the value of an investment across an ever-growing set of platforms. Two Circles has just put itself at the forefront of all of this by creating an end-to-end, data-driven resource for sponsors and properties to create value and transparency for marketing programs that few can match.” 

TRM Partners Two Circles