Marcus Höfl has been in the sports business for over 20 years and is the founder of Marcus Höfl Management – MHM Majors. He markets personalities and events in an international environment and manages the global activation of sponsorship partnerships and sports investments. The main areas of activity are the areas of Olympic summer / winter sports, football and motor sports. The Playknox spoke with him to more about MHM and the current sports business landscape. Excerpts:
Tell us about MHM. Which all clients do you work with?
We do mange celebrities like Franz Beckenbauer, Maria Höfl-Riesch and Andrea Kaiser. We also work with companies like Lenovo and with leagues like Bundesliga and clubs like Hertha BSC to name a few. On top, we are invested in several sport startups and funds like leAD, Advantage, Hype and Say.
What are the challenges you have had to face due to COVID and how did you tackle them?
Our event business was hidden pretty hard since we had either to postpone our events or to organize them digitally. This led to reduced income on one hand but it also pushed our investments in digital companies on the other hand. Overall, we do hope that things come back to normal, and that people can visit sport events again as it was before.
How have the sports sponsorships/ sports business evolved?
COVID speeded up the process to more digitalization, what is good development. We will see a lot of innovation in sports in the upcoming years and we do see a bright future in this field. Therefore, we will strongly invest in new areas like esports and blockchain for example.
Since you also manage athletes, what is that like?
The athlete business will be more and more depending on the social media reach and interactivity that athletes have. This is the direct way to the fans and delivers the biggest income opportunity in the future. Therefore, we will also invest in this area.
What kinds of brands are athletes willing to associate with?
You still have the traditional sponsors of the big sport clubs and events, but also here, we can see more and more online and social media companies (i.e., Tiktok) being involved, as it was at the EURO 2020 and will also be at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. The digital and the traditional world is merging which is important for the sponsors since they want to approach the Generation Z.
How can brands sponsoring Tokyo 2020 better engage fans as no fans are allowed in the stadium now?
It can only work digitally via apps (for example Borussia Dortmund has a fan-app already), live streaming or social media, which will strengthen the overall development in that direction. But as we could see at the EURO 2020, nothing can replace the live experience and that people are eager to be back to the stadia. I desperately hope that we will come back to normal very soon!
Any expansion plans?
Yes, all plans are towards digital and in that field, we will probably do another 3-5 investments until the end of this year. We keep you updated on www.marcushoefl.com and on my social media channels @marcushoefl.
Lot of conversation is happening around inclusiveness. How important is it to you and your organisation?
In my opinion, sport has still a lot to improve if it comes to racism, diversity and also inclusion. But so does the whole society and sport has the big chance to create change, since there is only sports and music that bring together so many people from all over the world. However, I can see good developments and we all should do our best to support it! For example, my wife Maria currently supports the campaign “Show Us Equal”, an initiative of the German Olympic Sports Confederation for more equality in sports coverage.