Former Vizeum CEO Duncan Pointer joins sports digital agency to grow APAC ops

Duncan Pointer, former Vizeum Asia Pacific CEO, has been appointed managing director of sports digital agency Mailman Group’s Asia Pacific division, excluding China. Mailman Group currently works with some of the biggest clubs and sporting bodies across the region such as Chelsea FC, Paris St. Germain, Juventus and UFC.

In line with Mailman Group's continued global expansion, Pointer (pictured), who is based in Singapore will drive business growth and client services across the region excluding China, leading a team of more than 50 across Singapore, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. According to Mailman Group, the region has in the recent years become a key focus area for international sports organisations and brands looking to build global media businesses. Building on the trend, the Shanghai-based agency expanded into Asia Pacific in 2019 with a Singapore office and presence in eight key regions. Earlier in 2020, it also opened its first North American office as part of a global expansion and mission to become the world’s leading digital sports agency and consultancy.

Pointer has been in Singapore for the last eight years, having relocated with Dentsu International in 2013, and was charged with growing the Vizeum network across the region. After leaving Dentsu, Pointer joined LanciaConsult, a global management consultancy where he helped launch its marketing solutions offering, advising clients on how media, creative and martech could help grow their businesses.

Andrew Collins, CEO Mailman Group: “We are bringing in someone from outside our industry to reshape the business model for global sports across Asia Pacific. Pointer has the regional expertise, attention to data and internal drive to deliver fresh thinking with our clients as they expand their audiences here. It’s game on."

Meanwhile, Pointer said Mailman Group has been remarkably resilient throughout the pandemic given sports fans have always been kept up to date and entertained via digital channels. Hence, the pandemic did not really change the sports experience for Asian fans. In his new role, Pointer plans to help the agency scale the core digital business outside of China, as well as introduce consulting services to its clients in the region. 

He added: “To work at a digital sports agency has always been an ambition of mine, so the chance to join Mailman Group was an opportunity I could not pass up. With Mailman Group's global expansion plans, and specifically the huge potential we see in Asia Pacific, we are scaling our business in the region to help clients reach and engage new audiences.”

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What challenges do you foresee the team to encounter in a fragmented market such as APAC?

Pointer: One of the biggest challenges for brands, sporting bodies or clubs is how to provide local relevance. We have a network of people on the ground creating locally relevant content to help our clients achieve their goals across the region.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What is your business strategy for 2021? Are you pitching for local clients or bringing global clients to APAC?

Pointer: We will look to achieve both; we have opportunities for geographical expansion with our global client base, and we will look tactically at how we work with key local clients. We are also expanding our esports capabilities as well as our data & analytics consulting services.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some trends marketers should take note of this year?

Pointer: We will continue to see sports organisations looking to diversify revenue with eCommerce central to that. I also think we will continue to see agreements between governing bodies and social platforms, such as the recently announced UFC and TikTok partnership.

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