Jon Stainer moved to the U.S. in January to become the Managing Director of Nielsen Sports in the Americas. He previously led the Nielsen Sports team in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and provided guidance and advice to key clients such as the Premier League, City Football Group, European Tour, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank.
Before joining Nielsen Sports (previously Repucom), he worked at IFM Sports Marketing Surveys, where he was Deputy Managing Director, responsible for its domestic and international business. Jon has extensive experience managing project teams, notably at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups as well as the Salt Lake, Athens and Torino Olympics.
Q: While you are still settling in to a new role and a new home, can you tell us about some of the first impressions that stand out to you about the Nielsen Sports business in the Americas?
I’m really energized about the quality and diversity of our people. We’ve assembled a great team combining practical sports marketing experience from some of the biggest brands, teams and rights holders with senior level consultants, researchers and data analysts.
Combine this industry leading team with our sports and entertainment insights and Nielsen’s forensic view of the consumer and we’ve got a great formula to help our clients make great decisions around their sports and entertainment activities.
And, we’ve got 350+ clients to serve, develop and learn from and opportunities to grow in Mexico, Canada and Latin America. That’s hugely motivating and exciting for our team.
Q: What are some of the similarities and differences between the sports marketing landscapes in the U.S. and the U.K.?
So from a client perspective I’d say the challenges that our U.S. clients have are similar to those faced by our clients not just in U.K. but around our global business. Our brand clients are challenging us on the best way to measure ROI; manage their sponsorship portfolios; and activate rights across experiential and digital platforms. Our rights holder and team clients are focused on growth. So we think about how we best aggregate, analyse and activate data to support their commercial growth via media rights and sponsorships and their customer growth via fanbase expansion, loyalty and personalization.
When I think about the general landscape the major difference for me is the event spectacle. The UK is more focused on the sport itself, essentially the 2-hour game and generally that’s what the consumer has grown up on and is expecting. Over here it’s totally different, it really is ‘sportainment.’ You pause to catch breath and you’re hit by another sensory experience, a celeb appearance and a vendor enticing you to buy food and drink. It’s a real family atmosphere and it’s full of fun and for me that makes sense as we’re in the entertainment business.
Q: Describe your leadership style and what Nielsen Sports clients and associates can expect from you.
I should probably have one of my team answer this! Look, I think I bring a strong collaborative approach to leadership alongside just wanting to do better each day whether that’s for our clients, my people or the business generally. I like to connect personally and understand what makes people tick and this gives me good energy.
So, our clients and my team can expect great partnership from me and a commitment to continuous improvement as our clients’ businesses develop and as our team develops.
Q: Rumor has it you are a big fan of cricket, football (soccer) and lacrosse, do you have a traditionally “American” sport that is grabbing your attention lately?
I’m a big fan of all the traditional British sports – soccer, cricket and rugby. My passion for lacrosse comes from a Non-Exec position I held with English Lacrosse. I’m very proud of my time at the organization with our small team hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2017, which was won by Team USA!
Over here, I’m enjoying the NFL, NHL and NBA and I’m looking forward to the start of the MLS and MLB seasons this month and next. I’m also finding myself consuming niche events, like, The American. I was blown away by the prize money on offer; the broadcast coverage; and the attendance at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas last month. I’ll continue to keep track of the traditional European sports and I’m fascinated to see how Formula One, Soccer and Rugby will continue to grow their reach and saliency over here and how the more traditional ‘American’ sports will react to this competition.
Q: You must have some funny stories to tell about your new life in the U.S., how has the transition been personally?
I’m settling in well, thank you and the team have been great supporting my onboarding.
Funny stories, hmm…well broadly speaking I think that only about half of the stuff I say gets understood so I’m hoping it’s the good 50% that’s registering with people!
There have been a few challenges ordering food and drink – not sure why, but Coke (Coca-Cola) is a problem as is the word ‘small’. I spent about 5 minutes in New Britain, CT, trying to order a ‘small’ coffee. They thought I wanted a ‘smooth’ coffee – there was confusion all round.
I get confused with my gherkins and your pickles; your arugula salad and my rocket salad; my coriander and your cilantro and then there’s your mail and my post and my rubbish and your garbage!
Other than that, on a personal level I’m very much looking forward to my four kids and wife joining me in July.
Q: Finally, what is one thing you want Nielsen Sports clients to know about that “new guy from London?”
That he’s committed, willing to partner and keen to become an extended part of your team.
You can reach Jon via email at firstname.lastname@example.org