Gary Webster, the Creative Director at award-winning sports marketing agency, Oporto Sports, took the time to discuss how his illustrious career began, what were the most insightful lessons he learnt from managing a diverse clientele alongside his forecasted thoughts on the future of sports content.
Question 1: Gary, thanks for joining me on this interview. How did your career in sport begin?
Whilst I was finishing my University degree in Digital Media, I applied for my first job in Leeds with ‘Brazilian Soccer Schools’ and managed to get it. It was a very quick introduction into the football industry, working with professional coaches and former world-class footballers in Sócrates, Careca and Lee Sharpe. I also became involved in running the co-owned non-league side Garforth Town, and experienced the business, administration and marketing aspects of running a football club.
Question 2: What are you responsible for in your role at Oporto Sports?
My title is Creative Director, but I manage the day-to-day running of the business, coordinating the staff where necessary, and providing some of the design/websites/social media assets for the company and clients.
Question 3: What are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt from working with various clients?
Although the majority of our clients are within the sports industry, they do vary between individuals, private companies, and governing bodies. Therefore they all have different requirements in not only their work but also the level of detail in the briefs that you can get and the turnarounds. The challenge is trying to refine the process of the brief to sign-off, to make the turnarounds as efficient for the client, within the budget and for our own workloads. Also, a lot of the work is seasonal, so trying to ensure the workloads are as balanced as possible throughout the year is something we always need to bear in mind.
Question 4: From your perspective, what makes an effective content strategy?
I always feel that whilst you want to aim for a really positive impact, it needs to be within a realistic return of investment. I’ve participated in some very elaborate campaigns in football (such as kit launches), but some of the times I have felt that you could invest and risk less outlay on more subtle marketing and media streams, and certainly in more timely fashion. I think the growth of TikTok and some clubs getting their players providing the videos/promo have proved that sometimes less is more especially if you end up with just as effective campaigns for less resource.
Question 5: What have been the biggest challenges that have benefitted your career thus far?
Starting out with just my business partner and a few contacts after a few years’ out of University, within the recession of 2009, taught us quite quickly how competitive the sports industry can be without the contacts and leads. However, self-promotion with our own Leicester focussed sports publication soon helped us open doors. That discipline of self-promotion and speculating has kept with us and is something we try and advise to clients, rather than the typical, passive advertising methods.
Question 6: How do you see content creation in sport changing in the future?
Witnessing first-hand how increasingly successful bite-sized media is with my kids, I feel that accessibility will be key. Future generations want more tailored content at convenient times, so the success of streaming platforms is just the start. It’s going to lead to content that is adaptable and interactive – maybe not full metaverse just yet, but individuals and organisations will need to provide more varied content that can be selected and adapted to more detailed preference levels. Quality will probably need to subside to quantity, but I think future generations won’t mind this if they get a great more targeted content without having to search for it.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Gary, let me know what your most insightful part of this feature was!