PLANO, Texas – Learfield continues to add capabilities to its array of services with the acquisition of SME, a New York City-based agency specializing in building brands. The announcement was made jointly by Learfield President and CEO Greg Brown and SME’s President and Chief Creative Officer Ed O’Hara.
“SME brings incredibly important strategic branding capabilities to Learfield. As we have continued to discuss with our clients their needs, they are clear that branding and creative expertise are at the heart of those needs,” said Brown.
The transaction, the terms of which are confidential, takes effect immediately. The company will continue to operate under the SME name and brand, and all current employees will remain with the firm. O’Hara will report to Learfield COO Marc Jenkins.
“This is a great day for SME! Learfield is the perfect partner to help us to reach our goals as well as those of our clients,” O’Hara noted. “With its support, resources and reach in the marketplace, SME will be able to broaden our services, deepen our relationships and provide our clients with more and better tools with which to build their brands successfully.”
SME recently completed a refresh of the Learfield brand, including a new identity package and logo design.
“SME did a fabulous job for us,” added Brown. “We know first-hand the great work SME does, and it’s easy to see the value they can bring to our clients and partners.”
SME was founded in 1989 and lists the Kentucky Derby, Atlanta Braves, America’s Cup, ACC, NY Yankees, Pac-12, University of Louisville, Miami Marlins, the NHL and the University of North Dakota among their current and legacy clients.
According to Jenkins, “SME’s expertise will be applied across the entire spectrum of Learfield’s business offerings, especially within the context of Learfield Licensing Partners to provide holistic brand management services. SME will continue to produce industry-leading work within the broader sports and entertainment industry.”
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. It manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for 125 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletic departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors’ Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.
Entering its 26th year of national and international success, SME is a renowned brand development agency serving the sports entertainment, higher education and collegiate athletics industries. As ‘The Art & Science of Branding.’ suggests, SME offers a wide range of strategic brand building services that have one goal in mind – our client’s success. These services include strategy, research, positioning, naming, brand identity & management, messaging, social media, web, events, media planning, advertising, video production and consulting. For more information, visit www.smebranding.com.