CHICAGO WPP Group agency VML will add a sponsorship development and management practice under the direction of former MAI Sports president and CEO Mitch Wheeler.
By adding the practice, the Kansas City, Mo., agency will offer a full range of sponsorship marketing, from strategic consulting to event marketing and sponsorship asset management. In addition to Wheeler, four other former employees of MAI Sports will join VML, according to a company representative.
"Corporate spending on sponsorships has been outpacing the growth of other marketing disciplines for the past two decades," said Matt Anthony, VML's CEO, in a statement. "The opportunity for us to bring on the caliber and experience that Mitch offers is unmatched, and we have been highly motivated to find a way to work him and his team into our organization."
Wheeler founded MAI Sports in 1990. The company's clients have included the NCAA, the National Hockey League and the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. Prior to founding MAI, Wheeler was executive director of promotions and marketing for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.