Davis has been named managing director of North America for Two Circles, and will be charged with helping the company grow its presence in the world’s largest sports market. The move comes after nearly eight years with the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.
Davis, who has worked with a number of marketing agencies in his time at HBSE (and before that, at MSG), said Two Circles offers something unique in the marketplace. Specifically, he mentioned the primary role that data scientists and engineers play at Two Circles.
“Most agencies, they’re all started by commercially led people, guys like me, and then they try to layer on a data approach on the back end,” Davis said in an interview. “Ultimately every decision that’s being made today in our world is being driven by data, and the Two Circles approach is the right way to build an agency for the future.”
Two Circles helps sports leagues, teams and governing bodies monetize their data, either directly through brokered deals or through analysis that informs ticket sales, premium hospitality, sponsorships and media sales. The company’s client list includes the IOC, UEFA, Formula One, English Premier League, Learfield and the NFL. About 20% of the company’s revenue comes from clients in the U.S., according to CEO Gareth Balch.
“Data is the best learning tool in the world,” Balch said in an interview. “And we’ve processed more sports data than any other sports organization in the past 10 years. Sports fans are predictably irrational, and the wonderful thing about that is that you know then where to find opportunities for monetization.”
As an example, Davis brought up an experience of his own. A few years ago, the 76ers opted in to an NBA offer for clubs to work with Two Circles on a breakdown of their overseas fans. The club knew it was popular in China, Africa (Joel Embiid) and Australia (Ben Simmons), Davis said, but learned from the results that they also had strong followings in both Brazil and the Philippines.
“It helped us to start to change our commercial strategy with the NBA’s international marketing rights,” Davis said. “And now, when we’re in the Philippines and the company says, ‘Why should we work with the Philadelphia 76ers?’ it’s the Two Circles data that answers that question.”
Bruin Capital, an investment fund backed by longtime sports executive George Pyne, purchased an 80% stake in Two Circles in December 2019, a deal that valued the firm at $42 million. Since the acquisition, the firm says it has doubled its revenue. Two Circles is the latest Bruin investment looking to replicate its European success in North America, joining streaming service Deltatre, gambling affiliate Oddschecker and tech firm TGI Sport.
Davis is not the only recent Two Circles hire. The company has doubled in size during the pandemic, to roughly 360 employees, as sports leagues and teams confront a rapidly changing media landscape and the increased need to monetize fans outside of their stadium or arena. Two Circles has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Bern.
Prior to joining HBSE, Davis spent nearly seven years at MSG, where he was responsible for new revenue streams across the entire company.