Hull University and Team GB tie-up brokered by Greenlight Sports

Sporting chance: Ben Milhench, left, with Guy Smith, right, of Greenlight, and the Team GB mascot.
Sporting chance: Ben Milhench, left, with Guy Smith, right, of Greenlight, and the Team GB mascot.
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A sports marketing agency has brokered and designed a commercial partnership between Hull University and the British Olympic Association.

The partnership will enable Hull University to offer degree courses that are co-branded by Team GB as well as hosting star names at open day events.

Greenlight Sports & Entertainment, based in Newport, East Riding, brokered the partnership, which will last six years.

Ben Milhench, co-founder and director of Greenlight, said the deal had taken around one year to design.

“More than ever before, universities are having to compete for every student they recruit,” Mr Milhench said. “So, having a truly world class and unique offering that incentivises students above and beyond the educational experience is an extremely effective way to stand out from other universities.”

The university will be able to host guest lectures from Team GB personnel, a Team GB mass-participation event and students at the university will be able to volunteer at Team GB events.

Greenlight, which was founded in 2016 by Mr Milhench and Guy Smith and today has four staff, is looking to change the way sports marketing is done. Instead of selling the marketing opportunity to business, it tries to understand what the company’s aims and objectives are before finding the right fit for the firm.

Mr Milhench said: “Usually what sports governing bodies and football clubs do is they will sell rights.

“They effectively have advertising boards or certain things they have to sell like maybe stadium naming rights or shirt sponsorship.

“What we did was we went in with the university’s challenges and goals and we’ve effectively built a bespoke partnership on the back of Hull University’s goals.

“It’s the first time that the Team GB brand is going to be used in the way it is.”

The Team GB brand will be used across a range of subjects including medical, sciences, English and maths.

Mr Milhench said: “The strapline is ‘achieving something extraordinary’.

“We believe people in the people in the medical industry can achieve the extraordinary.

“We also believe people in the sciences can achieve the extraordinary.

“It’s the first time that the brand has been stretched out of the sports world.”

The partnership will last six years, taking in both the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the Paris games in 2024, as well as the Winter Olympics being staged in Beijing.

Mr Milhench believes businesses are still not getting the most of out sports marketing opportunities.

He added: “The power of sport and partnerships is changing. There are opportunities to build bespoke partnerships for your needs as a business.

“That’s where we come in. We understand the sporting world. We understand how things are moving in different organisations.”

Greenlight is looking to work with more Yorkshire businesses and organisations in the future.

“No longer do you have to sit in front of your local football club and try and gain some brand awareness,” Mr Milhench said. “There’s another route and another way to do it and we hope to be able to help those businesses see outside of the box.”

‘A real life Happy Gilmore’

Prior to setting up Greenlight, Ben Milhench was a professional ice hockey player.

He said: “Then I turned into a professional golfer. So I was a real life Happy Gilmore. I played on tour for two years in the States, obviously didn’t do very well.”

Mr Milhench then decided to go into the commercial side of sport, which eventually led to him becoming head of partnerships at Hull City Football Club.

He then put the idea of setting up an agency to Guy Smith, who is a former Le Mans 24 Hour winner, and they set up Greenlight.