Company Profile

Sports Marketing Australia was formed in 1999 when the founding Directors combined their wealth of knowledge and relationships in the sports  and entertainment industry, to successfully implement a number of commercially driven projects in regional Australia.  

The company's strategic vision was based on the philosophical change in the sports and entertainment industry that revolved around the emergence of decentralising events into regional Australia. 

The first of these projects involved Rick Sleeman, Sports Marketing Australia's Managing Director and former Director of Rugby with IMG, successfully luring the Wallabies to set up base camp in Coffs Harbour. It became obvious quite quickly that the economic and branding benefits provided to the Coffs Harbour region through hosting the Wallabies were desirable. The project also provided a significant benefit to Australian Rugby Union. News of these mutual benefits spread quickly within national and state sporting organisations as well as key Local Government bodies. All parties showed a unified interest in supporting the development of a 'Decentralisation Program', to identify events that can be beneficially relocated into regional Australia, to identify regional centres suitable for this relocation and to bring this relocation to reality. 

During the past 18 years, Sports Marketing Australia has fully developed the program to achieve their desired outcomes. SMA is the only sports marketing organisation which operates in this space. 

SMA's successes have lead to unsurpassed relationships being developed with sporting organisations, promoters, the business event industry, the entertainment industry and government bodies. These relationships have in turn lead to SMA broadening its business base to include other services requested by its customers. These include the development of the OSM (24/7 Online Sports Management) registration, administration and database management system for sporting organisations and a state of the art ticketing system for sporting organisations and Local Government's regional sports facilities, performing arts centres, theatres etc.

Company Directors

Rick Sleeman

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0410 576 198
Email: rick@sportsmarketing.com.au

Rick Sleeman - Managing Director

Rick has a media background as a Director of APN News and Media Educational Division. He embarked on an industry change in 1994 when he became Director of Rugby with IMG. Some say that was the perfect job for a diehard Wallabies fan, but his long suffering wife and kids would beg to differ. After the Wallabies won the Rugby World Cup in 1999, Rick moved their base camp to Coffs Harbour. It was here that The Sports Decentralisation Program was created, fine-tuned and developed into the extraordinarily successful business model that it is today. 

Now with other silos in the business such as the Sports/Events Placement Program, OSM database management system, a state of the art ticketing system and a host of consultancy to State and Local Government and sporting organisations, SMA has become something that Rick is extremely proud of. As the Founding Director, Rick thrives off the challenge of a multi-faceted business and he enjoys being surrounded by enthusiastic, can do people. 

Known around the office for never wearing shoes, Rick has worked to ensure that; although it’s a fast paced environment, it’s a place that all of the team genuinely enjoy coming to work.

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0414 186 200
Email: craig@sportsmarketing.com.au

Craig Gibson - Director

Craig has been a Director of Sports Marketing Australia since 2004 and has been at the heart of the company’s growth and success. Prior to joining SMA, Craig had more than 15 years’ experience working in a variety of key sports administration, event and facility management and commercial roles.

One of Craig’s career highlights is working with the international promoter of Nitro Circus Live, where he co-ordinates multi show, stadium tours across Australia, NZ, the UK, USA and Canada. Using his commercial and event management skills, Craig sources venues, negotiates key commercial outcomes and secures financial and marketing support from local and city governments across the world. Prior to working with Nitro Circus, Craig enjoyed similar roles with the promoter of Crusty Demons and Australasian Super X, where he also managed ticketing operations, sold sponsorships and negotiated media partnerships.

In conjunction with IPC, SMA’s software development partner, Craig developed the OSM Sports Administration system, which is used by a number of national sporting associations and venue operators in Australia and the US.

Since 2006, Craig has been contracted as a casual lecturer/academic at Southern Cross University in the school of Business and Tourism, teaching Special Event Management, Business Event Management and Sales and Promotions in Tourism and Hospitality, a role which he loves. Lecturing, he says, provides a unique opportunity to pass on some of his professional experience and expertise to students while also researching new event outcomes and directions within the sports, leisure and tourism industry.

Craig is passionate about all sports, but particularly soccer, water polo and swimming. When not working, he enjoys all the trappings that the beautiful Coffs Coast has to offer like surfing, boating and fishing with his family.

Staff

Jason Sleeman

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0401 359 537
Email: jason@sportsmarketing.com.au

Jason Sleeman - National Events Director

Fresh from University and having completed a Bachelor of Business Degree at Southern Cross University (majoring in Marketing and Management), Jason joined Sports Marketing Australia in 2007 and well……. hasn’t left since. 

Having a passion for all things sport/events and a keen interest in business, Jason has helped build SMA over the past 10 years from a small business with 2 employees, 3 contracted Councils and 45 events placed annually to a national organisation with 20+ staff, 47 contracted Councils and in excess of 490 state, national and international events placed annually. Now managing a team of 5 sales staff, Jason has developed a unique skill set required that involves a balance of leadership, management and hands on involvement in a fast paced, can do environment. Having recently promoted to Director level at SMA, Jason has now branched out into other areas of the business including business development and how SMA can best leverage off its strongest asset, being the extensive relationships SMA hold with State and Local Government Bodies and event owners across the country. 

Outside of work, Jason has a strong passion for water sports (in particular fishing, diving and surfing) and Rugby League (through his allegiance to the mighty Manly Sea Eagles which at times seems more like an obsession).

Nick Simmons

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0451 052 653
Email: nick@sportsmarketing.com.au

Nick Simmons - Business Development Manager

Nick joined Sports Marketing Australia as Business Development Manager in 2015 and relishes the opportunity to work on major sporting events which boost the economies of SMA’s partnering Local Government Areas. 

Nick has over 10 years’ experience working in the sports and events industry. Graduating from university with a Bachelor of Business Majoring in Sports Management, he worked at Football Federation Australia for several years in the Leagues Event and Operations department. During his time at Football Federation Australia, the A-League went through a period of unprecedented growth and it become a part of the mainstream of Australian sport, something which he was proud to be a part of. Football Federation Australia provided Nick with fundamental experience across a variety of sporting, business, events and regulatory matters. 

 Looking for a new challenge Nick moved away from Sport and worked in the financial sector as a Business Analyst but being away from the sports industry made him appreciate his love for events and it wasn’t long before he relocated to Coffs Harbour to take up his role with Sports Marketing Australia. 

“Sport has always been a big part of my life as a player, spectator and official. But it’s the professional challenge of working with 47 Local Government Areas and 250 Sporting organisations to deliver meaningful events that most excites me about my role”.  

Nick’s bucket list includes watching the Socceroos play in the world cup, travelling around the world with his wife, and running the New York Marathon.

Amanda Millican

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0409 525 395
Email: amanda@sportsmarketing.com.au

Amanda Millican - Business Development Manager

Amanda Millican (nee Elks) has worked in Marketing and Media for over 12 years with a focus on public relations, communication, media sales and event planning for small, medium and national organisations. While she has worked around the world and along the east coast of Australia and we are glad that she felt the beach calling her back home to Coffs. 

Always one to keep busy, Amanda completed her Business Degree (Management and Marketing Majors) while starting her career in a National public relations and marketing communications company. Amanda has worked with a number of key primary industry organisations including: Meat & Livestock Australia, Australia Wool Innovation, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage & the Arts, Westpac Agribusiness and Grant Thornton. Developing and progressing national marketing plans and materials for best practice programs and liaising with key spokespeople and stakeholders has kept Amanda busy. Her media liaison experience has included media placements and interview opportunities for clients with the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC National Radio, ABC's Landline, RM Williams Magazine, along with achieving significant state and regional media coverage. 

 Moving back to Coffs, Amanda then spent four years in media sales and developing marketing plan for a variety of small and medium sized businesses where her strong understanding of sales and customer service techniques allowed her to boost productivity and customer engagement for her clients. And it wasn’t long before Amanda had joined the SMA team. 

When she’s not teaching a spin class or playing in, on, or under the ocean, Amanda can be found with her husband and her ridgeback puppies enjoying life at the beach.

Caitlin Sebbens

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Email: support@sportsmarketing.com.au

Caitlin Sebbens - OSM National Support Manager

Caitlin is our OSM support management super star with the ability to solve all your Sports Administration Service queries, quickly and efficiently. Omni Sports Management (OSM) Software is the most innovative Sports Administration Service ever developed. OSM provides a complete solution to managing your sport and providing leading edge technology to your associations, clubs, event directors, teams, coaches, members and volunteers. Caitlin has a Bachelor of Sport and Tourism Management allowing her to work effectively in local, national and international arenas in diverse areas, such as sports management, event management, tourism operations and management and adventure tourism.

Caitlin’s expertise enables clients to operate and market their sport effectively, increasing the ability to reach current members and attract new members. Using the key features, Caitlin can reduce the time involved for your staff and volunteers to create leagues, camps, events and other competitions and will increase your opportunities for revenue and service. Using integrated components such as online stores, Caitlin can also assist your sport to generate revenue. The iPhone and Android apps can be dynamically configured with the ability to send messages to all of your members.

Caitlin has also worked as a coordinator for ARL Development, Cricket NSW, the Soccatoos program and was an integral part of the Active After Schools Program to increase children’s participation in sport where access may be hindered. Her complete love of sport also encouraged Caitlin to volunteer at her local soccer club for more than four years, as well as playing for twelve years. In addition to Sport, Caitlin has worked in Real Estate Property Management ensuring superior communication and organisational skills to arrange inspections and the successful liaison between tenants, landlords and tradespeople.

Caitlin started at Sports Marketing Australia in May, 2016 and has formed strong relationships with all of our OSM customers. Her great strengths are her attention to detail, tenacity, her total reliability and diligence. Caitlin has also demonstrated exemplary Event Management skills while overseeing the ticketing operations for SMA at a number of key events for the A-League and the AFL demanding strong organisational skills and superior problem solving abilities.

With sport, there are no boundaries and if there is any sport on over the weekend, especially Cricket or the NRL, Caitlin is a happy camper.

Claire Kronenberg

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Email: support@sportsmarketing.com.au

Claire Kronenberg - Helpdesk Manager

The country kid from the thriving metropolis of Parkes, home of the Elvis Festival which attracts over 20,000 people from around the world each year, Claire is a Help Desk magician! Claire initially came to the Coffs Coast to study a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management, which was only offered at Coffs Harbour but the appeal of the relaxed, coastal lifestyle has kept her here and Claire stayed on to complete a Bachelor of Business with a Marketing Major.

This background gives Claire the edge when it comes to managing the more complex queries from our clients. Claire loves to understand what motivates people and says she really enjoyed units such as Consumer Behaviour, figuring out why people do the things they do when it comes to purchasing products, repeat purchases and learning the triggers that attract customers to certain products or services. Claire maintains it was one amazing tutor who inspired her. “I caught the ‘marketing bug’ from her”, Claire said. “She made everything interesting and had such a positive impact on my learning”.

Claire has worked at SMA for more than 12 months and loves learning about the management system, how it works and then interacts with other elements of the business. “Working with the amazing staff at SMA is a massive benefit as well, “ she says. “Everyone has so much knowledge about the industry and I have already learnt so much about servicing our clients and the exciting events management profession.” Additionally, Claire has nine years of experience in the hospitality industry. This experience has given her significant training in customer service, ensuring that she can problem solve and keep all our clients smiling.

Claire is also keenly interested in youth affairs and has been involved in local government projects designed to help young people find a clear direction in life. She was a member of the Parkes Council Youth Forum which was created to ensure the voice of regional youth is heard and that young, country people find successful pathways in life. This forum was instrumental in examining the areas of importance for young people across the state including issues like mental health, education and training and employment. Looking to the future, Claire is keen to pursue her dream of working in the Health industry where she hopes to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.

When not at SMA, Claire can be found hanging out with other people’s dogs (because she does not have one of her own yet!), playing soccer, netball or touch footy and enjoying our pristine beaches. Her secret passion is cooking the perfect, gluten free caramel slice! Or any other tasty, gluten free food.

Brett Eagles

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Mobile: 0418 452 629
Email: beagles@corporationone.com.au

Brett Eagles - Accounts Manager

Brett started accounting in 1988 with a chartered firm in Sydney, dealing with the entertainment industry ranging from actors, musicians, singers, models and media. In 1998, Brett took a different direction with a firm in West Ryde where he managed a team and took a more comprehensive business adviser role looking after corporate businesses. After 7 years at West Ryde, and at that point with a young family, Brett decided to change the environment for the family and moved to Coffs Harbour in order to bring the kids up in a more relaxed coastal town. He continued as a contractor to the firm in West Ryde for another 5 years. During the past 10 years in Coffs harbour, he has been developing his own business in taxation and business advising which led to an association being developed with SMA over the last 5 years. This brings us to where we are today……except the kids have moved back to Sydney!

Deborah Gibson

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Email: deborah@sportsmarketing.com.au

Deborah Gibson - Event Coordinator and Content Writer

With extensive experience in journalism, PR and corporate communications, Deborah is a highly skilled project manager and writer. Deborah has worked for a variety of employers including national newspapers like The Sun Herald, government departments including the NSW Department of Education and Training, TAFE and in private enterprise for large corporations such as Integral Energy.

Major career achievements include the successful delivery of media content for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the Information Services Manager for the Sydney games, she led a team of more than 20 specialist editorial, design and print management staff. Deborah has also enjoyed creating and editing the national specialist magazine, Education Today, communicating to principals and teachers across Australia. For the past decade, Deborah also managed a successful freelance career working from an established home studio for a variety of clients nation-wide including North Coast TAFE and locally for the Coffs Coast Home Show, Focus Magazine, preparing brochure copy for the Education Centre and writing website text for successful businesses like Core Pilates in Brisbane.

A gifted multi tasker, Deborah is now known as the juggler! Her role at SMA is to liaise with some 47 Local Government Areas (Councils) and 250 plus state and national sporting organisations to ensure that all events are on track and successful. Using the CRM as her guide, in any one day, Deborah will be in contact with 20 different Event Owners and/or Councils to keep the event planning process moving forward. Additionally, Deborah is our Content and Strategic Report Writer and using her strong research skills she ensures that all SMA’s documentation is accurate, easy to understand and informative. Deborah loves a challenge, she enjoys client liaison and thrives in the fast paced, dynamic environment at SMA.

Away from her desk, Deborah is an advocate for good Mental Health and a member of the NSW Steering Committee for Eating Disorders on the Mid North Coast. She is also a member of her school’s Parent Forum. Deborah enjoys long walks along our beautiful beaches, the ocean and those precious moments with her husband, her four gorgeous children, her extended family and her Border Collie. Her favourite places are the Yasawa Islands in Fiji and Iluka in NSW.

Leonie Sleeman

Phone: 02 6652 1112
Email: leonie@sportsmarketing.com.au

Leonie Sleeman - Graphic Designer

Leonie Sleeman is SMA’s designer whizz/styling guru/photographer and has been working for SMA from day 1. Leonie is responsible for all our stylish proposals, advertisements, flyers and print work, not to mention having a big hand in SMA’s new web page design. She loves her work and always has a smile on her face.

Leonie’s worked in the graphic design industry for numerous years, working on big National accounts including Qantas, Revlon and Sunbeam just to name a few. Her knowledge and experience has been a valuable asset to SMA. We think she secretly has a magic wand tucked under her desk because she transforms hand written scribble into absolute masterpieces in minutes and if you want some wrinkles ironed out or a bit of a nick & tuck she’s a whizz in photoshop!

Kelly Vaughan

Mobile: 0449 294 742
Email: kelly@sportsmarketing.com.au

Kelly Vaughan - Senior Analyst

Kelly has a background in marketing, specifically advertising and research. She has over 10 years experience working in agency account service roles both in Advertising and Digital Marketing agencies. During this time she has worked in Australia and the UK, and worked on global, international and national campaigns across a range of different industries including Agriculture, Finance, Media, Government departments, Arts and Retail brands.

More recently Kelly has turned her career to research, completing an Honours and Masters degrees. She is a glutton for punishment and is now endeavouring to complete her PhD in advertising research. She has also presented her work at several conferences and been published in a leading international Advertising Journal. Kelly also lectures in Advertising and Digital Marketing at the University of South Australia.

Working with the SMA, Kelly now gets to pull several of her interests together drawing on her research skills to help local communities through sport, all the while getting to explore Australia.

Howard Spencer

Mobile: 0427 551 938
Email: howard@sportsmarketing.com.au

Howard Spencer - Senior Analyst

Howard Spencer has carved out a long career in journalism, state and local government public relations and has now brought those skills together as senior analyst for Sports Marketing Australia. This role sees Howard continue his interest in Australian as well as international travel – but nowhere near the frequent flyer league of Rick!

Leaving Inverell High School for the big smoke too many years ago to count, Howard began his journalism career as a cadet with the Sydney Morning Herald. The Herald was the start of 30 years as a newspaper journalist, 20 of those spent as editor, at other papers such as the Cairns Post, Lismore Northern Star, Goulburn Evening Post, Richmond River Express Examiner, Casino – editor two years – Newcastle Herald, Coffs Harbour Advocate – editor 18 years – and finally a senior journalist on the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Howard then joined the NSW State Government as a public affairs officer with Forests NSW, then was transferred to the Department of Primary Industries working for forests, agriculture, fisheries and minerals across the state. From there he spent a short time as public relations and events officer with the Barkly Regional Council based at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The council is the fourth largest local government area in the world, with a land mass one and a half times the size of Victoria and a population of around 8,500, most of whom are Aboriginal.

When he is not on a project for Sports Marketing Australia Howard is chasing fish either in the Gulf of Carpentaria where he has caught barramundi, yellowfin tuna, giant trevally, and queenfish all over a metre in length, bass in NSW or southern Queensland, or trout anywhere from Ebor to Hobart. Any spare time outside that is spent travelling central Australia.

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