- Co-working firm WeWork has announced a partnership deal with NYCFC of the US Major League Soccer (MLS) circuit and Manchester City of the English Premier League.
- WeWork is now an ‘Official Partner’ of NYCFC and the ‘Official Workplace Partner’ of Manchester City.
- The two deals with high profile soccer teams represent WeWork’s first sports sponsorship deals.
WeWork is one of the leading global players in the booming ‘flexible workspace provider’ industry. You’ve no doubt heard of the ‘co-working’ trend–the ‘flexible workspace’ term is a bit of jargon the industry came up with to make them sound more serious. That said, co-working is a godsend for a hard working sports betting analyst/oddsmaker/media personality such as myself. Not all co-working facilities are created equal but when you find a good one they’re a massive boost to productivity–and particularly if you’re a frequent traveler. The difficulty of co-working has been one of the significant personal downsides of the COVID-19 pandemic but hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
During the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve continued to travel but instead of co-working facilities I’ve resorted to working in my hotel suite. Fortunately, my wife and I get along very well which makes a huge difference. The problem with this is that some hotels don’t take their responsibilities to remote workers very seriously. Some properties are great–like the Grand Hyatt in Denver (that’s my wife, Cortney, propped up in the window of the Grand Hyatt). Too many, however, have substandard desks, uncomfortable chairs and sketchy wi-fi connections. I’ve moved out of plenty of hotels for this reason alone–I just had to do it last week in Charlotte. With the future of business travel looking dubious at best if hotels that once catered to business travelers want to survive they’re going to have to do better accommodating the needs of remote workers.
My favorite co-working facility by far is in Salt Lake City, Utah–it’s cleverly named Salt Mine Productive Workspace and not to be confused with a pole dancing school by a very similar name. For $125 USD a month you can work there with daytime access to any of their desks and workspaces. If you need a dedicated desk it’ll set you back $329 a month but that comes with 24/7 access *and* a gym membership at neighboring VASA Fitness. I never had a problem finding a work area–the only problem I ever had is when some group of corporate weasels rented a room for an HR briefing or similar pointless activity. They had the nerve to shush me a few times despite the fact that I was on the phone with several major metropolitan newspapers dropping wisdom about sports betting. Among civilized people, my whispered ‘I’m talking to the media!’ would be enough to get them off my case but not this group of reprobates. I ignored them, of course, since I’m doing valuable work while they’re just shuffling papers but it undermined my image of professionalism. Fortunately, the media types I was speaking to were understanding.
There are also an assortment of conference areas such as the one pictured here. I guess I *could* have set up in one of these for my media calls but I usually like to pace and talk. I did use these meeting areas for phone calls with my PR guy, Dan Grody. Were this not enough for an ideal work environment there is an excellent coffee shop right across the parking lot called the Sunset Coffee Company which not only has everything you’d expect them to have but a great view of the Salt Lake Valley. Were this abundance of amenities not enough there’s also an In-n-Out Burger location less than a five minute drive away.
WeWork provides similar co-working setups but they also offer a very valuable service for busy travelers such as myself–for a monthly fee you can work at WeWork locations all over the world. They’re currently in 23 US states (sorry, flyover country), four Canadian provinces and twenty international locations. They’re adding new locations all the time. So if you’re in somewhere like Singapore and need a place to work for a few days you just hit up the app and reserve your spot. The 9 Battery Road location even has great views of the Marina Bay Sands. There’s something to be said for having this type of access. While most cities worth spending time in have decent independent co-working operations it takes time to research and vet them. As co-working grows there are more and more locations you have to check out. Dealing with WeWork is a big time saver for this reason alone.
The convenience of WeWork isn’t lost on professional soccer teams either. That’s one of the reasons why two high profile international soccer teams have just become WeWork’s first promotional sponsors in the world of sport. English Premier League side Manchester City and the NYCFC from the US Major League Soccer (MLS) circuit have signed on to a sponsorship deal with WeWork. WeWork is now an ‘Official Partner’ of NYCFC and their partnership with Manchester City has an even better title–‘Official Workplace Partner’.
As part of the deal, employees of the two clubs will get hooked up with WeWork passes–and there’s plenty of locations in New York, London and Singapore. Here’s the 4-1-1 of the deal from the press release announcing it:
WeWork, one of the leading global flexible space providers, has today announced a new partnership with New York City FC and sister Club, Manchester City.
A first for WeWork in the world of sport, the new partnership will see the organization become Official Partner of NYCFC, in addition to Manchester City’s Official Workplace Partner as both clubs aim for success this season in their respective leagues.
As part of City Football Group, NYCFC and Manchester City are committed to harnessing the power of football to build a sustainable and socially responsible organization while engaging and empowering its community of fans, employees, and players.
Employees of New York City FC will be equipped with WeWork All Access passes, enabling them to work from any of WeWork’s locations in the city, and globally, choosing where is most convenient for them.
In addition, Manchester City’s partnership with WeWork will provide employees based in the UK and Singapore with inspiring and collaborative workspace, whenever they need it. As a global organization employees will also be able to access additional flexible space at WeWork locations across the world.
Both teams are owned by City Football Group–their SVP of Global Partnership Sales had this to say about the new relationship with WeWork:
“We are delighted to welcome WeWork as a new partner of New York City FC and Manchester City. As part of an organization operating globally, it is important we provide access to high-quality, flexible facilities for our staff to help us harness innovation, collaboration and drive success.”
“The team at WeWork has impressed us with their commitment to our shared values, solutions and facilities and we look forward to working with them throughout the partnership.”
Roger Sole, Chief Marketing Officer, offered this quote about the partnership with Manchester City and NYCFC:
“As global organizations with shared values of innovation and collaboration, we’re really excited to become an official partner of Manchester City and New York City FC. Our goal at WeWork is to inspire and enable teams to work together in more flexible and collaborative ways through our intentionally designed spaces in top markets around the world. It is great to see the two Clubs recognize how WeWork can provide the right workspace to foster their innovative culture and we look forward to seeing their teams thrive as part of the WeWork community.”
I’d be very surprised if WeWork doesn’t get involved with more teams and more sports. For one thing, it offers a great way to geo-target their marketing. Example–in Canada, there are WeWork locations in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver so sign sponsorship deals with the Flames, Habs, Leafs and Canucks. For sports like soccer (particularly the top European Leagues), hockey and US football there’s also a wide international audience. This allows WeWork some ancillary branding opportunities. While there at it, they could also become a league wide partner–such as a ‘Corporate Marketing Partner’ for the NHL. That would give them visibility in the US and Canada along with Eastern Europe and Scandinavia where hockey is hugely popular.
WeWork as a company has had their share of ups and downs–these are beyond the purview of this article but well documented in the financial media industry. They now find themselves in the ‘right place at the right time’ to become an international powerhouse in the post COVID, remote and hybrid work era. The market right now is uncertain but opportunity laden. Play their cards right and they could quickly become to co-working what Starbucks is to coffee. Building brand recognition through sponsorship deals with selected sports teams and leagues is a good start.