LONDON — Two former staffers at sports sponsorship agency Synergy (now Engine Sport) have set up their own specialist PR agency, with launch clients including the Football Association.

Donald Parish (pictured, right), who left the Engine group sports agency three years ago to become an independent consultant, and Will Mitchell (left), who left Synergy last year, have teamed up to launch sports PR, sponsorship and content agency MatchFit.

After starting his career at Shine Communications, Parish moved to Synergy to specialise in sport in 2011. He has also consulted for Hanover’s consumer and sports arm The Playbook. Mitchell had worked for Synergy for five years.

Parish told the Holmes Report: “We’ve had a great working relationship over a number of years and have similar values. Together, we realised we could offer clients a ready-to-go team with a personal approach that builds on their in-house capabilities. We’ll bring in different skills depending on what clients need, but we’ll always have oversight of creative output.”

Mitchell added: “We share a deep passion for sport with our clients. Not only for how it can bring people together in these divisive times, but also its ability to move, shape, change and cheer us. I’m proud that MatchFit is collaborating with brilliant clients to deliver cutting-edge campaigns which harness the power of sport.”

Their new agency is already working with the Football Association (FA) on a number of projects, including creating and executing a summer press campaign to launch The FA SuperKicks, a new app that aims to increase football participation for children and parents.

The FA’s PR and campaigns team lead David Gerty said: “MatchFit has delivered strong work on a number of projects this year, not least the hugely successful activity for The FA SuperKicks app this Summer. Without question we’ve benefitted greatly from their deep football experience and creative PR approach, matched by high-class delivery we can trust. We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the team at MatchFit in the future."

The agency has also created and activated a number of campaigns for Aviva focused around their partnership with Norwich City Football Club, and is retained to amplify the Aviva Community Fund for 2020.

Other client work has included the English Football League’s activation with charity Mind on World Mental Health Day 2018, highlighting the role football can play in tackling mental health problems. MatchFit is also providing ongoing PR support for DNAfit, the sports, health and wellness genetics brand, whose advisors include former England football international Rio Ferdinand.