The Business Year

Hatem Hammour

SAUDI ARABIA - Sports

Hatem Hammour

Managing Partner, hala partners

Bio

Hatem Hammour is a Sports Management MBA graduate and has 10+ years of experience in leading partnership programs (building, operating and reporting) for rightsholders and blue-chip brands in the GCC region (e.g. STC, Sports For All Federation, Ministry of Sport, Misk Foundation, Saudi  Media Company). He is specialized in partnership sales, as well as partner and activation management. Prior to hala partners, Hatem has worked for Intigral as a partnership activation manager and for RISE Group as an account director. Hatem has built an extensive experience in planning and mobilizing teams to deliver complex campaigns and events. Since co-founding hala partners in 2020, Hatem has been the lead on the sales and partner management of projects, ensuring the satisfaction and retention of partners.

“We opened the company in October 2020, and our focus is on maximizing and optimizing the sponsorship and partnership programs for rights holders and brands.”

Hatem Hammour, Managing Partner of hala partners, talks to TBY about recent achievements, competitive advantage, and goals for the coming year.

How was the company established, and what milestones has it achieved in recent years?

Hatem Hammour: We opened the company in October 2020, and our focus is on maximizing and optimizing the sponsorship and partnership programs for rights holders and brands. Our aim is to implement that across; sports, culture, entertainment and esports, and tailored to the Middle East. As we founded hala partners mid-pandemic, when the events-industry was struggling, we took our first six months to establish our standardized partnership lifecycle, our various IPs and identify how we could position ourselves uniquely in this niche industry. This, with a strong focus on providing an an-to-end solution to our clients, from strategy to execution and reporting. As a young entity, we are proud to have built a strong, passionate and growing team, and have had the honor to support various clients on exciting projects in our first year, including the Saudi Sports For All Federation, Misk Foundation, Saudi Tourism Authority, MRSOOL Park and Live Nation to name a few.

What is the mission and vision of the company?

Hatem Hammour: As founders, Fred and I have over 10 years of experience in the sponsorship/partnership industry in the region, specifically in UAE and KSA. We’re excited to see brands become gradually more knowledgeable on the potential and required returns (e.g. ROI / ROO / ROA) from their sponsorship investments, and therefore have positioned hala partners as pioneers around a standardized “partnership lifecycle” approach that provides all parties (rights holders and brands) with tools and insights to run and evaluate these successful partnerships.

What other segments are you targeting in addition to sports?

Hatem Hammour: Our partnership lifecyle is set around a standardized, yet flexible approach, that can be duplicated across many segments where brands partner up with rights holders. We have set our business segments as sports, culture, entertainment and esports, and have touched on most of these already, including the Riyadh Marathon (sports), Saudi Founding Day (culture),  Mother Of The Nation Festival (entertainment) and Grintafy (esports).

hala partners’ main office is in Dubai. How important are your operations in the Kingdom?

Hatem Hammour: As founders, we both lived in Dubai, and have so for many years. Therefore, starting the company in the UAE was the national 1st step. Through our career, we have been traveling in and out of the Kingdom on a weekly basis, and in the last years the business has really shifted strongly towards KSA, driven by its opened tourism strategy, the launch of the many seasons, and the wealth of international events and IP coming to the Kingdom. For hala partners, Saudi Arabia is our main market, with retained clients we support throughout their full asset commercialization and a wealth of brands we personally know and work with closely on the sales and partner management of all events. As KSA is still in its infancy of sponsorship/partnership, we positioned “knowledge transfer” at the center of our partnerships lifecycle, as a key USP for the company. We have held various training sessions on the concept, use and great potential of partnerships with our clients, and strive to position our clients in the driver-seat of their partnerships.

What are your competitive advantages?

Hatem Hammour: Our main competitive advantage sits in the fact that we are a localized, experienced and passionate team, with a standardized and proven approach towards the full partnership lifecycle. As a one-stop-shop in commercial partnerships / sponsorships, we take on the full program from strategy to packaging and pricing, sales tools, sales, partners management and reporting. We strive to services all parties, brands and rights holders, from A to Z, thus maximizing returns and the opportunities for sponsorship renewals and long-term commitments.

What are the most iconic projects that you are working on and those you are particularly proud of?

Hatem Hammour: It is hard to pick from the iconic projects we have worked on in the last year. The most iconic ones that come to mind are the ones where we supported to make an impact on the Saudi transformation, including (1) the 2022 Riyadh Marathon, the 1st full marathon and one of the largest community events in the Kingdom,  (2) the Saudi Founding Day, a national celebration across various cities in the Kingdom, and (3) the Misk Global Forum, one of the largest youth-focused events not just for the region but globally. I’m also particularly proud of the work we currently do with Sports for All (SFA), supporting them on the commercialization of their full asset inventory (20+ events, initiatives and venues). To  work with this bright and engaged team across a year-round calendar of events, supporting their vision2030 mandate, allows us to make a change in the Saudi Community. Finally, we have launched a free partnership marketplace called “hala connect” to support connecting brands and rights holders. The platform was developed since we encountered many rights holders with smaller events and budgets who could not afford agency consultancy. As we want to support the full ecosystem, this alternative allows them to still connect with each other, with our expert support and guidance.

What are the two main priorities upon moving your offices to Riyadh?

As our main clients and contacts lie in the Kingdom, a move to Riyadh has been on the table since our launch. We already operate with our account managers dedicated to client offices, so moving our hala partners offices would definitely facilitate the growth of the business. In order to win larger projects in KSA, we will need to setup here and we have started the process. The only reason it has not happened yet, is because we wanted to focus on delivering top quality work to our current clients and scale up gradually without biting off more than we can chew. Priorities always lie with ensuring we keep all parties satisfied and we are confident that this approach will allow us to gradually grow, open our offices in the Kingdom and grow to become a leader in partnership support in the region, and beyond.

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