The Cox Group’s 10-year relationship with Super Boat International as the Key West, Fla.-based offshore powerboating racing producer’s public relations agency of record, website design and management provider and corporate marketing liaison has ended with SBI’s termination of the sports marketing agency’s services. According to Rodrick Cox, who co-founded the Charlotte, N.C., company with his brother, Doug, in 1998, he received a fax from SBI to that effect yesterday morning.
Cox (far right) and his team were integral in the online SBI Livestream broadcasts of its annual world championships in Key West, Fla.
“My first reaction—I was pretty mad,” said Cox, who first approached SBI representatives at the 2007 Miami International Boat Show and began working for the organization later that year. “As an agency, we have four extremely dedicated people working for SBI in various positions, and we always made our very best effort to the do the very best we could. Without a doubt, it was a team effort and I slept very well at night knowing the quality of work we did for SBI and how much we cared for them. I considered (SBI principals) John and Deanna Carbonell friends.
“I had not had the opportunity to dust off my fax machine in years,” he continued. “To receive information that my agency had been terminated in such a manner gave me a couple of different feelings. Now, I understand a little better how people terminated via Twitter feel.”
In large part, Cox said, his company’s responsibilities included facilitating communication and helping build relationships between offshore race teams and SBI leadership. His company’s successes include establishing and the organization’s Livestream efforts, which bring SBI racing live online to 108 countries. Throughout the years, Cox Group tackled various projects for SBI including producing website design, its annual Key West program and marketing materials, as well as working as a corporate liaison and on sponsorship fulfillment.
Asked to explain his company’s termination, Cox said simply, “They chose to take their marketing efforts in a different direction. They chose another agency that better endorsed SBI’s marketing plans.”
Miami-based RKG, an international “digital media content and interactive studio that creates compelling creative visual content for branding and storytelling,” according to the company’s website, reportedly has taken on the Cox Group’s former responsibilities for SBI. (The company lists Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats as one of its website design clients.)
Representatives of SBI could not be reached for comment regarding its new agency when this story went live.
Cox and his team will continue to be involved in the offshore racing world.
“Effective immediately, I have been appointed the chief operating officer of Race World Offshore, and Cox Group is committed to helping their brand make a mark in the industry. I am engaged to help (RWO founder) Larry Bleil reach his goals of bringing great people together, making a positive impact on offshore racing and giving the racers and the fans the best experience possible. I am excited to work with someone like Larry, who appreciates new ideas, opportunities and opinions as means to making informed decisions.”
“The goals of Race World Offshore are to produce successful offshore racing events that don’t directly conflict with other established events from other sanctioning bodies,” he continued. “Larry has reiterated that to me and to many other people I know. He is solely funding Race World Offshore—he started it out of his own pocket—and is committed to offshore racing and building a great team.”
Cox said that, for the most part, the sport hasn’t changed much since he first started working with SBI. But he does see opportunity for growth.
“The state of offshore racing is the same as its been for nearly a decade since I got Into it,” he said. “It has been a sport of very intense, very dedicated professionals who have the opportunity to race with various organizations. Of course, there has been a lot of turmoil and drama with the various sanctioning bodies. To grow into a successful six- to eight-site series, the sport needs large corporate sponsorship involvement.”
“Overall, the combined number of committed teams out there between SBI and OPA—Race World Offshore has not had a race yet—hasn’t changed much,” he added. “There have been changes and teams do come and go, but for the most part, the group of diehard racers and team owners hasn’t changed. But we need new teams coming into the sport. We need younger people coming into the sport. We need new teams that start with smaller boats and ‘grow into’ larger boats.”
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