Sport marketing guru

The Daily Sail catches up with FastTrack boss Ed Leask
With the increasing profile of sailors from Ellen MacArthur to our Olympians in the British public eye, it is not surprising that some serious figures from the sports marketing world are now showing more than a passing interest in sailing. Among them is the towering curly haired figure of Ed Leask, director of Fast Track. Leask is mre than a little biased towards our sport. He is a keen yachtsman and owns the Swan 56 Magical, while daughter Inga, who heads the sailing side of Fast Track, has the middle position on Shirley Robertson's Yngling. Professionally Leask has been in the sports marketing world since he first teamed up with partner Alan Pascoe in the mid-1970s. Their company API had some involvement with yachting in the past. They were responsible for setting up Land Rover's five year sponsorship of Cowes Week. They also arranged the memorable backing of the skiff circuit by the foul smelling Brut by Faberge. Among their coups were getting soccer off the ground in the US in the late 1980s where they ended up as partners in the Pro League and and ran the Washington club DC United which won the Pro League in its first two years. Perhaps most significant was that from 1990 they held the full commercial rights to the Commonwealth Games and ended up the dominant sports marketing entity in athletics in the UK and Europe. Five years ago Leask and Pascoe sold API to what was to become Octagon. At the time of the sale they had 300 full time staff in 16 offices around the world and a huge number of sub-contractors working for them for major events. However following the sale Leask says they bought back a small involvement with British Athletics, who at the time were in administation.