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Tributes paid as sponsorship ‘innovator’ Hester passes away

Toby Hester

The European Sponsorship Association has paid tribute to the well-respected sponsorship industry veteran Toby Hester, who has died at the age of 57.

In 2015, Hester founded Sponsorship Coach, a company advising rights-holders, agencies and brands on how to maximise value from sponsorships. He worked from 2007 to 2015 as global head of football sponsorship at Castrol, following on from his ten-year stint as head of sponsorship at T-Mobile.

Hester was a director for 18 years on the board of ESA, which said today (Tuesday): “An innovator with a wealth of experience, Toby was larger than life. Warm, charismatic and big-hearted, he was an active contributor to the global sponsorship community, always wholeheartedly embracing a challenge with his customary energy, dynamism and creativity.”

He was also praised by the ESA as a “loyal, genuine and unforgettable presence in the sponsorship industry”.

During his time at Castrol, he headed up the creation and delivery of the automotive lubricant’s sponsorship of the Fifa World Cup, Uefa European Championships and the ICC Cricket World Cup. At T-Mobile, programmes that he delivered included activations around the telecoms company’s sponsorship of T-Mobile’s professional cycling team and the English national football team.

In the late 1980s, he set up American Football Promotions an signed three UK players to NFL contracts.

ESA chairman Andy Westlake said: “Toby has always been such a passionate advocate for the work we do at ESA and his long tenure on the board is testament to the amazing contribution he’s made. He brought his many years’ experience to bear as we seek to build the Association, and his honest counsel will be missed by all of us on the board.”

“The heartfelt wishes of myself, the ESA Board and all our members go out to his wife and daughter. I hope, through our work, that we can keep Toby’s memory alive for many years to come.”

Karen Earl, the ESA’s chair from 2007 to 2017, added: “Toby’s passion for the sponsorship industry was infectious. Both colleague and client to so many people, his enthusiasm never dimmed. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and worked with him.”