James Barr’s company TN4 Hospitality keeps sporting hospitality sweet for corporate and private clients, By James Brewer
British entrepreneur James Barr knows all about the thrill of sporting events, on land and at sea. He has worked in the sports world on six continents and is putting his knowledge to work through his company TN4 Hospitality which specialises in event and sponsorship management, logistics, sporting hospitality, ticketing, global hotels and travel.
Mr Barr says: “Sport is big business now, and clever companies are using sporting hospitality as a platform to win new business and celebrate existing clients. My experience allows me to recommend and deliver the best match of sport and hospitality to a business.”
He named his company, of which he is managing director, after the TN4 postcode of Tunbridge Wells. This is a historic Kent town (a 30-minute train ride from London) where he lives and which for centuries has itself offered holiday hospitality to monarchs and their families who took the waters there, notably Queen Anne and Queen Victoria, and in 1909 Edward VII granted the town permission to add the prefix Royal.
Mr Barr said: “I’ve been passionate about sport all my life and have had the pleasure of playing rugby and cricket to a high level. Sadly through injury those days are over, and now I stick to marathon running and this year I’m determined to learn golf! I am also a huge fan of all types of motorsport, which has certainly come in handy over the past few years.”
His entry into the hospitality arena dates back 10 years through a chance conversation at a charity evening. Two interviews later he landed a job in London with a large sporting agency. The client list boasted two Formula 1 teams, and rugby, cricket and golf sponsors “to name just a few.”
This enabled him in eight years to work on six continents including Formula 1 racing across Europe, Asia, America and Australia, a marathon in Gaborone, Botswana, world athletics in Berlin and UK-based events including the Open Golf Championships, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Birmingham Motor Show and London Boat Show.
“In those years I worked with and learnt from a host of industry specialists including sponsorship and event directors, on- and off-site hospitality managers, logistical service managers as well as gaining a huge global contacts list to call upon. My interpersonal skills grew no end too, an aspect which I think is highly underestimated in our line of work, although a lot of it is managing the behind-the-scenes details; being confident, friendly, approachable yet professional is a must whether in a first meeting with a new client or on-site with 100 members of staff.
“So at the start of 2014 I decided to combine my passion for sport and the knowledge I’d gained from around the world to create my own company TN4 Hospitality.
“Whether you are looking to plan a sporting event from scratch, need management and staff at an existing event or just looking for sporting hospitality tickets, we have contacts on all corners of the globe. “One of the main reasons that sporting agencies exist is to take the stress away from the client.”
A main focus currently is Formula 1, with the 66th season of the championship already under way. He is familiar with the sport – its popularity may be gauged from its 425m television audience in 2014 – having spent nine seasons working in F1 from the very early days of ING Renault and Toyota to more recently with Sahara Force India.
Mr Barr has worked at 16 of the 19 circuits on this year’s F1 calendar “so if you are looking for the best grandstand to view the race from, the best hospitality at each circuit (some of which is not accessible online to the general public but is ideal for the proper race fan and great for private and corporate clients as they get that ‘money can’t buy’ feel to their weekend’) or just need a decent hotel recommendation in the host city, then get in touch and we can provide the options.”
He added: “In F1 there is no such thing as sold out, and if you think you’ve left it too late, drop us a line and we will do our best to find you that perfect seat, hospitality suite or hotel room.”
He said: “No job or enquiry is too big or too small: we offer ideas and solutions for all sporting event, sponsorship and hospitality requirements, both in the UK and overseas. From rugby to cricket from F1 to marine-related events we have it covered.”
On the marine side, “one good friend works for the Volvo Ocean Race, an ex-England rugby chum has recently completed the Clipper Yacht race for Team GB and another friend is captain of a certain football manager’s yacht. I have also worked at Cowes Week and the London Boat Show as well as F1-related business in Monaco and Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina).”
As to competition, there are lots of companies, as anyone can see from the internet, selling sporting hospitality and hospitality packages, so what sets TN4 aside from the rest? His inside track on Formula 1 has already been described, and “as for rugby and cricket, I have played and worked with some of the superstars of theses sports and have been hosted in many hospitality suites around the world. So when we say that we can definitely recommend the best hospitality for your money or business needs, we really mean it as we have experienced it first-hand.”
Mr Barr enthused: “TN4 Hospitality thrives in the sporting world, so, whether it’s just tickets for Silverstone, or you would like to meet to discuss a sporting project or event, then get in touch and we shall see how we can help.
“I love the challenge of building an event from scratch, working in a vibrant team seeing each aspect of the event come together until the chequered flag drops or the final whistle blows.”
For further information, see www.tn4hospitality.com