Rick Jones describes himself as "Head Captain" of FishBait Marketing, a sports and entertainment sponsorship/event marketing consultancy based in Charleston, South Carolina.
FishBait's clients include:
- The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
- Capital One (managing the Capital One Cup)
- Werner Co. (managing sponsorships for Werner Ladder)
- Dollar General (overseeing the Dollar General Big 12 Championship Tour)
- The National Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, IN
Rick is also a partner in R&R Bait and Tackle, a Nashville, TN based agency specializing in sponsorships in country music, with clients including the Country Music Association, Opry Entertainment and BMI.
He joined Cohn & Wolfe Public Relations as an account supervisor in 1985 and left in 1986 to start his own firm, The Strategic Group, which grew into one of Atlanta's top sports and event marketing companies.
In 1994, Rick and his four partners sold The Strategic Group to Advantage International (now Octagon Marketing) and became the Atlanta branch of Advantage's worldwide event marketing network.
While working at Advantage, Rick initially served as Vice President for Corporate Consulting before moving his family to London and serving as Managing Director for Europe for two years.
In 1997, Rick formed CMA, his second agency startup, with partners Host Communications and the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). In 2000, CMA merged with several other agencies to form The GEM Group, where Rick served as Chief Executive Officer. In 2001, The GEM Group was sold to CSS Stellar, a London-based publicly traded entertainment and sports marketing and management agency.
Rick left GEM in late 2002 to form FishBait. FishBait celebrated its 15th Anniversary on February 6, 2018.
Rick has worked with many of the world's premier corporations, advising and implementing sports, entertainment and cause-related marketing programs on their behalf.
- MasterCard International (World Cup Soccer and PGA TOUR sports sponsorships, Children’s Miracle Network cause-related marketing program, and the creation of the Master’s of Music concert in Hyde Park to benefit Prince Charles charity The Prince’s Trust)
- Olympic Games sponsorship activation programs for Sara Lee, IBM, General Mills, Home Depot, BMW, BellSouth, Motorola, Beaulieu , Coca-Cola ‘s POWERade brand, Samsung and CompUSA
- Bank of America (multiple sports, entertainment and cause-related marketing programs including The Olympic Games, creation of the DOWN UNDER TOUR, a traveling Australian theme park with proceeds benefiting the USOC, and PGA TOUR programs)
- Nabisco Brands (PGA TOUR umbrella sponsorship overall program management and award winning “Chip in for Charity” and “Putt of Gold” cause-related marketing and promotional programs)
- UPS (Olympic Games, NASCAR and NTRA programs)
- Sears (multiple sponsorship programs including NCAA, Sears Collegiate Champions, Salt Lake City Olympic Games, WNBA, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, including the creation of the Sears Clown program)
- Compaq Computer Corporation (development and execution of their NCAA Corporate Sponsor program – 1997-2000, including the development of the Compaq Campus Pals philanthropic and public relations program with NACDA)
- Bruno’s Grocery Chain (creation of the Bruno’s Memorial Classic golf tournament, which has raised more monies for charities than any other Senior TOUR, now Champions TOUR event)
- Georgia Tech Athletic Association (development of the Third Street Festival, a pre-football games music, entertainment and foods festival)
- University of Missouri (development of overall Brand and Experiential Marketing Game Plan for the University and its athletic department, including the development of the now legendary "Mizzou" tagline)
- The Southeastern Conference (SEC), creating the strategic platform for their 75th anniversary campaign in 2007-08
- Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (development and management of the SEC BeachFest in 2012 and 2013)
- The National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC cause-related marketing (including programs from Wal-Mart, Blockbuster Video, Tropicana, Super 8 Motels and the National Football League, which raised millions of dollars for the Memorial).
Additionally Rick has sold sponsorships for the PGA TOUR, NCAA, NACDA, National Football Foundation, The All-England Club at Wimbledon, the Goodwill Games, the WTA Tour and the Cricket World Cup, along with current and former FishBait clients in the collegiate sports space. He also was the creator of ChazzFest, a music festival held in Charleston, SC.
Rick is a renowned public speaker and seminar leader, appearing regularly at conferences like IEG, Relevent, the Baseball Winter Meetings, the International Festivals and Events Association, The Sports Summit, The National Sports Forum, High Wire, The Association of National Advertisers and the European Sponsors Consultants Association.
He has taught sports marketing at Georgia State University and The University of South Carolina and has spoken at conferences and annual meetings worldwide for a variety of organizations, companies and trade associations, including American Express, MediaLink, PCMA, Sears, Sara Lee, MasterCard, The Collegiate Licensing Company, Main Street, The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, The International Spa and Pools Association, The National Tour and Travel Association, Sporting Goods News, The National Association of College Bookstores, The US Army, Simon Brand Ventures, The Association of Allied Health Professionals, The University of Kentucky, The National Association of Sports Commissions, Tickets.com, NFL Canada, LA, Inc. and numerous convention and visitors bureaus.
Rick's first book, Analog Advice in a Digital World: A Baby Boomer's Words of Wisdom to the Millennial Generation, was published in October 2015.
Rick lives on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina with his wife, Charlotte. His daughter, Jennifer, is a graduate of The Tisch School of Dramatic Arts at New York University and is a writer living in England with her husband Rob Thorne and two boys, Ollie and Henry. Rick's son Ryan is a graduate of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida and works at FishBait as the manager of media projects. He previously worked in the motion picture industry in Los Angeles.
When Rick's not working, he's fishing!