From 1 April, Ghent event agencies New Balls Please and Clouds will join forces to become the largest event office in Ghent.
The Clouds team will move to the New Balls Please offices on Dublin Street and both teams will continue as one under the name New Balls Please - 100% events. After the COVID crisis that hit the event sector very hard and a general trend towards consolidation in the market, it is a logical step for both companies towards greater stability, security and growth. The main reason for the merger is mainly the pooling of more than 150 years of combined event experience to provide customers even better with unforgettable events.
Both agencies were founded in 2013 and have grown well over the years. Just before the COVID crisis, New Balls Please (with 3 founding partners Michel Van Camp, Valerie De Coster and Stein Hoogstoel) had a team of 16 people with a nice international customer portfolio. Since 2016, Clouds (with founder Matthias Lievens) has mainly focused on large productions for Flemish companies with a team of 8 people, but has also invested in large projects such as Antwerp Photo Festival, the open air cinema HOFF and bringing the international useR! conference.
Just like any event office, the switch was made to 'survival mode' in 2020 and 2021 and both teams saw employees leave. Nevertheless, New Balls Please certainly had a more than decent year in 2021, for example due to the organization of the COVID vaccination center in Turnhout.
“Surviving the COVID crisis was quite a challenge, but it also forced us to think about how we as a company can bridge such difficult periods even more strongly”, Michel explains how the idea of merger came about. “A close collaboration or even a merger with another office was immediately one of the options, and we have known for some time that in terms of client portfolio, way of working, style and culture we are very close to Clouds, who have their own office barely a kilometer from us. have an office in the north of Ghent.”
“Michel called me after the summer of 2021 to ask if I would like to have lunch together, by the Christmas holidays we had an agreement in principle and we are barely 3 months further and we are all ready to take the plunge and continue together as 1 whole”, continues Matthias van Clouds. “We felt pretty quickly that this was really what we needed, with the same mindset and vision on how to organize top events, which makes the process much easier.”
From 1 April, New Balls Please has a team of 11 event managers supplemented with a graphic design and planning and digital marketing department, good for almost 20 people in total. “Many event agencies have to work with many talents but with little experience. We have chosen from the start to invest in senior profiles who are strategically supported by an extensive group of enthusiastic young people. This not only ensures little turnover, but also that we can offer our customers real top events with a focus on a personal approach and perfect service”, adds Valerie from New Balls Please. “We look forward to integrating the Clouds team's experience into this philosophy and tackling it 100% together.”
“New Balls Please immediately uses the merger to join a larger group,” says Stein Hoogstoel. “Central Park will participate in several new companies in the coming years that will operate autonomously as separate satellites. We are investing heavily in foreign incentives. Something we were already strong in in the past and for which we have now recruited a senior incentive manager to further develop this. Furthermore, there are already sportsDC (organization of sports events and supervision of athletes) and Savethem Renting (rental of event locations) that will expand their activities within this structure. In addition, we are working on a hospitality company with a focus on registration, ticketing and cash register and payment services for events, retail and catering and we are still brooding on various ideas to roll out in the coming years.”
Finishing touch: New Balls Please will have a completely new house style as a result of the merger. All information and contact details can be found at www.newballsplease.be. Curious to work with New Balls Please or want to strengthen the team? firstname.lastname@example.org