LONDON--With the 2012 London Olympics just one year away, Hill & Knowlton has named UK sports marketing MD Andy Sutherden to lead a new global practice focused on the area.

The expansion follows a strong performance by Sutherden's UK sports unit, which grew its revenues by 44 percent to over £3m in 2010.

The division currently represents six London 2012 sponsors, responsible for sports marketing programmes for such brands as adidas, HSBC, P&G, Visa and Castrol.

“Sports marketing and sponsorship is a dynamic sector and H&K has been one of the market leaders in providing expert consultancy in this area for several years, especially in the UK," said H&K global COO Ken Luce. "The natural evolution is for H&K to capitalise on the knowledge built in the UK under Andy’s leadership and grow a truly global practice."

Luce added that Sutherden's focus over the next 15 months "will be fully realising the ‘Olympic’ opportunity."

Sutherden has led the UK sports practice since 2006.