Industry shorts: IMG, EFL, BT Sport, Facebook...

19 Mar 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

IMG has been appointed as the exclusive sales agent for UEFA EURO 2020 Official Hospitality in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The five-country tender is the first to be awarded for UEFA 2020 hospitality and follows IMG's work with UEFA during UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League finals in the UK, and UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Jonathan Cocke, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of Stadia and Hospitality, IMG, commented: “We are delighted to be the exclusive appointee of UEFA Events S.A. in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland for customers to purchase official hospitality packages for UEFA EURO 2020 matches.

“IMG is the only source of official hospitality packages for customers based in these markets, with exclusive allocations for matches at Wembley Stadium in London, Hampden Park in Glasgow, Dublin Arena and other tournament venues, including the final, both semi-finals and the other matches to be played at Wembley.

"UEFA EURO 2020 will be the 60th anniversary of the UEFA EURO tournament and a major global sporting event in 2020, and we are looking forward to playing a key role in the success of the tournament.”

UEFA EURO 2020 will be played across 12 venues in 12 different European countries. The final three matches – the two semi-finals and the final – will be played at Wembley Stadium in London.

Official Hospitality options will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from June 2019, and there will be a pre-sale period for existing box holders at the venues beginning in May 2019. 

EFL's annual Day of Action today, Tuesday 19th March, will see all 72 EFL clubs come together to demonstrate the power of football in changing people’s lives.

Every club will host an event designed to showcase the best of its work to tackle a diverse range of social issues, from homelessness and mental health, to community cohesion and the battle against plastic pollution.

Managers and players will also pay special visits to participants and turn their hand to some of the activities taking place throughout the day. 

Examples include Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah, who has has been distributing essential supplies to homeless people in Birmingham. The Villa star joined the Outreach Angels – a group of local volunteers – to hand out hot food, toiletries and warm clothing.

Meanwhile Cambridge United of Sky Bet League Two has been recognised nationally for improving mental health literacy in young people. The club's ‘Mind Your Head’ project raises awareness about mental health, tackles stigma and promotes good mental health, whilst also helping secondary school pupils understand and manage their own mental health, avoiding potential issues in the future.

The EFL and its Clubs represent the largest network of sporting charities in the UK, investing £80m in communities in 2018.

Boxing entertainment brand ULTIMATE BOXXER has signed a broadcast deal with BT Sport, starting with its first event of the year on Friday 10th May at The Indigo at The O2.

The agreement will see a minimum of five ULTIMATE BOXXER events broadcast live in the UK and Ireland during the first year.

The events will be simulcast on BT Sport and its free-to-air YouTube channel as well as on dedicated boxing channel BoxNation.

The ULTIMATE BOXXER concept is designed to engage and attract the next generation of sports fans, providing more regular content.

Each events see eight fighters from around the UK battle it out in the high-paced elimination tournament iofs of 3 x 3 minute rounds.

IRONMAN has agreed a multi-year, global partnership extension with Facebook for live and fully-produced race coverage of its live events.

The extended agreement covers 17 live events in 2019, increasing to 19 in 2020, with a third-year option for 22 events in 2021.

It includes full live coverage of the IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, as well as on-demand highlights of every broadcast on Facebook Watch. 
“Participatory sports are a great fit for Facebook Watch because they're highly communal with established and engaged fanbases on our platform,” said Devi Mahadevia, Facebook North America Sports Programming Lead.

“IRONMAN is a perfect example, so we're thrilled to build on the success of our 2018 partnership by teaming again to bring fans around the world full-length coverage of the competition's top events.”
In 2018, more than 3.5 million people watched at least one minute of an IRONMAN live broadcast on Facebook. 
IRONMAN plans to build on the first year of its Facebook partnership with productions incorporating viewer interaction through Facebook Watch Parties, real-time polls, fan discussion, and user-generated content from spectators along the course.
The live event coverage will be hosted by past champions of IRONMAN events.

F1 star Fernando Alonso has been named as an investor in Motorsport Network’s esports platform, Motorsport Games. Alongside his equity stake, Alonso will join the board of the company that consolidates Motorsport Network’s  portfolio of esports operations.

Motorsport Games brings together the official NASCAR teams’ esports series, the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, Motorsport Network’s joint-venture with Le Mans in the Le Mans Esport Series, and the recently announced partnership with Codemasters.

The company is chaired by John Schappert, who led Electronic Arts’ portfolio of studios and franchises including Madden NFL and Need for Speed as the company’s COO. Motorsport Games Stephen Hood brings 20 years of games & esports experience to the division and was formerly the Creative Director of Codemasters’ Formula 1 games.