Infront Sports & Media
|Type||Sports & Media|
Number of locations
|Philippe Blatter (President and CEO)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Dalian Wanda Group (among others)|
Infront Sports & Media is a sports marketing company based in Zug, Switzerland. The company handles the media and marketing rights for international sports events and federations and also provides sports services - such as advertising, sponsorship and hospitality. It represents all seven Olympic winter sport federations, several summer sport organizations and manages media rights for the FIS World Cup Events. Infront was created in late 2002 through the integration of CWL, Prisma and KirchSportAG.
Infront Sports & Media was founded in October 2002 with FIFA as its core business as the company who sold the television and radio broadcasts for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The company originated from a merger of two existing Swiss-based marketing companies, CWL and Prisma Sports & Media. CWL was founded by Cesar Lüthi, who sold the business to the Kirch Group. In 2005 the company lost the right to resell the TV and radio rights in Europe, though it retained the ability to sell Asian rights, as part of a division of the rights by FIFA. Infront subsidy HBS won the contract to manage the TV and radio broadcast production. Two months later, the company hired President and CEO Phillippe Blatter, to replace departing chief Oscar Frei. The appointment of Blatter, who is the nephew of Sepp Blatter, the then President of FIFA, was criticized by author Andrew Jennings and Transparency International. During this time as chief executive, Phillippe Blatter was able to grow the company's revenues.
Until 2011 it was owned by a consortium of shareholders. In September 2011 – European private equity firm Bridgepoint reached an agreement to acquire the company. In February 2015, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda won an auction to purchase Infront from Bridgepoint for more than €1 billion. In November of that same year, it was announced that Infront would merge with the World Triathlon Corporation (including the latter's Ironman brand) to form the Wanda Sports division.
Infront Sports & Media has 1000 employees in 14 countries. Infront Sports & Media supports media rights distribution, marketing concepts and sponsorship sales for sporting events as well as media production (host broadcasting, post production and archive management). Infront's subsidiary, Host Broadcast Services (HBS), manages television and radio signals for broadcasters at sports events such as the FIFA World Cup. Infront subsidiary, Omnigon helps sports and media companies, such as NASCAR, to develop mobile apps and websites.
As of May 2018, EHF(European Handball Federation) expands 25-year-long partnership with Infront, runs to 2030.
On 4 June 2018, Infront announced the acquisition of leading European obstacle course event organiser XLETIX GmbH in a move that extends its footprint in the growing personal and corporate fitness sector.
In July 2018, Infront and FIDAL, the Italian Athletics Federation, announced a six-year partnership on Friday which will run until 2024. The agreement unveiled at a press conference in Rome, will see Infront and FIDAL collaborate at all levels of the federation's events and projects.
Infront Sports & Media represents all seven Olympic winter sport federations, including the IIHF for ice hockey and the IBU for biathlon. It also manages media and/or marketing rights to most of the FIS World Cup events. In summer sports, Infront started supporting mass participation and endurance sports in 2011, including Ironman events and the UCI World Championships in cycling. It is also a partner for the EHF EURO in handball and the CEV European Championships in Volleyball. In China, Infront represents the Chinese Basketball Association tournament and the national team, Team China Basketball. Infront's HBS subsidiary was awarded the Judge's award at the 2010 International Broadcasting Convention for its work helping FIFA broadcast the World Cup in stereoscopic 3D.
In football, Infront has supported the FIFA World Cup since 2002. It distributes the Asian media rights and manages the host broadcast production. In 2011, Transparency International asked Fifa to be more open about possible conflicts of interest, when it was discovered that the President of Infront was Philippe Blatter, nephew to the President of Fifa, Sepp Blatter. Fifa said Blatter was not involved in awarding the deal to Infront. Infront also works with the German Football Association (DFB), the Italian Lega Serie A and the Indonesian, Indonesia Super League. In 2016 Infront with Omnigon collaborated on several projects including digital services to the Serie A and mobile app development for the German Football Association's DFB Cup.
- Harald Griebel, developed marketing for the Ice Hockey World Championships from 1981 to 2008.
- David Owen. "Infront to acquire Dutch agency specialising in speed skating". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Ohne Kirch "in Front" | NZZ" (in German). 21 November 2002. ISSN 0376-6829. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- Carvajal, Doreen (6 August 2006). "Another Blatter on world soccer stage - Technology - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- "Marketing-Pionier Cesar W. Lüthi gestorben". News.ch (in German). 18 July 2002. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "Cesar W. Lüthi verstorben". Hockeyfans.ch (in German). 18 July 2002. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
- David Bond. "Fifa criticised after TV rights handed to Sepp Blatter's nephew". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Ebrahimi, Helia (2 September 2011). "Bridgepoint buys Swiss sports rights company". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- Helia Ebrahimi. "Bridgepoint Buys Swiss Sports Rights Company". Telegraph. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- "Bridgepoint Reaches Agreement to Acquire Infront Sports & Media AG". Bridgepoint.eu. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- "Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of sports marketing group Infront by Bridgepoint". Europa.eu. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- Cotterill, Joseph; Massoudi, Arash; Blitz, Roger. "Dalian Wanda buys Sepp Blatter nephew's sports rights agency". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "Chinas Wanda buys sports group Infront for 1.05 billion euros". businessinsider.com. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Liam Morgan. "Infront Sports & Media and World Triathlon Corporation to merge following purchase by Dalian Wanda Group". Inside the games.biz. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- http://www.infrontsports.com/about-infront/ Retrieved 2 February 2017
- "Philippe Blatter on Wanda Sports Group's bid to become a global sports industry player". www.sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "WTC to offer Magazine Programming to Ironman Series". isportconnect.com. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- "End of host broadcasting era as Tellier steps down". www.insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
- David Lieberman. "Wanda's Infront Builds Digital Sports Muscle With Acquisition of Omnigon". deadline.com. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Dan Palmer. "International Ski Federation launch new mobile app". insidethegames.bi. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "EHF expands 25-year-long partnership with Infront | Infront Sports & Media AG". www.infrontsports.com. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Infront strengthens themed run portfolio with XLETIX GmbH acquisition | Infront Sports & Media AG". www.infrontsports.com. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- "Running to future: Infront adds Athletics to Italian portfolio with FIDAL partnership".
- David Cushnan. "Eurosport Renews Major Winter Sports Package". sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- Adam Fraser. "Infront Signs Skoda to Record Breaking IIHF Deal". sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- David Cushnan. "Infront re-ups with Finnish Ski Association". sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- "World Triathlon Corporation Partner with Infront to Attract Sponsors". isportconnect.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- James Emmett. "UCI Set for Commercial Growth after Infront landmark deal". sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- Adam Fraser. "Handball is Big Business Across Europe". sportspromedia.com. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Matt Cutler. "Infront to Continue Forward Momentum of Chinese Basketball". sportsbusiness.com. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- Xiaochen. "Sponsors confident in future of basketball league". chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- "3D Production: FIFA World Cup™ 2010". liveproduction.tv. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "FIFA appoints Infront as Exclusive Sales Representative for Asian Broadcast Rights". liveproduction.tv. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- Matt Cutler. "DFB Expands Infront Media Rights Partnership". sportsbusiness.com. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
- Paul Nicholson. "Infront secures four more years to their package of German sales rights". insideworldfootball.com. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- "Football made in Italy". sportelmonaco.com. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009. Retrieved 12 October 2009.
- "Italy football clubs pick adviser for TV rights negotiations". uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "ISL Musim 2015 Tak Bisa Lagi Disaksikan Melalui Antena UHF" (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- http://deadline.com/2016/01/wanda-infront-sports-media-build-digital-muscle-buys-omnigon-1201686858/ Wanda’s Infront Builds Digital Sports Muscle With Acquisition of Omnigon by David Lieberman 20 January 2016 Retrieved 9 February 2017
- http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2016/01/20/Finance/Infront.aspx Infront Sports & Media Acquires Controlling 51% Equity Interest in Omnigon Januarth 20th, 2016 Retrieved 9 February 2017
- "Infront employee to receive prestigious IIHF award". Infront Sports & Media AG. May 2009. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- "IIHF Hall of Fame inducts five". International Ice Hockey Federation. May 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2020.