IMG Acquires Event Management Firm

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(from Sports Business Journal, April 15, 2013) Ken Kennerly’s IGP Sports and Entertainment Group is to partner with IMG’s golf division to boost IMG’s efforts of managing more events in North America and focusing on creating a strong presence in Jupiter, Florida, a golf-rich area.

With about 50 events around the world each year, event management and ownership is one of the top two revenue producers from IMG Golf. The other is player representation. IMG’s revenue from events has more than tripled in the past 10 years. However, roughly half of the events, including the WGC HSBC Champions in China, are based in Asia and many more held in Europe.

By acquiring IGP, IMG Golf has management of a PGA Tour event in the United States in addition to management of an LPGA major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Otherwise, IMG’s schedules few events in the United States.

“It’s essential that we’re in the PGA Tour,” Guy Kinnings, IMG’s Co-Managing Director for Global Golf, said last week from Augusta, Georgia, where he was entertaining clients and associates from around the world at the Masters, “with the assets that Ken already has, plus his experience, it brings it all together.”

Kennerly’s office in North Palm Beach, Florida, will become a main location for IMG Golf. Since last year, Kinnings has said that IMG Golf needed a presence in South Florida, where increasingly more flock to the golf scene.

The office will eventually house more than 20 employees, many new additions from the Cleveland office. The Cleveland office will stay open, but South Florida is expected to draw a stronger golf presence in the area.

Kennerly estimates that a quarter of PGA Tour events outsource management and operations to firms in a similar way. Revenue in such situations typically flows from either a fee or from revenue share.

Similar deals are expected to be made in the near future. “There are opportunities out there,” Kennerly said.