SBD/Issue 172/Sports Media

CCTV-IMG Partnership To Debut At Tennis Tournaments This Fall

Beijing's China Open In October Will Be
First Event Of CCTV-IMG Partnership
IMG said that it has "received the necessary clearance to operate a joint venture" with China Central Television (CCTV) and will "kick off its 20-year sporting-event partnership with the state broadcaster by organizing two tennis events," according to Loretta Chao of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The CCTV-IMG venture was announced last August, but did not hold its first board meeting until yesterday. IMG officials Monday said that it took "longer than they expected to receive the licenses needed to begin operations." Chao reported CCTV Sports Dir Jiang Heping "will be chairman of the partnership, which is majority-owned by the broadcaster." The partnership intends to create sports events across the country that "could be broadcast on CCTV, which has the biggest daily audience in the world, with 740 million daily viewers." Financial details of the partnership have not been disclosed, but IMG Chair & CEO Ted Forstmann said that it was a "'modest' investment by the company." Forstmann added it is an investment "that can lead to nothing, or something really very important." An IMG spokesperson said that CCTV-IMG "will target sports covering various demographics, including polo and sailing in the luxury category, tennis and golf for the white-collar category, and American football for younger fans." Chao noted the "first events of the partnership" are Beijing's ATP World Tour/Sony Ericsson WTA Tour China Open in October and the ATP Champions Tour Chengdu Open in November (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/26).

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