SBD/Issue 126/Leagues & Governing Bodies

IMG Makes Push Into India Market With Newly Formed Venture

New Venture Is
Forstmann's "Brainchild"

IMG and India-based Reliance Industries Ltd. have formed a joint venture called IMG Reliance to develop, market, and manage sports and entertainment in India (IMG). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Lattman & Futterman note IMG Reliance “seeks to unlock the country’s vast but undeveloped sports market.” The venture will look to “develop professional soccer and basketball leagues in India, as well as nurture athletic talent by building sports academies throughout the country.” The deal is the “brainchild” of IMG Chair & CEO Ted Forstmann and Reliance Chair Mukesh Ambani. Lattman & Futterman note the “real potential profits from the venture will come from the development of professional sports leagues.” India has “little in the way of a professional sports infrastructure, and nothing that approaches the professional level of basketball or soccer leagues that exist in other countries.” IMG Reliance will “look to strike arrangements with India’s soccer and basketball federations to help them build these leagues.” Forstmann said that the venture’s “ambitions are to create something akin to England’s Premier League.” IMG “will make scholarships available to the most promising athletes.” The company also will “build out its business in India of managing talent, as well as the country’s fashion and film celebrities” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/13).

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