SBJ/September 10 - 16, 2007/This Weeks News

Outdoors production specialist acquired

JM Associates, a Little Rock, Ark., production company best known for producing much of ESPN’s outdoors programming, has been acquired by Career Sports & Entertainment, Atlanta.

Career Sports & Entertainment bought JM Associates,
which has developed shows that have been
produced for ESPN and owns events like
the College Smash-Mouth tourney.

The acquisition fits into Career’s strategy of increasing its video content and production capabilities. Lonnie Cooper, founder and CEO of Career, said he sees growth potential in outdoors programming and sponsorships. JM also offers Career the production muscle to create content, whether it’s a TV series that the agency will look to sell or video vignettes for the Internet or cell phone handsets.

“In all of the different areas, from the client service side to the corporate side, content is playing such a key role in our marketing efforts,” Cooper said. “There’s more of a control factor — being able to position the message — and that’s what we’re able to do.”

Jamie Sims, vice president of Career’s newly created media services division, said that while JM Associates brings expertise in the production of outdoors programming, “We didn’t buy JM just to do outdoors. We’ll continue to do that, but we’re going to take their expertise and apply it to other niche programming.”

Career, which represents brands, athletes, broadcasters and coaches, including Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan, will seek ways in which those clients can be integrated into video content.

JM has perhaps the longest relationship in the industry with ESPN, going back to “The Fishin’ Hole” with Jerry McKinnis, a syndicated show that launched 44 years ago and was picked up by ESPN in 1980.

As JM grew, it developed 20 shows or series that have been produced for ESPN, everything from fishing to lumberjack competitions and, most recently, “Race Wizard with Ray Evernham.” It also owns events.

JM Associates will maintain its name after the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not available.

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