IMG Academy Exec Says That It's "Business As Usual" With Parent Company On the Market
With IMG Worldwide up for sale, it "remains to be seen" how the IMG Academy will be impacted, according to Charles Schelle of the BRADENTON HERALD. IMG Performance Managing Dir Sam Zussman said that he "held a meeting recently with IMG Academy staff to discuss the sale." He told his staff that it is "business as usual" at the Bradenton, Fla., facility. Speculation about the sale comes as IMG Academy is "in the midst" of a $36M, 100-plus-acre expansion, "including a 5,000-seat multisport stadium, a new residence hall for students, new track and field area and a 40,000-square-foot field house to open in two phases this year." The project received $2.3M from the state this year to "help attract more events." Zussman said that working at IMG beneath an equity firm ownership "hasn't hindered the academy's efforts, which has added 300 employees over the years, acquired 110 acres for expansion" and invested $50M in existing facilities. The academy's multi-sport stadium set to open in August can "host worldwide broadcasts thanks to its TV-ready lights and a broadcast-style press box." The second phase, set to open in December, will "feature a 40,000-square-foot fieldhouse with locker rooms, meeting spaces and offices." The third phase in '14 will "include an expanded research and development lab for sports performance companies such as Gatorade, Under Armor, Airweave, Prince tennis and motion-capture software company Motus Global, providing a powerful sports technology hub for the new owner." A sale could "even provide a broader mix of available sports events or talent that could use IMG Academy." Zussman said that each potential buyer will have their "own vision for how these units fit together, but the Academy has strategic plans to ensure stability ... both in three-year plans and longer-term visioning" (BRADENTON HERALD, 6/15).