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Volume 27 No. 27
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IMG Hires Former ESPN Exec Mark Shapiro To Fill New Chief Content Officer Position

IMG has hired former ESPN exec MARK SHAPIRO to become the company's Chief Content Officer, a new position that brings him back to the sports world after years of working in entertainment. Shapiro will rely on his experience in both sports and entertainment as he looks to design and sell new programming and content created from IMG’s events and media businesses. He will report to WME-IMG co-CEOs ARI EMANUEL and PATRICK WHITESELL. The hire follows nearly a year of rumors that Shapiro would work for IMG. Shapiro advised Emanuel and Whitesell last year on WME’s $2.4B acquisition of IMG. He remained in talks with them about joining the company after WME closed the deal in May. Emanuel and Whitesell carved out a new position for him that fits with their vision for generating new revenue by creating more sponsorship and content packages across divisions ranging from tennis and golf to fashion and media. In a statement, Emanuel and Whitesell said, “Mark brings extensive experience in consumer entertainment, brand building, marketing, television programming and digital media to IMG. Mark’s expertise will help us evolve our content digital and production strategies across IMG’s Events & Media, Fashion and Models businesses globally and create new revenue streams." Shapiro distinguished himself as a young exec at ESPN, where he spent 12 years working on programming development and acquisition. He was known as a hard-charger who pushed ESPN to improve its programming slate. Much of his work is reflected in ESPN’s afternoon programming, including "PTI" and "Around The Horn." He played a major role in pushing ESPN into original content and spearheaded the fictional NFL drama “Playmakers.” He most recently worked as an Exec Producer at Dick Clark Productions. He also served as the CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

LATEST IN LONG LINE OF MOVES: Shapiro is the latest in a series of hires Emanuel and Whitesell have made as they look to have divisions across IMG work more closely together on new and existing business. IMG hired former Turner exec GREG D'ALBA as Head of Global Sales to create more sales collaboration across the company and former Fox Sports exec KAREN BRODKIN as President of Business Affairs to work with legal execs across the company. Shapiro is not a replacement for outgoing IMG Sports & Entertainment President GEORGE PYNE. He will work alongside IMG Events & Media Chair MICHEL MASQUELIER and President IORIS FRANCINI as he creates new content. Shapiro in a statement said, “I am excited to join IMG at such a unique moment. No other company has access to such a diverse, innovative portfolio of content creators and distributors, and I look forward to helping create and champion our partners’ stories and ideas.”