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Volume 20 No. 41
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IMG College gets shot at hoops HoF’s events

IMG College, the rights holder at 80 schools where its focus is sales and marketing, is leaping into the events side of the business by working with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to produce and manage its annual college basketball games.

It’s the first of what IMG College President Tim Pernetti hopes will be a more significant events business for the collegiate rights holder.

The Hall of Fame runs several college and high school games annually for men and women. IMG will work on its premier neutral-site college games in Miami, Los Angeles and Connecticut each November and December, while also looking for opportunities to expand into other markets.

IMG will perform a range of services, including sponsorship sales, event planning, media rights negotiations, ticketing, scheduling and potentially entertainment and other aspects of programming these events. The hall will largely handle the game operations.

IMG and the nonprofit hall have a revenue-share agreement that will split the profits from the games.

Pernetti said the company has been evaluating the events space for more than a year. Between ESPN Events, Fox Sports and independent promoters like BD Global and Gazelle Group, “it’s a very crowded space,” Pernetti said. “Anybody can get into the event space, but we’re looking for longevity. These [Hall of Fame] events have been successful and they can be built upon.”

When IMG College decided that it wanted to make a move into events, it explored multiple options: producing its own games, acquiring an events company, or creating a partnership with an existing event entity, like the Hall of Fame and its neutral-site games.

Pernetti said working with the Hall of Fame made the most sense because it has a track record of running quality games with good competition. This season, Syracuse and Kansas will play in the Hoophall Miami Invitational, while Southern Cal-Oklahoma will headline the Hall of Fame Classic at Staples Center.

Being in the events business also provides IMG College with another avenue to develop relationships with schools and their athletic directors through scheduling these games.

IMG College’s agreement with the hall begins this season.

“As we’ve been vetting opportunities to play in the event space, we were choosy about who we wanted to get into business with,” Pernetti said. “The people at the Hall of Fame are really good at running and operating these events, and we can bring some sales acumen and integration acumen with TV and scheduling.

“This is the start of us doing more. We have several more conversations in the works.”