IMG has acquired a strong minority equity position in Bloomberg Sports for approximately $6 to $8 million, according to Sports Business Daily.
Bloomberg Sports, known for its strong sports analytics data and partnerships with Major League Baseball and the National Football League, believes that IMG's large worldwide footprint will help it rapidly expand into a potentially lucrative realm.
We were really looking at what were the logical steps in growing the business with a big focus on international sports that have tremendous worldwide scope, said Bill Squadron, the head of Bloomberg Sports. We felt that the best way to achieve that rapid accelerated growth in those markets was to partner with someone that had a major footprint across international sports.
Squadron, who worked at ING from 2004 to 2006 as head of IMG Media in North America, believes that a partnership with IMG will really help Bloomberg Sports on the business side, where it can package its analytics with IMG's television rights distribution. Trans World International, the events arm of IMG, has partnerships with the English Premier League, Indian Premier League, and other leagues that Bloomberg Sports hasn't tapped into yet.
The two premier leagues -- representing soccer and cricket, respectively -- are two sports that Bloomberg Sports will target with its offerings. The company expects to have some of its products introduced into the international market by fall, but Squadron declined to go into detail about exactly what to expect. Sports Business Daily reported in April that the company was planning on offering a fantasy data tool for the English Premier League.
There may be a sport where IMG has significant involvement with respect to production or television rights, media properties, that we have versions of our products that are very strong for broadcast, online distribution, he said. We provide media content that comes out of the strength of analytics. Because of the relationships IMG has, we can bring those kinds of products into the mix and strengthen the entire package.
The combination really creates a whole that's bigger than the sum of the parts.
Bloomberg began building sports products in 2008 and has largely built its reputation on its data offerings to professional sports organizations and consumer-based data for fantasy sports users.