The new owner of IRONMAN, Dalian Wanda Group, one of the leading Chinese conglomerates and China’s largest investor in the cultural and entertainment sector, has announced today that Infront Sports & Media and IRONMAN will be integrated into a newly formed entity named Wanda Sports Holding Co Ltd.
This announcement follows the formal closing of the IRONMAN acquisition by Wanda Group last week.
Infront’s President & CEO Philippe Blatter (nephew of Sepp Blatter) will lead Wanda Sports as President & CEO and the top management from both Infront and IRONMAN will remain in place.
Wanda Sports will aim to build on the successful strategies of Infront and IRONMAN, and will focus on three core business pillars: Active Lifestyle (Participation Sports), Media & Marketing (Spectator Sports) and Digital and Production Services.
‘Relying on a truly international network’, Wanda Sports’ operational headquarters will be in Zug, Switzerland. The holding company is based in China. The Active Lifestyle business will be led by IRONMAN Chief Executive Officer Andrew Messick via IRONMAN’s head office in Tampa, Florida, USA.
Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, said “Wanda has a very high expectation for the development and prospects of the sports industry. The significance of establishing Wanda Sports is not only to integrate Wanda’s interests in sports, but also to truly expand and strengthen Wanda’s businesses in the industry, while at the same time grasping the rapidly growing opportunities in the Chinese sports market. We want to truly impact the development of sport around the world.”
Philippe Blatter, President & CEO of Wanda Sports, added “The integration of Infront and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) with its iconic IRONMAN brand under the roof of Wanda Sports represents an important step in the expansion of Wanda Group’s strategic investment in the global sports business.
“Under the new structure we expect the growth and acceleration of the company’s impressive portfolio of both spectator and participation sports based on the shared networks and resources of the integrated companies. All valued partners and clients, as well as millions of sports enthusiasts worldwide, will benefit.”
He continued, “The new structure will provide continuity and stability, a much enhanced service offering and strengthened resources in event development and delivery.”
In the following months, the management of Wanda Sports will ‘further review the entity’s structure to maximize strategic alignment.’ Further details will be announced in the course of Q1 2016.
Dalian Wanda Group was founded in 1988 and operates in four key areas: commercial properties, culture & tourism, e-commerce and department stores. In 2014, the company had assets of Yuan 534.1 billion (US$84 billion) and revenues of Yuan 242.5 billion (US$38 billion).
Wanda Group now operates 125 Wanda Plazas, 81 hotels (including 68 five-star hotels), 6,600 cinema screens and 99 department stores nationwide across China. Looking ahead, by 2020, Wanda aims to grow itself into a leading multinational with targeted assets of Yuan 1 trillion (US$157 billion), annual revenues of Yuan 600 billion (US$94 billion) and net income of Yuan 60 billion (US$9 billion).
Infront Sports & Media is a leading sports marketing company, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers a range of functions across sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has ‘won a reputation for its high standards of delivery.’
As the ‘number one player in winter sport ‘and with a leading role in football and summer sports, Infront enjoys partnerships with over 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of experienced staff working from over 25 offices across 13 countries, delivering 4,000 event days of sport around the world every year.