Infront has today announced the acquisition of leading European obstacle course event organiser XLETIX GmbH in a move that extends its footprint in the growing personal and corporate fitness sector. The agreement sees Infront take full ownership of both XLETIX Challenge and its women-only Muddy Angel Run events, with XLETIX GmbH’s management continuing in their roles. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
XLETIX Challenge and Muddy Angel Run are two of the leading properties within the obstacle and themed running events market in Europe. Over 120,000 participants ran in events last year, with that number expected to reach almost 200,000 in 2018.
XLETIX Challenge is the biggest obstacle course event series in the German-speaking market with seven event weekends scheduled this year. Up to 15,000 people run per event weekend.
Muddy Angel Run is one of the biggest running series in Europe dedicated to women only. The targeted mass-participation events have grown over the last few years. This year’s calendar includes 20 event weekends across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Growth and positive participant engagement
Infront notes that both event series have a strong focus on team spirit and creating a unique event experience for the participants rather than competitive timing, with runners encouraged to enter alongside friends and colleagues.
They have both experienced rapid growth in a short space of time and Infront will now leverage its experience within personal and corporate fitness with an aim to continue that growth, bringing the events to more locations and expanding XLETIX GmbH beyond its current markets.
XLETIX Challenge and Muddy Angel Run also provide ‘highly attractive partnership options for sponsors focused on specific target groups’. XLETIX GmbH is offering ‘innovative on-event activation opportunities as well as cutting-edge digital branding and performance marketing strategies.’
A release from Infront adds that ‘Both event series have created multiple touchpoints between event and participants, ensuring a 360° approach to sponsorship activation that does not start and end on race day. Fans learn about sponsor products before the event on social media and digital channels, and have the ability to test or buy the products during and after the event.’
Infront Vice President of Personal and Corporate Fitness, Hans-Peter Zurbruegg (formerly at IRONMAN), notes that this latest acquisition fits part of the company’s new strategy to focus also on new personal and corporate fitness properties. “We recognised that XLETIX Challenge and Muddy Angel Run had experienced quick growth in an area of the market that is becoming more and more popular for both fitness enthusiasts and casual participants,” Zurbruegg said.
“Infront has a history of elevating events such as this one in both driving revenue but, more importantly, delivering a hugely satisfying experience for those taking part. Our work with B2Run, which started with 100,000 participants in one country and now has over 230,000 runners in nine countries, is proof of this.
“I strongly believe that the combination of high-quality events XLETIX GmbH puts on, our support in building effective sponsorship models, and our experience in the personal and corporate fitness market will see us take the running series to new heights. I am very happy that Jannis Bandorski and Matthias Ernst – the two founders and Managing Directors – as well as the entire XLETIX GmbH team – are part of Infront now.”
Zurbruegg added, “Moreover I am convinced that XLETIX GmbH will serve as a nucleus to grow our business in the segment of themed runs.”
XLETIX co-founder Jannis Bandorski notd that Infront’s culture and values linked to the company’s knowledge and contacts were a key factor in the partnership. ”Infront has a strong and consistent history in adding value to some of the world’s best running and cycling events and is a values-driven company attracting great talent,” he said.
“We are stoked to now be part of Infront’s portfolio of world-class sports events. Our expertise in mass-participation running events, digital sports marketing and digital sponsorship activation is a perfect fit with Infront’s strong portfolio and its cooperative approach to sponsorships and corporate partnerships. We believe we can shape this space together.”
“We recognise that there is huge potential in terms of delivering quality activations for our current and potential sponsors,” added Matthias Ernst. “We are looking forward to further strengthening our market position through sponsorship, international licensing, merchandising and media rights. Infront’s history of delivering these for other mass participation events gives us confidence that this is just the beginning of an exciting journey for us.”
XLETIX GmbH – based in Berlin, Germany – is one of the leading properties within the obstacle and themed running events market in Europe. Almost 200,000 participants will participate in XLETIX Challenge and Muddy Angel Run events across six European countries in 2018.
Infront is a leading sports marketing company managing a comprehensive portfolio of properties. Infront activities include the distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 1,000 staff working from over 38 offices across more than 14 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of sport around the world every year. In 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Group, part of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.