18 Apr WME | IMG Acquires Experiential Marketing Agencies Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE
NEW YORK (April 18, 2016) — WME | IMG today announced the acquisitions of leading experiential marketing agencies Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE, further strengthening the company’s ability to deliver world-class marketing and brand strategies for its clients. Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE work with leading brands include Anheuser Busch InBev, The Coca-Cola Company, DirecTV, Marriott, and Purina, among others.
For decades, Fusion Marketing has been known for executinglarge-scale productions that leverage experiential events, social and digital activations, and retail integrations.IMG LIVE specializes in creating memorable brand experiences that brings its clients’ sports, entertainment and lifestyle sponsorships to life.
The Fusion and IMG LIVE teams will become a part of WME | IMG’s Global Partnerships group, which guides the world’s leading brands on brand strategy and activation; sponsorships and endorsements; research and insights; creative and design; public relations; and digital and original content. Having worked closely with IMG LIVE over the years—and more recently with Fusion Marketing—on various brand activations, this acquisition now enables WME | IMG to offer a one-stop-shop from concept to delivery.
“Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE are key players in the experiential events space because they understand the importance of connecting with consumers on a personal level,” said Greg D’Alba, President, Global Partnerships, WME | IMG. “Their ability to help leading brands engage with fans and consumers in an honest, authentic way makes them the perfect addition to our portfolio.”
Through this acquisition, the more than 200 employees of Fusion Marketing (led by Bill Decker and based in St. Louis and Dallas) and IMG LIVE (led by Bryan Icenhower and based in Atlanta and New York) will be co-led by Decker and Icenhower who will report to D’Alba. Lee Heffernan, CEO and Co-Founder of IMG LIVE, will be retiring.
“As part of the WME | IMG family, we’re excited to continue delivering the world-class services and solutions our clients have grown to expect,” said Decker. “We will now have a much wider array of offerings to better serve our clients. This is truly a landmark day for our collective team.”
“IMG LIVE has enjoyed the very close working relationship we’ve developed over the years with WME | IMG,” said Icenhower. “We are excited to play an even larger role and provide our clients with greater access to their unique offerings moving forward.”
WME | IMG’s Global Partnerships group represents a diverse brand roster that includes 14 of the top 100 U.S. sponsors and eight of the top 100 global advertisers. The group works on behalf of clients including Anheuser Busch InBev, Kia, Visa, and Under Armour across the world’s top sports leagues and properties like the NFL and the Olympic Games.
WME | IMG has made a number of strategic investments and acquisitions across sports, events, and entertainment in the past year, including The Wall Group, Professional Bull Riders, The Miss Universe Organization, and PWR Events, which owns and operates leading UK festivals Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and the Hampton Court Palace Festival. The company also formed four strategic joint ventures in 2015 including ELEAGUE, an eSports league created in conjunction with Turner.
The Fusion Marketing and IMG LIVE acquisitions come on the heels of SoftBank Group’s recent $250 million investment in WME | IMG, joining Silver Lake Partners in helping accelerate the company’s global growth strategy including new acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures.