IMG targets new audiences for its sports with Wave.tv partnership
By Euan Cunningham
IMG, the international sports and entertainment agency, is looking to widen exposure for some of its properties having today entered a strategic partnership with Wave.tv, the fledgling USA-based sports media platform.
Wave.tv has a significant following of 18-to-34 viewers and its digital media brands and social media accounts, including Wave TV, ‘Benchmob’, ‘Buckets’, ‘No Limits’ and ‘The Pump’, will initially offer content from IMG sports properties including Euroleague Basketball, the World's Strongest Man competition and action sports channel Edge Sport.
The partnership will extend across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, and aims to take the properties to a younger audience, with potential for further content on Wave.tv in the future.
Other sports represented by IMG include fellow brands in the Endeavor stable in the Professional Bull Riders circuit and mixed martial arts' UFC.
It is claimed the agreement will "dramatically increase the volume of traditional and non-traditional sports programming available on Wave.tv's media brands" and generate advertising revenue for both parties.
Wave.tv will be in charge of direct and programmatic sales from the deal.
World’s Strongest Man has already dipped its toes into the water with Wave.tv, with content from that series being distributed via Wave TV, highlights shows and 'The Pump' Snapchat account for the last 18 months. This was conducted to establish how Wave.tv followers would react to non-traditional sporting content.
Rebecca Levin, director, media at IMG, said: “While working together on World’s Strongest Man, we quickly realised that Wave TV and its digital platforms provide a unique opportunity for our brands to engage with today’s sports fans in entertaining new ways. Storytelling and creating memorable experiences are at the core of what we both do, and we're excited to be providing more content and access for fans than ever before as we extend our partnership to include other IMG properties."
Greg Bobolo, senior vice-president of strategy and partnerships at Wave.tv, added: “This deal is a real sign of the times, where IMG and Wave were able to combine forces and jointly focus on a massive shift that’s happening in the sports media landscape… Digital native fans are taking over the sports world, and they’re unlike any fans we’ve ever seen.”
Wave.tv claims to generate in the region of 3.2 billion total monthly views for its content, and to have over 60 million followers and subscribers.
Last month, the operation struck a distribution agreement with the Spain-based international rights and production agency Mediapro for Mexican soccer as well as a host of top baseball and softball content.
That agreement covers Liga MX, the top Mexican soccer league, the WBSC Baseball and Softball World Cups and the Premier 12, the men's national teams baseball competition.
There will be no live sport on offer, with Wave to have access and rights to use unlimited archive content and highlights to create videos to be shared across its digital platforms.