03.28.2012

IMG College and Learfield Sports Form Joint Venture in Ticketing Business

“IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions” to Enhance Revenue for Schools While Offering Fans Greater Choice and Convenience

Winston Salem, NC (March 28, 2012) – IMG College and Learfield Sports today announced a joint venture providing colleges and universities nationwide an outsourced ticket sales solution designed to increase attendance and revenues generated from athletic events as well as choice and convenience when fans purchase tickets.

Under terms of the agreement, the two entities have formed IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, the new joint venture in which each company has a 50 percent ownership interest. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will initially include the existing business of 12 universities currently partnered with IMG College for ticket sales. IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will be operational immediately and based in Winston-Salem, NC. Matt DiFebo, who has managed IMG Ticket Solutions after IMG acquired his pioneering DiFebo Company in late 2010, will oversee day-to-day operations of the new venture, with Mark Dyer (SVP Business Innovations, IMG College) and Roger Gardner (Vice Chairman, Learfield) serving as the respective senior management representatives.

IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will offer schools a professional sales force, working either within the athletic department or the national sales center, to increase ticket sales and fan choice and convenience. Schools will continue to manage the administration of their ticket programs, but IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will help sell tickets that would otherwise go unsold. The current university ticketing partners to be serviced include Akron, California-Davis, Duke, Evansville, UNLV, Penn State, Syracuse, Richmond, San Jose State, Temple, Tennessee and Texas-San Antonio, with many new school partners expected to affiliate with the growing program.

“IMG College offers universities a full suite of professional services to make them more successful,” said Ben Sutton, President of IMG College. “Our relatively new and successful Ticket Solutions business, which has already generated millions in new revenue for schools, will become significantly stronger through this joint venture with Learfield. In a highly competitive live event marketplace, combining our talent, resources and relationships will provide schools the highest level of service and increased attendance and ticket sales.”

“This joint venture just makes sense, and we’re pleased to be an equal partner in its growth and development moving forward,” said Learfield’s President and CEO Greg Brown. “After 40 years in the collegiate marketplace, we’re poised to build on our outstanding relationships and resources into this leading-edge solution for athletic administrators.”

Even though more Americans attend college athletics events than any other sport – each year more than 100 million fans attend events – the overall ticket marketplace is increasingly competitive, which is compounded by a challenging economy and the advent of high-definition television. Expanding the outreach of the ticket sales departments at programs large and small across the country has produced impressive results. Universities have already reported record-setting athletics ticket sales with IMG College’s privatized, in-house solution:

• University of Tennessee reports generating more than $2 million in new ticket sales in eight months, as well as nearly $500,000 in donations generated for the university.
• The University of Texas at San Antonio set an inaugural season football attendance record (36,151 per game), helping the school also reach $1,000,000 in new ticket sales this past season.
• Temple University has generated $1,000,000 in new sales while exceeding its basketball ticket expectations by $500,000 this past season.
• Duke University reports generating over $1,000,000 in ticket sales for football and women’s basketball since May 2011.

“IMG College is proud of the strong growth and track record of results across the country in our ticket group’s first 15 months of operation,” said Dyer. “Joining forces with Learfield will bring added resources expanding our ability to help schools of all sizes build and enhance relationships with fans, while successfully generating for them much-needed revenue. We believe this partnership will increase our ability to make a positive impact across intercollegiate athletics.”

“We’re excited about this new joint venture with IMG and believe that it represents tremendous value to the collegiate arena,” said Gardner. “Learfield will not only bring reputable, long-term relationships and resources to the table, but remarkable talent that will make this new company the leading solution for collegiate athletic departments.”

“We provide a sales engine for college athletic departments that is focused on the fan in order to build lasting relationships and deliver superb execution of our services for our partner schools,” said Matt DiFebo, VP and managing director for IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions. “Already, our unprecedented success in a variety of different school situations and marketplace conditions, demonstrates the measurable impact of our proactive approach to ticket sales and customer service. We take great pride in the many successes we’ve had since beginning operations, and look to continue to serve more schools even more effectively through the new IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions company.”

About IMG College
IMG College is the leading multimedia, marketing and licensing/brand management company in America representing more than 200 of the nation’s top collegiate properties including the NCAA and its 88 championships, NCAA Football, leading conferences, and many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Headquartered in Winston Salem, N.C., IMG College is the leader in capturing consumer devotion to college sports through partnership opportunities in multimedia rights, licensing, events and hospitality, marketing, stadium and arena development, stadium seating solutions, ticketing, sales, and consulting. IMG College produces over 30,000 hours of radio programming on the largest sports network in the country, manages nearly 5,000 hours of local television programming, is the leading publisher of college sports publications in America, and is the largest manager of university official athletic websites. IMG College is a division of IMG Worldwide, a global sports, fashion and media business. For more information, please visit www.imgworld.com.

About Learfield Sports
Learfield Sports manages the multimedia rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations and titles the acclaimed Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup with award founders NACDA and USA Today. The company is an operating unit of Learfield Communications, Inc., which was founded in 1972. Learfield Sports provides exclusive sports programming to more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide, and its programming is seen on more than 160 local television stations, cable systems and Regional Sports Networks. To learn more about Learfield Sports’ history, leadership and complete collegiate portfolio, visit www.learfieldsports.com.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Giangola, IMG College, 646-871-2402, or andrew.giangola@imgworld.com
Jennifer Duncan, Learfield Sports, 469-767-8324, or jduncan@learfieldsports.com