JUNE 23, 2009
FOTA and IMG
According to rumours at Silverstone, the organisation of the new FOTA championship could be placed in the hands of the International Management Group (IMG), the world's premier and most diversified sports, entertainment and media company.
IMG is involved in event management and talent representation across golf, tennis and fashion and has a significant presence in many other sports, cultural and lifestyle categories. Its media division is one of the world's top independent producers of sports and entertainment television.
The company is now owned by Ted Forstmann, an attorney who made a fortune in private equity. He acquired IMG in 2004 after the death of its founder Mark McCormack. IMG's international headquarters is in Chiswick in London, although the main company operates out of New York. The company's sports and entertainment division is run by George Pyne, who made his name in NASCAR, while Andrew Hampel, the managing director of IMG Europe, Africa and Middle East, was involved with F1 in the early 1990s, as head of the IMG motorsport division representing Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost.
IMG has experience running events such as the Surfers' Paradise Indycar race and the Grands Prix of Cleveland and Detroit. It also represents some big names in the sport, mianly in the United States. One intriguing connection is that IMG has recently signed a deal to represent Danica Patrick. She is rumoured to be heading for NASCAR but there is an argument that it would be better for her to try to go global and aim for F1. There are several F1 teams that would take Danica in a flash. IMG will understand very clearly the value of Patrick in F1, not least for launching a FOTA F1 series in the United States.