July 31, 2008 08:01 ET

IMG and China Central Television (CCTV) Announce Historic, 20-Year Exclusive Joint Venture

'CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company' Will Change the Landscape of Sports Industry in China With Formidable New International Brand; Building on Olympic Excitement to Create and Develop World-Class Sporting Events and New Sponsorship Platform; First-of-Its-Kind Partnership Links Leading International Sports and Entertainment Company With World's Largest Television Broadcaster

BEIJING and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - July 31, 2008) - IMG Worldwide, Inc., the global sports and entertainment company, and China Central Television (CCTV), the world's largest television broadcaster, today announced the formation of a ground-breaking joint venture to create, develop and promote world-class sporting events and sports programming across China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The joint venture has a 20-year term and is exclusive to IMG and CCTV. It also marks the first time that a company based outside of China (IMG) has been chosen to participate in an exclusive, multi-year, multi-sport joint venture with CCTV.

The historic partnership, 'CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company,' will own and produce a series of live sporting events and television/multimedia programming that will serve as a completely new platform for a broad range of corporate sponsors in the region following the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. IMG's extensive knowledge and depth of experience in designing, staging and operating sporting events will be linked with the unrivalled influence and expansive reach of CCTV and its 17 national channels and array of cable networks, which combined currently reach more than one billion people. The joint venture will be headquartered in Beijing.

In making the announcement, IMG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ted Forstmann, said, "Today we are bringing together two international companies with unparalleled global reach. Pairing IMG's expertise in creating and developing high-profile sporting events with the unprecedented reach of China Central Television, China's leading television broadcast and media company, will generate many different opportunities to enhance the sports and media landscape in China. 'CCTV-IMG Sports Management' will be a formidable international brand -- capable of developing compelling sports and entertainment content for many years to come."

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a partner of IMG's in this venture and the author of the biography of China's former president Jiang Zemin and a forthcoming book commemorating China's 30 years of reform and opening up, said, "Since sports are a vital part of the modern world, and as China emerges as a great nation, the time has come for China to have a world-class sports management company. In the context of President Hu Jintao's vision of building a 'Harmonious Society' in China, sports are important for enriching the quality of life of the Chinese people, and our joint venture will create and build new sporting events for them to enjoy. I am proud to be a partner of Ted Forstmann, a true visionary, in our new CCTV-IMG joint venture, which will bring the best of world sports to China and take the best of China's sports to the world."

Sun Yusheng, Executive Vice President of CCTV, said, "For China, 2008 is the year of the Olympics; our sports and media industries have great potential. As the world's premier sports, entertainment and media company, IMG boasts rich experience in sports event management and talent representation. Leveraging the combined strengths of CCTV and IMG, our joint venture will bring the best sporting events and sports management methodologies to China. Equally important, 'CCTV-IMG Sports Management Company' will serve as the bridge between Chinese sports, sports culture and media, and the world."

Li Jian, President, China International Television Corporation (CITVC), the business arm of CCTV, said, "The CCTV-IMG joint venture marks a milestone in the international development of China's sports industry. It will help us to better utilize China's domestic resources and strongly enter the international market. As with the Olympic motto -- 'Faster, Higher, Stronger' -- the synergy of our two companies will create faster growth, higher standards and a stronger global player."

Jiang Heping, Managing Director and President of CCTV Sports, and chairman of the CCTV-IMG joint venture, stated, "The friendship between CCTV and IMG goes back decades. Our years of cooperation lay a solid foundation for this partnership. Television has been a catalyst for change and growth in sports, and CCTV 5, as the leader in sports media in China (with an 80 percent share of the sports broadcasting market), has been at the forefront. China's abundant sports resources and huge market give us an enormous opportunity for growth, and makes sports one of China's key competitive industries worldwide. We are determined to take the lead in China's sports industry."

Ruan Wei, Managing Director, CCTV Sports Promotion, Corp., and CEO of the joint venture, added, "IMG's worldwide leadership in the ownership and management of sports events and as a producer and distributor of sports content speaks volumes. For CCTV Sports to leverage this platform enhances China's sovereign and proprietary sports rights, domestically and internationally, and enables premier sporting events to be developed and broadcast in China."

IMG is the world's largest independent producer and distributor of sports content. In countries around the world, IMG partners with leading marketers and media networks to help companies grow their businesses through IMG's unrivalled portfolio of sports event properties, sports media production, expansive distribution network and talent brands, as well as the company's consulting, sales and licensing services.

Over its long history, IMG has advised many of the world's leading sports governing bodies, sporting events and cultural organizations. Recently, IMG collaborated with the Board of Control for Cricket to create the Indian Premier League, one of the most significant sports and entertainment initiatives ever introduced in India. IMG has advisory agreements with the International Rugby Board's 'Rugby World Cup' event and the Olympic Council of Asia's 'The Asian Games.' In addition, IMG advises the International Olympic Committee, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon), the United States Tennis Association, the Australian Open, the European Tour, the FA Premier League, the International Skating Union, Le Mans 24 Hours and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, among many others. Additionally, IMG owns or manages more than 4,000 events around the world each year, (an average of more than twelve events each day).

About China Central Television (CCTV)

China Central Television (CCTV) is the national television enterprise of the People's Republic of China. It operates 17 national channels, attracts more than one billion viewers (over 90 percent of the population), and is by far the largest television broadcaster in China. CCTV plays an important role in the nation's education, information, culture, entertainment, and social services. China International TV Corporation (CITVC) is the wholly-owned business arm of CCTV and the most powerful media enterprise in China; it operates numerous subsidiaries in production, distribution, facilities, advertising, international sales, audio and video publishing, pay TV, market research, technical development, investment, and the like. CCTV 5 is the only national sports network in China and has an 80 percent market share of China's television sports industry. CCTV Sports Promotion Corp., the business arm of CCTV Sports, focuses on sports media, events, partnerships and sponsorship, including the production of many successful programs.

About IMG

IMG Sports Media is the world's largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming, producing more than 8,000 hours of television, online, mobile and radio sports content across 240 categories of sports and distributes more than 15,000 hours of television annually.

IMG Sports & Entertainment's diverse businesses include: event ownership and management; client representation in golf, tennis, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, and Olympic and action sports; consulting services; fashion events and models representation; licensing; and golf course design. They also include IMG Academies which are the world's largest, multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year.

IMG Entertainment, the entertainment production and distribution division of IMG Worldwide, is one of the world's largest independent producers of drama, comedy, unscripted, fashion, documentary and children's content. IMG Entertainment's production subsidiaries include the award-winning Darlow Smithson Productions, Tiger Aspect Productions and Tigress Productions.

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