February 13, 2012 05:28 ET

IMG Media and Panasonic Launch Live 24-Hour In-Flight Sports Channel

LONDON--(Marketwire - Feb 13, 2012) - IMG Media, part of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, has teamed up with electronics giant Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and communication (IFEC) systems, to launch the first-ever live global premium 24-hour sports channel -- SPORT 24 -- for airline passengers from this week.

The ground-breaking service, which is available through Panasonic's eXTV service, is being broadcast via satellite to specially-equipped Gulf Air planes and feature live coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, The Barclays Premier League, and Bundesliga, The Masters, The Open Championship and the Ryder Cup, Formula 1, Roland Garros and the Australian Open.

The channel will also be available to cruise liners from March 1 with Norwegian Cruise Liners (NCL) being the first operator to broadcast SPORT 24 on selected vessels.

There are ongoing discussions with a number of other airlines interested in taking the service and Gulf Air, Bahrain's national airline, is initially offering Sport 24 on its 'Sky Hub' which is currently available on A330 aircraft that fly long-haul and on some intra-Gulf routes including its destinations to Europe, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jeddah, Manila, Lahore, Islamabad.

Panasonic's eXTV television network uses the company's eXConnect in-flight Ku-band communications service, including the same Ku antenna and onboard components, to deliver high-quality, television programming to passengers during their flight. It provides live, uninterrupted content to aircraft flying all over the world, even over oceans.

IMG Media, who already produce a 24-hour Premier League content service for the League's overseas broadcasters, has acquired the rights to the various sporting events and programming and will be producing the content within its London production facility.

Richard Wise, Senior Vice President, IMG Media, said: "Sport 24 will revolutionise the way passengers watch live sports on Airlines and Cruise Ships. For the first time ever viewers will be able to enjoy the greatest sporting events live while travelling on business or holidaying abroad. Sport fans will no longer have to miss their favourite team, or event on this new dedicated sports channel."

David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communication Services with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, "The launch of the Sport 24 channel is a momentous occasion not only for Panasonic's eXTV service but for all of the in-flight market. The Sport 24 channel represents a major advancement in the in-flight experience for passengers all over the world. We are excited to be working with IMG and to have Gulf Air as our launch customer. After all, there's nothing quite like watching the world's top sporting events like the Olympics, live, on an aircraft, anywhere in the world."

Gulf Air Senior Manager of In-Flight Entertainment & Communications, Mr. Mohamad El Assaad, said: "Following the successful launch of our 'Sky Hub' we are now bringing our customers, more live channels and more programs; the Sport 24 channel, with an exceptional array of live action is the latest in our offerings. Now our customers onboard can watch their favorite sports stars live at 35000 feet with all exhilaration and enthusiasm."

About IMG Media

IMG Media is the world's largest independent distributor of sports programming, distributing over 20,000 hours of content to major global broadcasters annually. This content originates from more than 200 clients and events including AELTC (Wimbledon), Tennis Australia (The Australian Open), TPL (ATP Masters 1000s), The R&A (The Open Championship), International Rugby Board (Rugby World Cup), Dorna (Moto GP), National Football League (NFL) and International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). IMG Media operates from over 30 offices worldwide and has daily exchanges with over 4,000 key media contacts. IMG Media distributes across all forms of media including TV, Audio, Fixed Media, Inflight and Closed Circuit, Broadband and Mobile. IMG Media also maintains the world's largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage.

About Panasonic Avionics Corporation
Panasonic Avionics Corporation is the world's leading supplier of in-flight entertainment and communication systems. The company's best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling airlines to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, and lower overall costs. Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 3,100 employees and operations in 80 locations worldwide, it serves over 200 customers worldwide and provides IFEC systems on over 3,700 aircraft. For additional information, please visit

About Gulf Air
Founded in 1950, Gulf Air is the proud national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. As a pioneering airline in the Middle East region with over sixty years of experience and expertise in flying people across continents, Gulf Air is today one of the most powerful brands and a name to reckon with in the global aviation industry.

One of the prime objectives of Gulf Air is to connect Bahrain to the Middle East countries and the rest of the world. As such the airline currently operates the largest network in the Middle East with non-stop flights while providing seamless onward connections to other international destinations. The airline's current network stretches from Europe to Asia, connecting 54 cities in 34 countries, with a fleet of 36 aircraft.

In tune with the Kingdom's economic blue print, 'Vision 2030,' Gulf Air's strategy is to build an efficient, commercially sustainable and dynamic airline that effectively serves the people and the economy of Bahrain and represents the Kingdom on the world stage. Reflecting the needs and aspirations of its customers, the strategy focuses on three core areas: a targeted, more focused international network, a superior, more consistent product and a modern, more efficient fleet that will optimize value. Gulf Air's goal reflects a commitment to the latest aviation technology complemented by the hallmark Arabian hospitality for which the airline is well known. Gulf Air is the official sponsor of the 2012 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Contact Information

  • Media contacts:

    Gary Double
    Vice President Corporate Communications - Europe
    Tel: + 44 208 233 7425
    +44 7768 825114
    Email Contact

    Brian Bardwell
    Tel: +1 949.462.1742
    Email Contact

    Gulf Air
    Katherine Kaczynska
    Senior Manager Corporate Communications
    Gulf Air Tel: +973 17338416
    +973 36500292
    Email Contact