FEI looks to global audience with new media deal

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FEI’s new partnership with IMG will enhance equestrian sport viewing experience for broadcasters and viewers around the world for major events, including the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas last month.
FEI’s new partnership with IMG will enhance equestrian sport viewing experience for broadcasters and viewers around the world for major events, including the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Las Vegas last month. © Arnd Bronkhorst/FEI

Independent sports media producer IMG has beaten out 11 other bidders to become the FEI’s production partner.

IMG is the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming, and joins the FEI on July 1 for a five-year term as its production partner. The move follows the decision last December to renew long-standing broadcast distribution partnerships with IMG and the European Broadcasting Union to the end of 2022 in agreements that will generate markedly increased coverage of the world’s most prestigious equestrian events.

Bids for the production role were received from 12 industry leading companies, including MBP-TV, which has been the FEI’s production partner for almost 20 years.

“MBP-TV has played a vital role in helping the FEI to develop its equestrian broadcast coverage, and we owe the talented team at MBP-TV a huge debt of thanks,” said Christian Osterode, FEI Head of Broadcasting and Media Rights.

“Our demands have grown so dramatically that we now need to partner with a globally networked organisation.”

Osterode said that the new partnership would deliver compelling, cutting-edge content for broadcast, from traditional television to the new digital platforms in online and mobile.

“IMG has the wide expertise we need to grow uptake of our equestrian content globally, and the recent renewal of our distribution partnership with IMG now provides a deep synergy that will deliver enhanced services to the FEI’s broadcast clients.

“It is vital that the FEI demonstrates the strengths of equestrian sport against the Olympic backdrop and as our sport grows globally,” Osterode said.

The partnership, which runs until 30 June 2020, covers post production services for the FEI’s entire portfolio of broadcast products across the FEI-named series and championships. The partnership also includes a wide range of programming for the FEI’s global broadcast partners as well as for the FEI’s digital platforms such as FEI TV, FEI TV On The Go and the FEI YouTube channel.

As part of its new role, IMG will also be in charge of the overall coordination and liaison with the FEI’s host broadcasters on the production of live broadcast signals as well as providing the FEI with strategic consultancy in the broadcast production area.

IMG will also partner with the FEI on its magazine programming, including FEI Equestrian World, the FEI’s flagship monthly magazine show which captures the spirit of equestrian sport and lifestyle for mainstream audiences, as well as the annual FEI Awards, event trailers and previews, and associated content including video news releases.

Graham Fry, Global Head of Production for IMG, said: “IMG is delighted to be appointed as the FEI’s production partner and we look forward to establishing a long-term relationship across the sport. We believe our creativity and production expertise will enhance the viewing experience for broadcasters and viewers around the world. The FEI run events across the globe and its diverse equestrian disciplines provide a challenging and exciting opportunity for the IMG production teams.”

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