IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, announced today the acquisition of IGP Sports & Entertainment Group, strengthening its resources both in the American market and globally. The acquisition will see IGP’s properties, including management of the Honda Classic, and its experienced staff led by 27-year industry veteran Kenneth R. Kennerly, join IMG’s Golf division immediately.
Having transformed the Honda Classic into one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR, Kennerly will head up IMG Golf’s North American events division as the company continues to bolster its event business in North America and around the world. The acquisition also marks the opening of a new IMG Golf office in North Palm Beach, Florida. A number of key staff will relocate from other IMG offices to work in this new IMG Golf office, providing a strong presence in this important golf market.
“IMG has had great respect over the years for Ken Kennerly and the business he built,” said Guy Kinnings, Senior Vice President and Global Head of IMG Golf. “His staff at IGP brings over 100 years of combined management and production experience to our existing global talents, and just as importantly, allows us to create an instant presence in South Florida, a market that has always been very important in the professional golf industry and where a number of our clients are based. We look forward to integrating a number of our key staff with Ken and his staff to create an office in South Florida that will be of great benefit to IMG Golf’s clients and business partners.”
After experience early in his career working for two sports marketing agencies in Washington, Kennerly moved to South Florida in 1993 to work for Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear International. He started IGP in 1996, and acquired Executive Sports, a company that ran tournaments on the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tours. In 2006, Kennerly and his team began running The Honda Classic, and not only re-established it as one of the top tournaments on the PGA TOUR, but generated record charitable donations and more than $40 Million in economic impact for the local community each year. The acquisition will also see IMG take over management of the Web.com Tour’s Mid-Atlantic Championship in Washington, D.C.
Last month, the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame honored Kennerly and his team as its Sports Contributor of the Year for their success operating the Honda Classic each year, and recognizing the tournament’s impact on the South Florida community. In June, the Honda Classic will be awarded the 2013 Bing Crosby Tournament Sponsor Award by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. The award is presented to an individual or organization that promotes and supports the game of golf through commercial sponsorship of quality events.
“As someone who built his own business in golf, I have always marvelled at IMG and their impact in all areas of the industry around the globe,” said Kennerly. “Anyone who works in the sports management and marketing business recognizes that IMG was the founder of this industry and working for IMG has been a goal of mine from the earliest days of my career. I’m especially excited about the chance to continue having an impact in the local Palm BeachCounty community but now also on the national and international stage, thanks to IMG’s global presence.”
Kennerly will also contribute to IMG’s global team that stages over 50 tournaments each year, manages more than 100 clients on all of the Major Tours, and is involved in every aspect of the game with its media, sales, licensing, consulting and other assets.
Kennerly will work closely in the North American market with Clarke Jones who will continue to operate from IMG’s Cleveland offices. The move will further strengthen IMG’s business in North America which recently announced key event successes, including acquiring the management and operating rights to the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the return of the popular PNC Father/Son tournament to the Champions Tour schedule, and a number of high-profile client and corporate signings.
IMG Golf is the market leader in the sport with 50 years of experience and now nearly 500 staff working in different aspects of the golf business worldwide.
This involves talent representation where the business started and IMG now works with over 100 of the best male and female players from over 30 countries. IMG owns, manages and stages more than 50 golf tournaments a year on every continent and on every Tour including Majors and World Golf Championships, along with special events and over 150 VIP golf days a year worldwide.
IMG Golf is involved in every aspect of the game offering its partners a 360° fully integrated service and its core businesses include Media (with IMG Media in partnership with the European Tour and the Asian Tour via European Tour Productions and Asian Tour Media) and Golfing World as well as digital and social media, golf course design and management, sales and advisory services, corporate and federation consulting, hospitality, academies, licensing, publishing, speakers, broadcasters, bid consultancy, corporate and individual brand development. Golf was IMG’s first sport and remains at the heart of IMG’s global business.