May 16 - The Badminton World Federation (BWF) have signed a new four-year contract with IMG Worldwide in a bid to cash in on the sport's growing popularity.
The deal gives IMG Media, a division of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, the media rights to BWF Major Events, the BWF World Superseries and BWF Grand Prix Gold.
It is claimed by BWF officials in Kuala Lumpur that the deal, which comes into effect with the start of the 2014 Superseries cycle, will see BWF's media-rights earnings jump four fold.
The BWF events are currently televised in more than 160 countries, with more than 5,000 hours of coverage yearly.
The new agreement will aim to improve on these solid figures and broaden the sport's reach beyond Asia, currently its main centre.
The new deal is a coup for BWF President Dr. Kang Young Joong, whose eight-year term leading the sport ends on Saturday (May 18) when he steps down.
He will be replaced by either Denmark's Poul-Erik Høyer, the 1996 Olympic men's singles champion who is now President of Badminton Europe, or Indonesia's Justian Suhandinata, a former vice-president of the International Badminton Federation before it was rebranded the BWF
"I have said before that my goal has been to strengthen BWF's financial position and this agreement with IMG further ensures that. BWF is guaranteed higher revenues from this deal than ever before for media rights," said Young-Joong.
"This exciting partnership with IMG will allow BWF to explore interesting, new opportunities regarding how we can improve and expand the BWF brand and visibility through various media streams and products.
"Of course, BWF is keen to extend its live and delayed coverage of tournaments into new markets.
"Additionally, we will be considering how we can continue to exploit broadband technologies and use data to interact with and engage fans more.
"We are also looking at an enhanced magazine show, profiling badminton stars and events more prominently.
"There are many options for utilising media platforms and BWF will be seeking to maximise these."
The consolidation of BWF's media rights means IMG Media will have exclusive rights to showcase all of the best badminton action worldwide, having secured the rights for the BWF Major Events, including the World Championships, Thomas and Uber Cups and the Sudirman Cup, the 12-stop BWF World Superseries tour which culminates in the year-end Superseries Finals and the Grand Prix Gold tour which for the first time sees its media rights centralised by the BWF.
"Badminton is growing as a commercial commodity and is among Asia's leading and most popular spectator sports," said Michel Masquelier, President of IMG Media.
"IMG is pleased to partner with the BWF to further raise badminton's profile, not only in the Asian marketplace - which is a booming sports hub - but also into other markets where fans are turning on to the fastest racquet sport.
"This is an exciting time for badminton and IMG looks forward to this collaboration with BWF and badminton which has proven a best-practices model for sport business in Asia while continuing its global expansion."
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