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Throughout the years, the International Management Group (IMG) has been successful in the sports management industry. In 2001, it has become the strongest company in the industry of sports management which was conceived in the early 1960s and has diversified into other areas to include representing models and classical music artists, producing and broadcasting television shows, operating training academies, corporate consulting, and financial planning. This case study dwells on the history of the company with the focus on its expansion programs and the challenges the company had to hurdle as they take the necessary steps towards achieving their goals and in dealing with strong competition.
Bharat N. Anand; Kate Attea
Harvard Business Review (702409-PDF-ENG)
November 26, 2001
Case questions answered:
- For each of the IMG’s key areas – tournament creation; production and broadcasting; and training academies – evaluate whether it makes sense for International Management Group to operate in this area, considering the following issues.
1a. Does doing this activity help IMG create and/or capture value?1b. Does IMG have a cost advantage in doing this activity? A differentiation advantage?1c. Is IMG more attractive to star talent (as a talent agency) because it does this activity?1d. What are the problems or dangers with IMG doing this activity?
- Why might IMG do a better job representing golf and tennis players rather than hockey or baseball players?
- For the golf players it represents, IMG gets 10% of their winnings. Does that give International Management Group an advantage in bidding to own a golf tournament? Does that give IMG an advantage in creating a new golf tournament?
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Case answers for International Management Group (IMG)
International Management Group Annual Board Meeting 2002
Throughout the first 40 years of its growth, International Management Group has experienced ample success in the areas of sports management, event creation and ownership, sports academies, television production, consulting, and performance talent management. When faced with the question of what to do next and how to successfully grow the business into the future, IMG is up against multiple challenges, including a lack of agent retention, increased outside competition, a negative and “greedy” brand image, and the naturally short lifecycle of the sports talent they employ (Exhibit 1).
In order to combat these obstacles moving forward, IMG’s main focus should be to improve the culture and global reach of its operations to bolster the overall value that the firm can both deliver and capture within the talent agency landscape.
International Management Group can combat several of the above threats through the following key goals: by effectively knocking down competitive barriers between itself and boutique competitors, boosting positive internal agent relationships through compensation restructuring and a new mentorship program, expanding and investing in more collegiate and secondary sports ventures both locally and internationally, and growing their academy presence in both the non-traditional sport and performing arts sectors. If IMG can adhere to these key recommendations, it will undoubtedly maximize its valuation and continue its rapid market growth for years to come (Exhibit 2).
The first recommendation for IMG is to create an open environment of ‘co-opetition’ with smaller boutique agencies; ultimately creating a beneficial feedback loop. International Management Group continually faces the challenge of maintaining agent loyalty, however, it’s difficult to change the unfaithful culture of agents that have been established on an industry level.
The company cannot retain agents on a fully monetary level, as agents will always have incentives to form a boutique company where they can capture a greater commission share from talent. In addition, International Management Group cannot charge a higher commission rate to talent because…
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