Zug, Switzerland/New York, USA - Infront, part of Wanda Sports Group (NASDAQ: WSG), is merging its digital media and solutions company iX.co with its sports tech research and development unit Infront Lab to create a full-service digital powerhouse for the sports industry.
The expanded iX.co brings together the entire digital and technological competences, products and investments of the Infront Group and will have a global workforce of around 300 staff working from its head offices in Zug, New York and Tel Aviv as well as branch offices in Atlanta, Kiev, London, Los Angeles, Paris, St. Petersburg and Toronto.
"Consolidating our digital business into iX.co will allow Infront to be even more agile in responding to evolving trends in sports media consumption and sports tech. By fully capturing the synergies between iX.co and Infront Lab we can drive the digital transformation process for rights holders and brands holistically and effectively. We are now able to deliver truly integrated technology-driven digital solutions to our clients," said Infront President & CEO Philippe Blatter.
Taking the helm at iX.co as CEO and overseeing Infront's entire digital business is Dr Christian Mueller, Infront's Senior Vice President People, Innovation & Corporate Services. He takes over from Christoph Heimes, who has decided to pursue a new challenge after a most successful launch and build-up of the company over the past two years. Heimes will leave his position by the end of January 2021 but will continue providing support on major projects during a transition period.
Mueller said: “iX.co’s expanded remit means our vast experience in delivering product design, digital and technological innovations, data science, creative storytelling and a broad service and consulting offering to the sports industry can operate more efficiently under one brand. We help our customers drive digital transformation processes and grow their businesses. We do this by leveraging data science and technology to fully understand audience behaviour and demand, creating memorable content and experiences, providing access and managing channels, and ultimately effectively commercialising the resulting offerings.”
The iX.co and Infront Lab management teams will be combined for the time being, ensuring full business continuity.
Due to Mueller's new role, Infront's People, Innovation & Corporate Services unit will now be split: Most Corporate Services including the Structuring & Tax, IT and Procurement functions will be embedded in the Finance unit led by Sönke Ziebell, VP Finance & Chief Financial Officer. The People (Human Resources & Administration) and Business Development departments will report into Philippe Blatter. The Gaming & Esports business will continue to report into Mueller for the time being.
Addressing the outgoing Heimes, Blatter said: "Christoph has played a crucial role in building Infront's digital business and footprint since he joined in 2017 and was the mastermind behind the creation of iX.co in 2019. His strong vision and contribution will always be appreciated, and we are truly grateful for his significant achievements for Infront. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours."
Heimes commented: “My tenure with the Infront Group has been truly exciting and enabled me to implement my vision and idea of a digital solutions company as part of one of the leading industry players. After the successful launch and build-up of iX.co, I am confident that this is the right time for me to embark upon a new challenge."