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IMG expands esports licensing footprint in exclusive Ubisoft deal

IMG has been selected as the first exclusive licensing agency for Ubisoft-developed video game franchises Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege in Europe and Asia.

Consumer product licensing for the two franchises will initially include apparel, tech items, accessories, toys, home décor, stationery and experiences.

IMG will look to expand the Assassin’s Creed franchise’s licensing programme into new territories and categories. Assassin’s Creed has more than 100 million unique players and has released 16 games over the past decade.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is played by gamers in the Rainbow Six Pro League, which launched four years ago and is run by Ubisoft and ESL. The game has more than 55 million players worldwide and the Pro League has generated 145 million hours of watched content on Twitch and YouTube.

Mickael Andreo, vice-president of licensing at IMG, said: “Assassin’s Creed and Rainbow Six Siege are two of the world’s most popular game franchises, and we’re looking forward to leveraging our strengths in Asia and Europe to expand their licensed product offering.

“We are working with Ubisoft to develop an ambitious programme for avid fans of both franchises that will be aligned with the brands’ DNA and the growth of esports as a cultural phenomenon.”

IMG was appointed two years ago to handle the exclusive licensing of the popular Fortnite game in a deal with publisher Epic Games. That worldwide accord included consumer products licensing and promotions.

IMG owner Endeavor is now in the process of selling part of its stake in Epic Games as part of wider fundraising efforts. Epic Games hired Endeavor to oversee operations and logistics for last year’s inaugural Fortnite World Cup Finals with IMG Media managing the media rights distribution.

IMG recently began looking for a commercial director for esports to assume responsibility for generating and managing commercial relationships and sales within the media arm of the agency. In 2015, the WME-IMG agency (now Endeavor) created the ELeague alongside US media group Turner Broadcasting.

In February, IMG struck a four-year deal with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) to become its exclusive global licensing representative, while in January it brokered a deal between the NFL and H&M that will see the fashion retailer launch a range of league-branded apparel and accessories.

IMG also represents the Bundesliga, Juventus, World Rugby and Royal Ascot, among other licensing remits.