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Infront retains IIHF business in deal worth over CHF500m

Players of Canada and Finland fall into the goal during the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship final game (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images/Pool/Getty Images)

The Infront agency has signed a 10-year extension to its media and sponsorship rights sales agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The deal will run from 2024 to 2033 after the reappointment was ratified at the IIHF Congress in Rome today.

Along with rights to the flagship IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, the deal also includes the two Division I tournaments (Group A and B).

Infront said that, over the 10-year period covered by the extension, it foresees guaranteed payments and the provision of comprehensive media, marketing and digital services of more than CHF500m (€457m / $500m).

Over and above this, Infront and the IIHF will have “equal share in the exploitation of new and innovative sources of revenues, such as sports and fan data”.

Infront said: “The new agreement with Infront has been structured in order to allow the IIHF and Infront to mutually adapt to ongoing changes in the industry, where digital will continue to blur the traditional boundaries of the broadcast and sponsorship landscape in the coming years.”

Bob Nicholson, the IIHF vice-president who headed the “IIHF Negotiation Group” that oversaw what was today announced as an “extensive, transparent negotiation process”, said: “We thank Infront for the very fair and always transparent negotiation process.

“During this process Infront has convinced both the IIHF negotiation group and the IIHF membership that it is the ideal commercial partner for IIHF until 2033, not only due to the significant financial contributions they will make in return for the rights, but also in terms of increased investment into services which will enable IIHF to remain at the forefront of future technological developments.”

Infront’s current agreement with the IIHF runs from 2018 to 2023. The Wanda Sports-owned agency has sold commercial rights for the World Championship since 1981, including worldwide media rights.

Infront senior vice-president Bruno Marty remarked: “The new agreement provides our partner IIHF long-term financial security, continuous investment into multiple services and a tried-and-tested team of seasoned commercial experts in the field of ice hockey.

“This combination will significantly increase the potential of IIHF to further develop and grow the sport of ice hockey globally in the future and Infront is very proud to remain IIHF’s trusted partner on this mission. For Infront and its commercial partners this prolongation provides a strong basis for sustained, strategic collaboration in world ice hockey and beyond.”