Infront takes digital D2C route with launch of iX.co

Infront, the Zug-based sports marketing company, has launched a ‘digitally native’ direct-to-consumer operation to connect brands and sports rights-holders to fans around the world.

iX.co brings together the brand and media resource and capabilities of the Infront Group – including its in-house Infront Digital Service – and New York-based digital services company Omnigon, which was acquired by Infront earlier this year.

iX.co which will operate independently will have a global workforce of over 250 working from Zug, New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, St. Petersburg and Toronto.

The new venture is designed to allow Infront to be more agile in responding to evolving trends in media consumption of sports.

iX.co chief executive Christoph Heimes, Infront’s senior director of digital media, platforms and services, and former YouTube head of sports said: “There are huge untapped audiences in sports and entertainment and brands want to connect with them in the most relevant ways possible. That’s through engaging with them via their passion points and on their terms.

“New-age consumers are actually engaging in very different ways. They expect personalisation as well as relevance and timeliness. As storytellers we have to talk to these audiences and we thought that as a technology company we are ideally able to do that.

“iX.co It is about bridging the gap between storytelling – which sports does very well –  and brands and audiences. Our mission is to do that through digital experiences and creating content. We are uniquely positioned to do that through product development, storytelling and data science. “

By investing substantially in digital reach, engagement and monetisation capabilities, iX.co aims to drive the digital transformation process for rights holders and brands, helping them grow their audiences through content and engaging experiences.

Chief commercial officer David Nugent emphasised the need for effective D2C services in a change world and says sports has fallen behind entertainment and music in making the switch.

“Until now, most sports communications have been through a buffer like linear TV,” he said.

“Now that conversation needs to exist directly with the consumer and understanding the way you speak to that consumer and personalise experiences becomes critical. The concept of data science and understanding how to aggregate that data about audiences and reach people in a meaningful way is a direct-to-consumer trend which is critical. Sport can’t under-estimate the fact that this changes things for good and irrevocably.”