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Long-serving Marte to leave Infront, retains motor sports consultancy role

Rainer Marte, an experienced rights and event management executive who has been with Infront since its creation in 2002, is to leave the Zug-based agency at the end of this year.

Marte, who has held the director of motorsport and director of football roles at the agency, has decided to leave to take on fresh challenges, according to an email circulated to staff at Infront.

Following his exit, the 61-year-old will continue to work with Infront on a consultancy basis in relation to its motor sports business. He will also remain in charge of managing his existing client base in the motor sports sector.

Infront declined to comment on how Marte’s remaining responsibilities would be allocated on his departure, or if there will be a direct replacement, when contacted today by SportBusiness.

Major motor sports agreements landed in recent years by Infront have included the deal in 2015 to sell international broadcast rights to the World Endurance Championship, including the flagship 24 Hours of Le Mans (a deal subsequently extended in October 2018). Marte headed up the overall project of worldwide media rights distribution, in addition to support on the acquisition of sponsors.

Marte also oversaw the agreement signed in 2017 to market commercial rights to the series organised by ADAC, the German motorsport body.

The agency also moved info Formula 1 this year in a non-exclusive marketing agreement with the Alfa Romeo Racing team as it continues to expand its involvement in the motor sports sector.

In addition to the consultancy work with Infront, Marte is thought to be looking to spend some of his time working on commissions or committees at motor sports industry bodies, most notably in Germany.

Having begun his agency career at IMG in 1986 in a motor sports role, Marte took up a media rights sales position at the agency a year later, selling rights in German-speaking countries to IMG’s various properties. In 1991, he joined UFA Sports in Germany as he worked across broadcast production and rights sales in golf, motor sports and tennis.

Following six years at tm3, the German broadcaster that secured Uefa Champions League rights in 1999, Marte moved to the KirchSport agency. Infront was then born in 2002 after a management buyout at KirchSport in the wake of the insolvency of its parent company Kirch, the German media group.

The Wanda Sports-owned Infront announced a major structural reorganisation in September, forming four core business units (Spectator Sports Media & Marketing, Personal & Corporate Fitness, Production and IX.co), along with a newly-created Group Management Board and executive committee. At the same time, the agency communicated the exits of Claude Ruibal, senior vice-president of digital, production and sport solutions, and Wolfgang Streit, Infront’s chief financial officer and senior vice-president of finance, legal and administration.

Within that reshuffle, Stephan Herth, Infront’s senior vice-president of football, was named as one of the senior-vice presidents of the 17-person GMB.