Ringier Sports launched as Infront exits joint venture

The Swiss Competition Commission (Comco) has approved the takeover of the InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment agency by Swiss media group Ringier in a move that will see it transition to Ringier Sports.

The new entity has launched after Ringier announced its intention in June to acquire the stake held in the venture by the Infront agency.

Ringier Sports will now focus on the marketing of sports in Switzerland – rather than the staging of international sports events – and with a specific interest in football and ice hockey. Ringier also said the agency will look to target sports that have a high number of professional players or participants.

The 50:50 InfrontRingier joint venture was created in February 2011 and headquartered alongside Infront in the Swiss town of Zug. Infront and Ringier came together with the idea of combining the marketing and media skills of the two companies in order to organise and promote Swiss sports events, along with packaging and selling their media rights, sponsorship, merchandising and hospitality rights.

Martin Blaser, managing director of Ringier Sports, said: “With Ringier Sports AG and the new structure, we are concentrating on the marketing of Swiss clubs and associations as well as national and international events in the Swiss market.

“At the same time, we are also focusing on the exploitation of commercial rights to national leagues and the future development and marketing of national-style event and championship formats. In doing so, we can count on the long-standing knowledge of our employees and rely on a broad network of renowned and established partners.”

Cycling’s Tour de Suisse has been one of the main properties within InfrontRingier’s portfolio since the joint venture company took over the organisation and rights commercialisation from rival IMG in 2014. Going forwards, the event will be outsourced and organised by a new joint venture involving Infront, Swiss Cycling, the Switzerland-based ProTouch Global and Tortour, the organiser of ‘ultracycling’ events in Switzerland.

One of InfrontRingier’s major contracts was a four-year agreement announced three years ago to find a title sponsor for Swiss football’s Super League and Challenge League. A six-year commercial rights agreement with Super League side FC Zurich followed in 2018.

Other clients of InfrontRingier have included the WTA’s tennis competition the Ladies Open Lugano and the Swiss Ice Hockey Cup, while the agency was also signed up to find sponsors for Sion’s (ultimately withdrawn) bid for the 2026 winter Olympics.

Last year, InfrontRingier moved into the advertising material sector by taking over the Swiss commercial business of merchandising company Dayzzi.