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There’s no business like sports business behind Galaxia deal

Aug 31,2015
What would happen if world No.1 golfer Park In-bee met K-pop group Girls’ Generation?

The collaboration between sports stars and entertainers is not too far-fetched, as IB Worldwide, Korea’s largest sports marketing company, has signed a partnership deal with SM Entertainment, Korea’s top entertainment company, which manages artists such as Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, EXO and Shinee.

IB Worldwide announced last Tuesday that it will now be called “Galaxia SM.” According to the company, it will increase capital by issuing new stocks while 11.1 billion won ($9.4 million) worth of shares will be sold to its parent company, the Hyosung Group, and 11.5 billion won will be sold to SM Entertainment.

SM Entertainment, led by chairman Lee Soo-man, will also issue 6.5 billion won in stocks, which Galaxia SM will purchase.

Industry observers have high expectations for the synergy between Korea’s largest sports marketing firm and the entertainment company, hoping to see a development in “sportainment.”

Galaxia SM currently manages and consults famous Korean athletes. Its client list includes career Grand Slam golfer Park In-bee, Olympic gold medalist short-track speed skater Shim Suk-hee, rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae, Texas Rangers outfielder Choo Shin-soo and three-time LPGA Tour winner Ryu So-yeon.

The company also sponsors global sports events and sells sports merchandise. It has been working on acquiring the Korean broadcast rights to the Korea Baseball Organization League, the Euro 2016 tournament and IAAF Athletics events.

“We expect to develop explosive and exciting new content across various platforms and garner exposure to new areas through the combined expertise of our two companies.” Shim Woo-taek, CEO of Galaxia SM, said. “We will create added value by extending our scope to events and merchandising, and we will make a great effort to promote the national interest by spreading sportainment via the Korean Wave to the global market.”

SM Entertainment has been focusing on distributing Korean pop culture in the form of music and TV dramas to Japan, China and other Asian countries. The export of Korean pop culture, better known as the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, has been limited to singers and actors, but the company said it is looking to include Korean athletes. They are especially targeting China.

“The partnership has a great significance, as it is trying to cultivate a global market through coordination between sports and entertainment,” SM Entertainment CEO Kim Young-min said. “Sportainment will be the next trend in the Korean wave.”

The two companies are expecting a synergy in content development and licensing, from sportainment broadcasting to healthcare and physical management systems.

“This will be achieved by both companies utilizing artists working under SM Entertainment and sports stars under Galaxia SM,” the companies said.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [joo.kyungdon@joongang.co.kr]



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