Endemol suits up for global sports

Launching programming, channels division

LONDON -- Reality giant Endemol plans to shake up the global sports landscape with the launch of a major global sports programming and channels arm, CEO Ynon Kreiz said Wednesday.

Competing against sports giant IMG and independent sports producers, Endemol Sports aims to partner with broadcasters, sports federations, advertisers and brands, leveraging the company's network of production businesses in more than 25 countries.

The unit will look to create a generation of programming featuring traditional coverage as well as the entertainment, interactive and multimedia elements that have made Endemol brands like "Big Brother" major international properties.

It also will look at acquiring sports rights and working with rights owners to launch a range of television channels.

Endemol Sports will be headed by IMG Sport veterans Lawrence Duffy and Gregg Oldfield, who will serve as joint managing directors.

Duffy said the division is set to be "a major global enterprise" and likely will hire 50-100 staffers during the startup period. Oldfield said the enterprise will "transpose Endemol's DNA into the sports market."

Reporting to Kreiz, Duffy and Oldfield take up their new posts Jan. 1.