December 15, 2010 10:03 ET
NBA's Bobby Sharma Joins IMG
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 15, 2010) - IMG, the premier global sports and media company, announced today that Bobby Sharma has joined the company as Senior Vice President, Global Business Development, Basketball. Sharma joins IMG from the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he was Vice President & General Counsel of the NBA Development League.
In his new role, Sharma will oversee the growth of IMG's basketball business around the world, including the emerging economies of India and Brazil. He will initially relocate to Mumbai, India to begin developing the company's exclusive commercial rights to basketball in that country, working as part of IMG Reliance (IMGR), a joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries Ltd.
Earlier this year, IMGR acquired all commercial rights to basketball in India for a 30-year period. The pinnacle of IMGR's strategy for basketball in India will be the development of a professional basketball league in which players from around the globe will compete alongside Indian players at the highest level. Critical to the sustainable success of this project will be the development of the game at a grassroots level, the sourcing and development of local talent, and the re-organization and management of school and college leagues throughout the country to create a development platform for growing the talent pool of young Indian players, enhancing their opportunities to compete internationally and successfully represent India on the world stage.
Andrew Wildblood, Executive Vice President of IMG and Executive Director of IMGR said, "Bobby's appointment is a major step forward in IMG's commitment to developing the sport of basketball. In India, the IMG Reliance Scholarship program has already demonstrated that there are enormously talented young basketball players around the world with huge untapped potential. What is now required are highly efficient search and development processes to give that talent the chance it deserves to succeed, and high-caliber professional leagues in which for them to play. With successful talent pyramids in place, these leagues will thrive. With his experience developing the sport of basketball for almost a decade at the NBA, Bobby is the right person at the right time to help us achieve IMG's goals for the game around the world, both from a player and league development perspective."
"This is an enormous opportunity for me to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to the sport of basketball on a global level," Sharma said. "There is tremendous interest in the game in India and its dynamic market in particular, where more than half of the nation's population is under 25 years old, and just about every economic metric is headed in a positive direction. I'm excited to join the talented team of executives that IMG Chairman Ted Forstmann has put in place to help take the company to the next level."
During his tenure with the NBA, Sharma served as the Chief Legal Officer and a Senior Executive for the NBA Development League, the NBA's minor league, and its various operating entities. In this capacity, he oversaw various legal, business and basketball operational matters, and his responsibilities included management of all league and team agreements, and development and administration of all policies and procedures. Sharma was also responsible for related initiatives such as expansion and international league consulting. Areas of his focus included team ownership & operation, arenas, sponsorship, merchandise, marketing, intellectual property, broadcasting, product/digital content licensing, contests & sweepstakes, employment, anti-doping and security.
Prior to joining the NBA, Sharma practiced litigation in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and in New York City with Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He also served on the presidential campaign staff of former U.S. Senator, and Basketball Hall of Famer, Bill Bradley.
Sharma, who holds a B.A. in history and a J.D. degree from Duke University, was the recipient of the 2010 Corporate Counsel award from the South Asian Bar Association of New York. In 2009, Korn/Ferry International named him one of the 25 Most Influential South Asian Executives in the Media & Entertainment Industry. Sharma was also nominated by the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel for the 2008 Sports Counsel of the Year award.
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG's areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College is the leader in collegiate marketing, licensing and media rights. IMG's Joint Ventures, IMG Reliance, IMGX and IMG CCTV, in the emerging markets of India, Brazil and China, offer the company significant long-term growth opportunities. IMG Media is the world's largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming. IMG Events and Federations owns and manages some of the most sought after events and includes long standing associations with the world's most important sports organizations, leagues, and federations. IMG Fashion owns and operates fashion events around the world and IMG Models represents the world's top models and leading designers and IMG Art+Commerce represents the most influential photographers, art directors and stylists. For the past 50 years IMG Clients has been the global leader in talent representation, including over 1,000 elite athletes, coaches, industry executives and prestigious sports organizations across the sports, entertainment, fashion and media industries. IMG Academies is the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational facility delivering sports training experiences to more than 12,000 dedicated athletes from approximately 80 countries every year.
IMG Consulting connects many of the world's leading brands with consumers through access to unique sports and entertainment properties. IMG Licensing is considered one of the premier independent licensing companies in the sports, entertainment and media world.
More information is available at www.imgworld.com.
About IMG Reliance
In 2010 Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India's largest and most recognized private sector company headed by Chairman Mukesh Ambani, and IMG Worldwide (IMG), the world's leading sports marketing and management company headed by Chairman and CEO Ted Forstmann, announced the formation of an equal joint venture to develop, market and manage sports and entertainment in India. The joint venture company, IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd., will provide and operate first-class infrastructure and coaching facilities in the country to unlock India's sporting potential and to create and operate major sports and entertainment assets in the country. In its first initiative, IMG Reliance entered into an agreement with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to create a new professional basketball league and manage all aspects of the commercial rights to the game in India. IMG Reliance has also created a scholarship program to identify and train talented young Indians from t sports -- basketball, soccer and tennis -- at IMG's world-class sports training facilities at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida.