IMG names ex-BT Sport football head Cook as director of content

The IMG agency has named Stephen Cook, previously head of football at BT Sport, the UK pay-TV broadcaster, as director of content based at IMG Studios at Stockley Park, near London’s Heathrow Airport.

Cook is to lead on creative strategy for IMG Productions and will “play a key part” in new business pitches, IMG said today. He will also work alongside the senior production executives at the Premier League Productions and European Tour production operations.

The agency added: “He will also support IMG’s Rights & Distribution operation to drive revenue to both parts of the IMG Media business.”

Cook moved to BT Sport in 2012 and ahead of the telecoms group’s launch of its sports channels in the UK and Ireland in the middle of 2013, armed with rights to the English Premier League. His work at the broadcaster included the management of relationships with federations and working alongside the BT digital team on rights maximisation.

He was previously an executive producer at ESPN, working across the broadcaster’s football portfolio, including the 2010 Fifa World Cup and Premier League content for ESPN USA. Cook also held executive producer roles at Setanta Sports and the UK-based production company Sunset+Vine.

IMG’s Premier League production role runs until the end of the 2021-22 season after the latest renewal was agreed earlier this year.

The Premier League Productions operation produces and distributes all of the Premier League’s international programming, including the broadcasting of all 380 matches, seven magazine shows each week, plus the Premier League Content Service, which is run by some of the league’s international rights-holding broadcasters as a full 24/7 channel.

European Tour Productions was a joint venture between the European Tour and IMG but, following a renegotiation in 2017, the company is now a 100-per-cent subsidiary of the European Tour. ETP continues to work alongside IMG Media in producing and distributing coverage of the European Tour, the Ryder Cup, the Open Championship, the Challenge Tour and the Senior Tour.