Premier 1 hires ex-ISL chief for launch

Premier 1 Grand Prix, the new motor racing series backed by some of Europe's top football clubs, has drafted in former ISL chief executive Heinz Schurtenberger to work on its launch plans, amid speculation that it will be delayed.

Premier 1 Grand Prix, the new motor racing series backed by some of Europe's top football clubs, has drafted in former ISL chief executive Heinz Schurtenberger to work on its launch plans, amid speculation that it will be delayed.

Schurtenberger was CEO of sports marketing agency ISL and its parent company ISMM for two-and-a-half years, before setting up his own consultancy business in November last year. He will work for Premier 1 on a consultancy basis.

The appointment comes as the Premier 1 group, which has secured participation agreements from clubs including Arsenal, Internazionale and Ajax, rewrites its business plan in an attempt to generate City financial backing.

Premier 1 is currently trying to secure agreement from race venues around Europe. It is also in discussion with about six partners to provide financial backing.

A sports marketing insider said the series had a good chance of success, but that the launch was likely to be postponed from 2002 to 2003, due to the initial hurdles of securing funding and race-staging agreements.

The BBC has said it is likely to be interested in acquiring the rights to the series (Marketing, August 17, 2000).

Premier 1's marketing is headed by Gary Crumpler, former marketing manager of the Williams Formula One team.Schurtenberger was succeeded at ISL by Daniel Beauvois, who is in talks with a number of the firm's clients about cancelling or renegotiating contracts.

ISL recently admitted it was experiencing financial difficulties after it paid dollars 1.2bn for rights to the Association of Tennis Professionals' tour for ten years. The company has effectively put itself up for auction to other sports marketing groups.

Premier 1 and Schurtenberger were unavailable for comment.



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