Aug 23, 2011 - Source: IMG College

Collegiate Athletics Seating Business Continues to Grow – Adding to Fans’ Comfort While Driving Revenue to Schools

IMG College, a division of IMG Worldwide, today announced the acquisition of Cushion Seats, Inc. (CSI), making IMG College the premier college stadium seat provider in this growing area of venue-based fan convenience.

CSI, based in Manhattan, KS, will be integrated into IMG College Seating, a turn-key business that now offers rental seat cushions and stadium seats to fans at 133 colleges and universities nationwide.

The addition of CSI nearly doubles the size of IMG College Seating and makes it the leader in the growing at-venue seating comfort business.  CSI enhances IMG College’s relationship at two major schools -- Ohio State and Tennessee, where IMG College already manages the schools’ multi-media rights.  At four major universities – Wisconsin, Iowa, North Carolina State and Kansas State – the acquisition of CSI will provide an entrée into a partnership where IMG College does not currently have a media rights partnership.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“Cushion Seats Inc. is an important strategic acquisition, adding to IMG College’s integrated service lines that form a national collegiate sports marketing platform,” said Ben Sutton President of IMG College.  “Since IMG College acquired our first seating business four years ago, the division has tripled in size. We plan to continue to grow this offering, which increases the fan’s comfort while driving revenue to our school partners.”

IMG College Seating represents a wide array of universities and is currently present in each NCAA football conference.  Before the acquisition of Cushion Seats, IMG College already leased cushioned seats on a season-long basis to football fans at several key partner universities, among them Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and many more.  IMG College Seating also provides stadium seat rentals at concert venues and has plans to further expand the operation to NASCAR tracks and NCAA basketball programs. 
“As the originator of the season lease chair-back idea and program, we are very proud of our creation of an entirely new industry,” said Dave Dreiling, founder of CSI.  “Cushion Seats, Inc. has developed a strong reputation for service and quality with schools and fans, and we know that IMG College will continue that tradition. The new structure is a great fit for everyone.”

Cushion Seats, Inc. traces its roots back to 1998, when It’s Greek To Me, Inc. developed a semi-permanent seating product that offered upgraded seating to season ticket holders.   From this product idea, the company developed a niche in college stadiums nationwide and partnered with athletic departments to offer a full-service seating solution for season ticket holders.  In 2006, It’s Greek To Me, Inc. spun this division from the parent company and formed Cushion Seats, Inc., which continued to develop the product line and now has eight patents found in 74 college and high school stadiums across the country.

IMG College Seating was formed in 1999 under the name “College Comfort” by John Hite and Franklin Yancey, now vice presidents for IMG College, providing the stadium seat service at two universities, Virginia Tech and East Carolina.  The business proved to be an immediate success and was the stadium seat provider of choice for more than 40 programs nationwide before being acquired by ISP Sports in 2008.  ISP was acquired by IMG Worldwide in 2010.