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Joe Roark

Mr. Olympia is Sold

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Joe Roark

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a landmark deal, American Media, LLC today announced it has reached an agreement on the sale of the iconic Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend as well as the Muscle & Fitness, FLEX and M&F Hers media brands.  The prestigious Olympia Weekend, held annually in Las Vegas, is home to one of the global fitness industry's signature consumer tradeshows while also serving as the world championships of several professional physique sports, including the legendary title of Mr. Olympia.

The sale of the event and media assets marks the latest acquisition for Jake Wood, an Arizona-based fitness industry insider whose growing portfolio includes digital media and event properties.  "My primary motivation for acquiring the Olympia is to bring the event back to the fans," explains Wood.  "It's a dream come true to take ownership of some of the fitness industry's most celebrated brands. Our ability to also acquire a media portfolio that includes Muscle & Fitness allows us to reach one of the largest fitness-minded audiences in the world. This is a great day for everyone who shares a passion for fitness, nutrition, training and the bodybuilding lifestyle."

It was also announced today that Dan Solomon, hired in 2018 to oversee the overall Olympia property, has agreed to a five-year contract extension and will serve as President and Chief Olympia Officer under new ownership.  In addition to his oversight of the Olympia, Solomon will also manage the integration and strategy for the newly acquired media portfolio, including Muscle & Fitness.  Solomon explains, "We have achieved something incredibly powerful.  The deal has been carefully crafted, clearing the way for us to offer sponsors and advertisers one of the largest combined audiences in the entire category.  As we roll out a wide-reaching media and event integration, we also add key resources brought to the table by our new owner.  Jake is a visionary and his track record for success speaks for itself.  Our sponsors, exhibitors, athletes, readers and fans will be pleased by what the immediate future holds."

In addition to the Mr. Olympia, the inclusion of Muscle & Fitness, M&F HERS and FLEX creates a consolidated social media audience of nearly 17 million followers.  As part of the deal, American Media has agreed to the ongoing coverage and promotion of the event, including support of sponsor commitments, through its popular entertainment-themed publications, both digital and print.  American Media purchased Mr. Olympia in 2003 and has grown the event into one of the world's largest gatherings of fitness, strength, performance, and physique enthusiasts. In 2019, at the most recent Olympia Weekend, the event saw significant increases in sponsorship revenue and attendance. In addition to several upgrades in its arena stage production, the 2019 Olympia awarded a record total prize purse for both male and female competitors.   

American Media Chairman and CEO David J. Pecker, adds, "It has been a privilege owning and developing these brands since we acquired them in 2003. I'm confident they will thrive under Jake's ownership and his forward-thinking plan to transition to a fully integrated online and social media strategy." Sanctioned by the IFBB Professional League, an Olympia title is the most coveted achievement in physique competition.  Pro League President Jim Manion says, "I am proud to stand with Jake and his team as we usher in a new era. The Olympia is already our most valuable event partnership and the most anticipated event of the year, but I think we're about to see something amazing under a passionate and dedicated new owner.  Jake's love of bodybuilding is authentic. He and his team have my full support."

The Olympia brand has expanded globally in recent years thanks to the success of various licensing initiatives, including its Amateur Olympia program, a series of events widely regarded as some of the most successful amateur competitions in the world.  In 2019, nearly 5,000 competitors participated in Amateur Olympia events held in 11 different countries.  Jake Wood has earned recognition for his decade-long advocacy of the women's side of bodybuilding & fitness as co-founder of Wings of Strength. He now becomes the 3rd owner in the storied history of the Joe Weider founded empire.  This September Trifecta Presents Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend brought to you by Wings of Strength.  For more information visit www.MrOlympia.com and www.MuscleandFitness.com.

About Muscle & Fitness and The Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend:

Created by bodybuilding and fitness pioneer Joe Weider, The Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend is a Las Vegas showcase event featuring the Olympia Fitness & Performance Expo, a business to consumer destination for the fitness industry's leading brands and enthusiasts, held across 700,000 square feet inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.  A centerpiece of the event is the iconic Mr. Olympia, the most prestigious title in the world of professional physique competition. Held at the Orleans Arena, the event serves as the world championships across several IFBB Professional League sanctioned physique sports. – Muscle & Fitness, a signature media brand in the fitness category, is dedicated to covering the full fitness landscape, regularly introducing fans to trends in training, nutrition, gear, technology and celebrity content. Powered by a digital and social media portfolio that also includes FLEX and M&F HERS, the combined media and event reach across all channels is the largest fit focused audience in the world.

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David Harrington

Interesting.  No mention of the cost of the acquisition.

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Ken Sprague

No mention of the Weider Research Institute. 😀  Seriously, the transition to a fully digital "platform" for the magazines---even if not explicitly stated herein---makes sense for the long run. 

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David Harrington
28 minutes ago, Ken Sprague said:

No mention of the Weider Research Institute. 😀  Seriously, the transition to a fully digital "platform" for the magazines---even if not explicitly stated herein---makes sense for the long run. 

I hope not.

I hate it when everything is dependent on having the internet.

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Joe Roark
3 hours ago, David Harrington said:

I hope not.

I hate it when everything is dependent on having the internet.

Recently at B&N I looked for M&F and there were no copies. Perhaps sold out. There used to be 12-15 copies on the shelf, but in recent years I see 3 or 4. The only bodybuilding mag wad MD, and Ironman if that counts.

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Thomas Klose

Most remarkable from my POV is the following sentence by the new owner:

"My primary motivation for acquiring the Olympia is to bring the event back to the fans," explains Wood.“

 

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Ed Mines

American Media has been loosing money hand over fist on their muscle related activities for years and according to the internet ticket sales were not good in 2019.  Total prize money for Mr. Olympia in 2019 was $1.4 million.

 

 

 

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Ed Mines
1 hour ago, Joe Roark said:

Recently at B&N I looked for M&F and there were no copies.

maybe they can make more money by selling out a few copies rather than returning unsold copies or maybe the publisher provided fewer copies to cut back on the number of returns.

 

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Ken Sprague
3 hours ago, Joe Roark said:

Recently at B&N I looked for M&F and there were no copies. Perhaps sold out. There used to be 12-15 copies on the shelf, but in recent years I see 3 or 4. The only bodybuilding mag wad MD, and Ironman if that counts.

POV: Print bodybuilder magazines, given they cater to a niche audience, don't make economic sense. Expanding overall readership depends on finding a relative few new customers in many disparate locales---a small group in Taiwan, Ecuador, South Africa, etc. Building a sustainable print publication for a niche group requires too big an investment. Given online translators (rapidly improving), a single electronic source overcomes geographical/language limitations---one more set of eyeballs doesn't add another cent as the publisher scales up.

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David Harrington
1 hour ago, Ken Sprague said:

POV: Print bodybuilder magazines, given they cater to a niche audience, don't make economic sense. Expanding overall readership depends on finding a relative few new customers in many disparate locales---a small group in Taiwan, Ecuador, South Africa, etc. Building a sustainable print publication for a niche group requires too big an investment. Given online translators (rapidly improving), a single electronic source overcomes geographical/language limitations---one more set of eyeballs doesn't add another cent as the publisher scales up.

Perhaps.

Other sports still have magazines.  Golf, tennis gymnastics, football, boxing, auto racing, etc.

Did you know that Tiger Woods earned over 45 million dollars last year?  3.1 million in winnings and the rest from endorsements. I read this in Golf Magazine when I was at the doctor's office.  

I sometimes see bodybuilding/fitness magazines in doctor's offices, barber shops, hair salons and other places that have waiting rooms.  They also have them in the library magazine section. 

If print is totally done away with, exposure to bodybuilding will be reduced in ways I don't think many have thought of.

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Ken Sprague

Unless too much is being read into Merritt's article, there will no longer be a print version of any of Josephine's magazines. Agree?

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David Harrington
5 hours ago, Ken Sprague said:

Unless too much is being read into Merritt's article, there will no longer be a print version of any of Josephine's magazines. Agree?

Looks that way. 

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john corlett
18 hours ago, Ken Sprague said:

Unless too much is being read into Merritt's article, there will no longer be a print version of any of Josephine's magazines. Agree?

One of his print magazines is still standing.  Which one?  Shape!  Pecker sold that one off a little over 5 years ago to Meredith Publishing.  He probably made some money on that transaction.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/meredith-to-acquire-shape-magazine-brand-1422458384

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john corlett

I wonder if the Mr. Olympia prize money will be reduced with this new ownership.  For the last few years the winner has received $400,000.00 (USD).😉

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Joe Roark
9 hours ago, john corlett said:

One of his print magazines is still standing.  Which one?  Shape!  Pecker sold that one off a little over 5 years ago to Meredith Publishing.  He probably made some money on that transaction.

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/meredith-to-acquire-shape-magazine-brand-1422458384

Shape may have been Weider's most profitable magazine.

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Thomas Klose

Is the Weider family still involved in some way in the sport/business the brothers Weider have created?

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john corlett

I received the March 2020 issue of Muscle & Fitness in the mail today.  There was no mention that it was ceasing publication but there was a drastic down-sizing in the number of pages.  It had been 200 pages per issue for the past couple of years but this one has only 152 pages.  So perhaps this is indeed the final issue.

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john corlett

I thought that the March 2020 issue of Muscle & Fitness would be the last issue.  Not true!  The April edition is on the stands now.  Pecker is still in charge and there is no mention that it has been sold to anyone. 

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Joe Roark
2 hours ago, john corlett said:

I thought that the March 2020 issue of Muscle & Fitness would be the last issue.  Not true!  The April edition is on the stands now.  Pecker is still in charge and there is no mention that it has been sold to anyone. 

I suspect that to honor advertisers payments there may be another issue or two?

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