Report: IMG Still Awaiting Payments From ISL For 2019 Season

The end of the 2020 International Swimming League season has been marred by complaints from vendors who say the league hasn’t paid them. A new report suggests another organization is still owed for the 2019 season.

Media company IMG is still awaiting full payment for their broadcast services for the 2019 season, which has been over for almost a year, according to a report by SportBusiness.

The report says that the ISL still owes IMG “a six-figure sum (in pounds sterling)” after paying only a portion of the payments from the 2019 season. Neither the ISL nor IMG Media gave official comment in that story.

IMG Media provided broadcast services for the 2019 ISL season, which ran from October through December of 2019. They did not work on the 2020 season, which was broadcast by NEP, according to the SportBusiness report.

The ISL has been under fire the past few weeks over financial and organizational complaints. LiveWire Sport instructed its lawyers to begin legal proceedings last week, claiming that the ISL owes their company a six-figure sum for the 2019 season.

Meanwhile former Energy Standard General Manager Jean-Francois Salessy resigned from his post and wrote an open letter harshly criticizing the league and its founder Konstantin GrigorishinSalessy criticized the league for a lack of transparency and fairness between the franchises, and said he wasn’t allowed to carry out his GM duties for Energy Standard.

The SportBusiness report also says that former managing director and head of commercial operations Hubert Montcoudil also quit the league, citing a lack of payment.

And as of last week, multiple athletes had told SwimSwam that their first solidarity payments – scheduled to be due on October 31, had not been paid yet, and that no prize money had been distributed at all.

The ISL released a statement last week, admitting that revenues have been much lower than projected amid both the pandemic and the failures of some of the league’s commercial operations. It has pledged to “honor all obligations” to its suppliers, which it says are “less than 5 percent of last year’s overall expenditure.” The league has not released any new statement about the season 1 debts allegedly owed to IMG Media.

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swimgeek
1 month ago

Ruh roh.

StuartC
1 month ago

Let’s hope the swimmers get/got paid first! Still not clear to me how the ISL gets revenue? TV rights?

Swimmer420
Reply to  StuartC
1 month ago

They don’t. It’s all funded by konstantine.

swimgeek
Reply to  StuartC
1 month ago

ISL is funded by a Russian-Ukrainian billionaire. ISL did pick up a CBS tv deal this year, but there’s no way it’s even close to self-sufficient at this point.

swimapologist
Reply to  swimgeek
1 month ago

If you think CBS paid the ISL for that time slot, and not vice versa, I’ve got some land you might be interested in purchasing.

StuartC
Reply to  swimgeek
1 month ago

Hmmm, I guess even billionaires have money problems….

Swimfan
1 month ago

The athletes seem fully supportive of ISL on social media. Maybe they just appreciate the racing part, or think they will eventually be paid?

Hswimmer
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

I believe they are just appreciating the opportunity to race and train during this pandemic at a high level.

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

I’m sure part of their contract is to be supportive of ISL on social media. For now, they are doing what they are supposed to do. Once the house of card starts to collapse, though… well, we will hear about it.

Admin
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

I have spoken to several athletes, including ones who wouldn’t lie to me. Their take is generally this: The training setup has been way better than what they get at FINA meets They love the ability to focus on swimming for a few weeks. What had become a challenge at home was easy, they just showed up at the pool and trained, like they’re supposed to They’re appreciative of the opportunity for high level racing, and those who felt that was less important to them just didn’t come They had fun They hope they get paid The food was fine until everyone got Buda-Belly Some of them were willing to acknowledge privately that they recognize the structural problems within the… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Reading between the lines, its sounds like everyone is getting ready to receive a lot less than what was promised.

Admin
Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

I wouldn’t say that. The athletes haven’t gotten any indication that they won’t get paid, though there may be some wingeing around the edges about athletes who left early. It’s just a general sense of anxiety about it since the first solidarity payment is late and all of these other companies haven’t been paid. Most professional athletes aren’t used to getting a “paycheck,” per se, from a corporation, so I would imagine regardless of the IMG and Livewire and La Presse and Flying Fish issues, they’d never feel totally settled until the check clears. I think that’s just the way people are about money. They all got paid last season, so in general they think they’re going to get paid.… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

When a league folds you don’t get paid or in this case the swimmers really have bought in and will accept the paycut to have a path forward to next season. Any chance they can get some funding from USA swimming or a partnership with FINA? It seems they need some additional deep pockets to get this thing going.

moddiddle
Reply to  Taa
1 month ago

Yes, FINA is going to help out the athlete’s who helped startup a competitor when they’ve had a monopoly on the sport for years. Not like FINA was being sued for antitrust or anything

Xman
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

This sounds like an NCAA structure without the college.

  1. Training is structured and expenses for it are covered. League provides coaches trainers.
  2. Meets are structured and covered – coaches even pick events.
  3. Food and Lodging are covered.

Even if they’re not getting paid as promised there is still a lot of value. And honestly there are a lot of athletes who only had 4 or 5 digits with the first digit being under “4” on that payout list.

Overall I think it fills the void of structure for post grads and that’s a good thing.

JDM
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Serious question — buda-belly as in a little pudge? What did they do to fix it/get another food source? So interesting!

Admin
Reply to  JDM
1 month ago

buda-belly in terms of there were some gastrointestinal issues floating around the bubble. The athletes seem ready to blame it on food poisoning, could have just as easily been gastroenteritis. A few of the athletes who missed meets early in the season were dealing with GI issues.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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