Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF)

ISSF_Baku 2017 Logo_300x100_pixels


For Immediate Release

Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tuesday 26 April 2016


Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) signs historic global marketing agreement with Dubai based Events Lab & MMC Sportz

Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) announces the hosting of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games from 12-22 May 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan and the appointment of the Dubai based sports marketing and event management company Events Lab and its joint venture partner MMC Sportz as its exclusive marketing partners.

The 4th ISG, scheduled to take place from 12-22 May 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan following the signature of the host city agreement between the ISSF and Azerbaijan in March 2015, expects to have more than 5,000 athletes from all 57 member associations participate in the Games.

HE Mr. Faisal Al-Nassar, General Secretary of the ISSF expressed his sincere gratitude to the NOC of Azerbaijan when he stated in his opening remarks that: “We are proud to confirm the readiness for the Games in 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan and we are proud to have such a strong host city for our 4th ISG. Baku has gained tremendous experiences from staging the successful 1st European Games in 2015 and we are sure the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) will be organized at least on a similar level. We are expecting for the first time more than 5,000 athletes from all of our 57 member associations to compete for medals and honors in 22 distinct sports including of football, handball, basketball, athletics, swimming plus two para sports.” More updates will be released following the “1 Year Count Down” in Baku on 12 May 2016.

For the 5th ISG in 2021, the planning’s have already started and the ISSF has taken a proactive approach by appointing Events Lab and MMC sports as its exclusive sports marketing partners. The Dubai based companies are specialized in sports marketing and events management and will be looking after developing and managing all commercial assets of the ISSF.

“We have a packed international events schedule for all sports and it is important that the ISSF is looking at the way it has organized the Games in the past to ensure that the concept is still relevant and fulfills its social and sporting objectives”, added Al-Nassar. “but with our marketing partnership with Events Lab in place, we are now in a position to actively assist Azerbaijan in the preparations of the 2017 ISG, especially from a marketing and media rights perspective. We have created a new process by establishing pre-selection criteria to invite potential future host city candidates to enter the bidding process with keeping in mind the value that staging the Solidarity Games brings to a city and a country.”

“For us, the partnership with the ISSF is very prestigious since the ISSF is one of the largest sporting governing bodies in the world and we are honored to sign this ground breaking agreement today”, stated Samir Tabbah, Group CEO of Events Lab. “To ensure the project received the highest attention, we have entered into a joint venture with MMC Sportz, which brings a wealth of expertise in dealings with governing bodies and managing commercial marketing and media rights.

We have committed to a long term partnership and we are happy to put our resources and expertise forward to help strengthen the cooperation between the ISSF members and to promote the Olympic movement within the Islamic World. The Islamic Solidarity Games are one the key pillar of the ISSF and we are committed to assist in the development of the Games by spreading the general awareness across the globe and by creating a meaningful value platform for all partners and stakeholders and to transform the ISG into one of the leading multi sporting events in the world.”

A first step of action under this agreement was already taken by the ISSF when it announced the formation of the ISSF Marketing & Broadcasting Commission, a joint commission which is tasked to provide hand-on support to the ISG 2017 organizing committee in Baku and to manage the 2021 ISG Host City Bidding Process.

“We are excited about Azerbaijan hosting the 2017 ISG as they have proven to be able to stage world class events such as the 2015 European Games but for the Islamic Solidarity Games we suggested a different marketing approach since we are not only dealing with just an international multi-sports event but also with “Islam”, explains Eric Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz. “When we presented the commercial framework for the 2017 Games to the organizing committee last month, it was well received since it was budget sensitive, highlighted the on the sensitive task related to “Islam” and outlined several new benefits for the host city in regards to the commercial and media rights approach like the announcement of proposing a presenting partnership category within the sponsorship program and budget sensitive sports specific TV production guidelines” added Gottschalk.

“Our next big milestone for the ISSF is the launch of the official 2021 Host City Candidate Bidding Process to capitalize on the strong interest to stage the next Games from several countries following the announcement of the ISG in Baku in 2017. The ISG might have a short history compared to other major sporting events but with 57 member federations supporting there is very little doubt in our minds about the potential of any future Games.”

The ISSF has been in discussion with other marketing companies but decided on the Events Lab / MMC Sportz partnership since it felt that it was important to work with a company that has the credibility and track record to deliver on the long term vision of the federation and also understands its “local” culture. The 2017 ISG in Baku will be the 4th Games organized by the ISSF following the inaugural event in KSA in 2005, followed by Iran in 2009 and Malaysia in 2013.

For more information, please see or contact MMC Sportz at +971 4 429 6040.