Marcus Evans - the new man behind ITFC
COMPARED with many other multi-millionaires who have invested in football clubs, Marcus Evans has an unusually low media profile.His company, the Marcus Evans Group, includes a business events division which promotes more than 2,000 conferences, exhibitions and economic summits in 32 countries.
By Duncan Brodie
COMPARED with many other multi-millionaires who have invested in football clubs, Marcus Evans has an unusually low media profile.
His company, the Marcus Evans Group, includes a business events division which promotes more than 2,000 conferences and exhibitions in 32 countries and is also a major provider of professional training, specialising in areas including languages and finance.
However, the roots of the group's success lie in the corporate hospitality sector, in which Mr Evans reputedly began by serving up strawberries and cream in the garden of a former home in Wimbledon during the annual tennis championships.
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Today, the group's hospitality arm, offers regular football packages at London Premiership club Fulham and Barcelona in Spain's La Liga, and its programme also includes the forthcoming Euro 2008 championship, next year's Champions League final and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Other sports in which THG operates include horse racing (at venues including Newmarket), rugby, cricket and tennis, plus the major North America sports of baseball, ice hockey, basketball and American football.
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In all, the group is said to employ more than 3,500 people in 61 countries, but rather less is known about the man behind the business.
Mr Evans - who was last year linked with an £800million bid for newspaper group Trinity Mirror, compared with which his £44m investment in Ipswich Town is comparatively small change - is seldom photographed and does not give interviews.
He is reportedly a tax exile with most of his businesses being registered abroad, but is said to own a spectacular home on “multi-millionaires' row” in Kingston-upon-Thames, along with another multi-million pound property in Chelsea.
Although, according to the club's announcement of the proposed deal, Mr Evans has “long been an admirer” of Ipswich Town, little is known either about his personal interest in sport in general or football in particular.
From a business perspective, the level of interest in Premiership football and the established involvement of his group in the lucrative corporate hospitality sector makes ownership of a football club a logical, if risky, next step.
One of the Marcus Evans Group's websites lists its corporate values under the headings of Quality, Proactive, Energy and Success, with the “Quality” entry reading: “We can be relied on by our clients to provide the quality product/service they demand”.
Ipswich Town fans will now be hoping that Mr Evans' sure touch extends to the football pitch as well as the hospitality suite.