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Tue 29th Mar 2022 - Ninja Warrior UK operator secures Imbiba investment, appoints former Côte MD Lisa Buckley as CEO
Ninja Warrior UK operator secures Imbiba investment, appoints former Côte MD Lisa Buckley as CEO: Leisure TV Rights (LTR), the experiential leisure operator, has secured backing from sector investor Imbiba, and appointed Lisa Buckley as its new chief executive, to drive the business through a period of significant expansion. Buckley, whose most recent position was managing director at Côte Brasserie and who has previously held senior operations roles at Wagamama and Bella Italia, has been tasked with overseeing the growth of LTR’s Ninja Warrior UK adventure parks, in addition to developing additional TV-show based experiential concepts. LTR was founded by entrepreneur Mike Anderson, who also owns and operates Innovation Leisure, a specialist leisure venue building company that has designed and supplied the activity equipment for every Ninja Warrior UK family entertainment centre, as part of Innovation’s arrangements with ITV Broadcasting. His objective, with support from Imbiba, is to bring more venues under the LTR umbrella, expand into new markets, and develop the in-venue food and beverage offerings to help boost dwell time and improve the overall guest experience. LTR currently owns and operates the Ninja Warrior UK venue in Leeds, and will be adding further locations to its portfolio this year, including openings in Walsall and Liverpool in the coming months. The business will also be expanding into Germany, with the first venue set to open in the second half of this year. LTR has also secured the rights to two more hugely popular ITV shows, with plans to launch at least one new ITV programme-branded leisure concept by the end of 2022. Buckley said: “I’m really excited to be starting this new chapter in a rapidly-growing part of our sector. Experiential leisure has boomed in recent years, and coming out of lockdown we’ve seen even greater demand for the fun-for-all-ages offering that LTR has come to define within the sector. We have some incredibly exciting developments on the horizon, including growing Ninja Warrior UK, opening new concepts, and continuing to evolve and improve the customer experience at our venues. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of creating memorable experiences for our guests, and we’re looking forward to helping them recreate their favourite TV show experiences with their families and friends across more cities and towns in the UK in 2022.” Andrew Stones, partner, Imbiba, added: “We are really pleased to be working with LTR, it is a very exciting business in the most dynamic space in the leisure sector and we are very happy to have Lisa heading up the business as it grows.” Anderson said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Lisa to the LTR team. Her wealth of experience across the hospitality industry is going to be invaluable to us as we focus our business on the next stage of its development.”

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