Eleven Sports has agreed a strategic partnership with New York-based sports and entertainment agency IMG to launch two new channels in the UK to air its newly-acquired exclusive coverage of Serie A and La Liga.
Eleven Sports 1 and Eleven Sports 2 will launch in August as an online streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The announcement follows Eleven’ new three-year deal for rights to Serie A, the top tier of Italian soccer, in a that contract until the end of the 2020/21 season. Eleven Sports, the global media company owned by Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani, also acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast La Liga, the top division of Spanish soccer, back in May.
As part of the deal between IMG and Eleven Sports, IMG have taken a minority stake in the two new channels.
Marc Watson, executive chairman and group chief executive of Eleven Sports, said: “The partnership with IMG strengthens Eleven Sports’ position as a major player in the UK and Ireland. IMG adds significant resources to our operations and they will contribute greatly to our innovative way of delivering more contemporary sports coverage that appeals to today’s audience.
“Serie A has a dedicated following in the UK and Ireland and there is now added interest following Juventus’ signing of global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Eleven Sports 1 will be focused solely on football, showcasing the channel’s new rights to the two big European leagues. Eleven Sports 2 will provide live coverage of the channel’s premium fight sports, esports and extreme sports.
There will also be four Live Event channels that will pop up when required in order to avoid clashes, as well as LaLigaTV – a 24-hour channel dedicated to the Spanish league. The coverage will be produced by IMG.
Adam Kelly, senior vice president of worldwide sales at IMG Media, added: “Eleven has shown, in a relatively short time, they are an innovative and creative company and we believe our vast experience and knowledge of the sports media rights business, alongside our production expertise will play an important part in making these two new channels a big success in the UK and Ireland.
“Going direct to consumer is a natural evolution of our overall business and very much part of our strategy to search for new commercial avenues for our clients.”