- Team Whistle founder and executive chairman John West to join the Eleven Group board
- Deal follows Eleven’s recent acquisition of streaming company MyCujoo
Multinational broadcaster Eleven Sports has acquired sports media company Team Whistle as part of plans to grow its business in North America.
The deal, which is expected to close by the second quarter of 2021 subject to regulatory approval, effectively sees the merging of two entities that already sat under the same sports and media investment company.
Founded in 2015, Eleven Sports is owned by Aser Ventures, which invested in Team Whistle three years ago. Andrea Radrizzani, the founder and chairman of Eleven and Aser, already sits on the Whistle board.
A statement from Eleven said the acquisition will build out the group’s range of services and capabilities, which now span over-the-top (OTT) and social platforms, streaming technology, data-driven production, and marketing and brand partnership services.
The deal follows Eleven’s acquisition of streaming company MyCujoo and its Live Services technology stack last November, a move which served as the basis for a new global Eleven Sports streaming platform.
“We have long recognised the opportunities for partnership between Team Whistle and the wider Aser portfolio,” said Radrizzani. “By welcoming Team Whistle into the Eleven Group, we are bringing together two media companies who have a track record of building strong and innovative sports media businesses in Europe, Asia and North America.
“We will also be adding transformative new scale and capabilities to Eleven. Together, we look forward to delivering on our goal of creating a global destination for live and on-demand sports content for audiences everywhere to enjoy.”
Based in New York, Team Whistle produces original programming for distribution across hundreds of channels, with its content creators including popular YouTubers such as Dude Perfect and F2 Freestylers. It currently boasts 629 million aggregated social media followers and four billion monthly video views.
Following completion of the deal, Team Whistle founder and executive chairman John West will join the Eleven Group board. Meanwhile Whistle chief executive Michael Cohen will continue to lead the company whilst joining Eleven’s management team.
Commenting in a statement, West said: “Upon first meeting Andrea years ago, we shared a common bond on how sport and entertainment were being reimagined and now with the pace of media transformation happening at an accelerated rate globally, joining forces with Eleven allows us to create a truly unique, global media powerhouse.”
Eleven says its newly expanded group, which now totals 300 employees, is on course to post combined revenues in excess of US$300 million for the financial year ending 30th June.
Both Eleven and Team Whistle are backed by a number of prominent investors in sports and media, including Sapphire Sport, Go4itCapital, Carsten Thoma, NBC/Sky Sports, Discovery, ITV, Liberty Global, Snap, Emil Capital Partners, Corrum Capital, TEGNA, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Elizabeth Murdoch.