Eleven picks up Serie A rights as IMG invests in UK, Ireland channels

Eleven Sports has acquired rights for Italian Serie A top-tier football in the UK and Ireland and confirmed that the IMG agency will hold a minority stake in the two new channels that will show the coverage.

The exclusive Serie A rights, which were previously held by pay-television broadcaster BT Sport, will run for three seasons, from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

Eleven Sports 1 and Eleven Sports 2 will launch via an online streaming platform this August, with the broadcaster saying that more rights deals will be announced soon. Eleven announced in May that it had dislodged Sky as the rights-holder of Spain’s LaLiga in the UK and Ireland from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

IMG will produce the output for both channels. Eleven said that it would also work with IMG in areas such as content acquisition, on-air and online fan engagement and distribution.

“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,” said Adam Kelly, senior vice-president of worldwide sales at IMG Media.

Eleven Sports 1 will be completely dedicated to football, while Eleven Sports 2 will offer live fights sports, esports and extreme sports, as well as football overspill from Eleven Sports 1.

Eleven Sports 1 will be 100 per cent football showcasing some of the biggest leagues, best teams and leading players; and Eleven Sports 2 will provide live premium fight sports, esports and extreme sports for dedicated fans, plus football overspill from Eleven Sports 1. Four live event pop-up channels will also be utilised to allow for simultaneous match coverage.

Eleven said that it is in talks with other major platforms in the UK and Ireland to offer the widest possible access to the service.