International sports broadcaster Eleven Sports has today (Wednesday) moved into a new market after ousting pay-television broadcaster Sky as the rights-holder to LaLiga, the top division of Spanish club football, in the UK and Ireland.
Eleven, which currently operates in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States, has agreed a three-season deal with LaLiga running from 2018-19 to 2020-21.
At present it is unclear whether Eleven plans to launch a new channel in the UK and Ireland, or exploit the rights on an OTT basis. In a statement, Eleven said it will announce details in the coming weeks about the “innovative ways” in which it will package and distribute the action.
Eleven also currently holds LaLiga rights in Belgium and Poland. Marc Watson, executive chairman and chief executive of Eleven Sports, said: “This is an incredibly exciting time for our young and dynamic company and we will announce soon how we will introduce innovative ways for dedicated fans to watch and engage in the live action.
“The way people, especially young people, watch live sport is changing and we always try to reflect that in the ways we make our product available. We are excited about the opportunities we have to do this in the UK and Ireland.”
The Daily Mail newspaper last month reported that LaLiga had rejected Sky’s offer to extend its rights deal in the UK and Ireland. Sky was said to have made an offer worth less than the £18m (€20.6m/$25.6m) per season it currently pays for the rights.
Sky last extended its rights agreement for LaLiga in August 2015. The deal for the UK and Ireland was for three seasons, from 2015-16 to 2017-18, and took Sky’s partnership with LaLiga into its 20th year.
Commenting on the Eleven deal, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said: “We have worked very hard to promote the excellence of LaLiga in the UK and Ireland and we are confident that Eleven Sports will help us to grow and innovate our brand in the market for years to come.”