Eleven Sports hands over UK Serie A rights

Speculation over the future of Eleven Sports in the UK was elevated this week as the OTT platform handed rights to Serie A and Eredivisie over to Premier Sports.

The loss of Serie A, will be viewed as a major setback for the online streaming service, with the league being one of the platform’s main attractions.

A statement released by Eleven Sports said: “Regrettably, some content including Serie A and Eredivisie, will no longer be available to our subscribers in the UK and Ireland from the end of February. This follows the strategic decision we have taken to amicably end our partnership with IMG, the agency that manages these rights.

“At this stage, our priorities lie with our subscribers who we hope will experience minimal disruption as a result of these developments.

“The strategic direction we have chosen allows us to focus on La Liga which not only drives real value for us in the UK and Ireland, but is also a property which we continue to have a valued partnership with in five markets globally.

“Since our launch in the UK and Ireland, we have shown more live football than anyone else, all at a very reasonable cost for football fans.

“We will continue to look for new rights opportunities to complement action from the Spanish league.”

Speaking to SBC in December, Oddschecker revealed that Spanish football and Italian football moving away from mainstream television has led to a slight decrease in live betting on its site. Emphasising its belief that following the move away from BT Sport and Sky Sports, there’s noticeably fewer punters watching the game throughout its broadcast.

Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek detailed at the time: “That pre-match betting activity hasn’t dropped does come as a bit of a surprise, although the decrease in in-play activity does serve as a significant message to the industry how crucial accessibility to a live stream is to turnover after kick-off.”

This deal marks an affirmation of Premier Sports’ ambitions to grow its status in the UK sports broadcasting sector, with it also announcing the acquisition of the Chinese Super League.

The channel confirmed it will air a minimum of six Serie A games per round until the end of the 2020/21 season, with weekly highlights and preview shows are set to be broadcast by Premier Sports as well as a number of games live on sister free-to-air channel FreeSports.

As part of the transitional period, Premier Sports are offering Eleven Sports customers a welcome offer giving them the chance to subscribe to Premier Sports on the Sky or Player Platform at the reduced rate of £5.99 per month with the first month free.

The news will be seen as a further setback for Eleven’s UK status after it also lost the rights to UFC, before it even got to broadcast an event, when it failed to secure television distribution which it had previously promised.

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