Andrea Radrizzani, the CEO of Eleven Sports, has admitted that it was a mistake to launch in the UK without a distribution deal with a pay TV operator.
The service launched in the UK back in 2018, as a premium online streaming platform, with major sports such as La Liga and Serie A. An initial deal with La Liga for the 2018/19 season was abandoned in December, after the service failed to gain enough subscribers.
The failure to secure linear TV deals, failure to make a market impact, and poor overall performance led to the service closing in the UK less than a year after launch.
Radrizzani said he
was convinced that the right commercial strategy and a good proposition for BT and Sky would have provided to all platforms all the content – and cheaper for them – to enable customers to get the main international football.
adding that in reality it was impossible due to the tight grip that BT and Sky have on the market.
However, although not successful in the UK and Singapore, Eleven Sports has made progress in smaller European markets Belgium, Poland, and Portugal.
Eleven Sports has suspended subscription payments for UK customers, following the loss of La Liga rights. The La Liga rights failed to sell, and a permanent deal has to be agreed with ITV4 showing some matches as a temporary measure.
Eleven Sports were unable to secure a carriage agreement for a service on a traditional TV platform, following the launch of the online service in 2018. As a result, the channel lost most of its rights to a variety of international football leagues. The last remaining rights were the La Liga matches, for which a basic £4.99 subscription fee was charged.
Eleven Sports has advised customers that the subscription fees have been suspended pending clarification of the La Liga rights beyond the first three matches day. Eleven Sports services in other countries continue unaffected.
Following on from the report that Eleven Sports had handed back its Ofcom licenses, they have reappeared on Ofcom’s list of cable and satellite license holders. There a three services listed; Eleven Sports 1 UK, Eleven Sports 2 UK, and Eleven Extra Bel (presumably the latter is a Belgium service).
This suggests that they are still planning on launching a ‘conventional’ channel in the UK, but could also be an error on Ofcom’s list. The full list of satellite and cable license holders can be view on Ofcom’s website.
Eleven Sports continues to operate in the UK online.
Due to the UK leaving the European Union (EU), Eleven Sports has now licensed its continental channels elsewhere, as UK broadcast licenses can no longer extend to other parts of the EU when the UK leaves.
Eleven Sports has been unable to obtain any carriage agreements on satellite or cable in the UK, they no longer require their Ofcom licenses, so have handed them back to the regulator.
Eleven Sports remains available online in the UK at www.elevensports.uk.
Sports provider Eleven Sports has unveiled a global partnership with Onefootball, a a digital football platform.
The new venture has launched an in-app pay-per-view (PPV) streaming service, to allow football fans to watch LaLiga matches for £2.99 (UK)/€3.49 (Ireland) per view via the Onefootball app.
Plans are being made to roll out the service for Serie C matches in Italy, before the model also rolls out to other Eleven Sports markets from the 2019/2020 season.