Eleven Sports lose UK rights to Serie A as Italian league returns to British TV with Premier Sports

The broadcaster will retain exclusive coverage of La Liga until at least the end of the season

Wednesday 30 January 2019 08:36
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Eleven Sports had bought the exclusive rights to show several European competitions
Eleven Sports had bought the exclusive rights to show several European competitions

Global sports provider Eleven Sports has handed rights to show live Serie A matches in the United Kingdom and Ireland over to Premier Sports, but will retain exclusive coverage of La Liga until at least the end of the season.

In addition to the top-flight Italian matches, the Dutch Eredivisie will also no longer be available on Eleven Sports from the end of February.

In a statement confirming the switch, Eleven Sports said it was a “strategic decision we have taken to amicably end our partnership with IMG, the agency that manages these rights,” adding it had “the intention of continuing beyond” the end of the current season to broadcast La Liga matches.

“At this stage, our priorities lie with our subscribers who we hope will experience minimal disruption as a result of these developments,” said Eleven Sports, the streaming service founded by Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani.

An agreement has been reached for Premier Sports to show action from both Serie A and the Eredivisie throughout February. The final broadcast of Serie A games on Eleven Sports will take place on February 25.

From March 1, both competitions will be shown exclusively on Premier Sports.

Subscribers to Eleven Sports’ existing streaming service will be offered a special promotion to sign up with Premier Sports, which offers its own online player as well as being available via Sky and Virgin Media platforms along with some games shown on the free-to-air channel FreeSports.

Eleven Sports had won the broadcasting rights to show LaLiga matches in the UK and Ireland from Sky for the start of the 2018-19 season on a three-year deal.

However, there have been some issues to overcome, including technical problems and conflict with UEFA statutes which prevent live football from being shown between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday in the UK.

Eleven Sports intend to now concentrate efforts on the Spanish top flight.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 15 goals in his first season in Serie A (AFP/Getty)

“The strategic direction we have chosen allows us to focus on LaLiga 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,” a statement from the sports provider said.

“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.”

Premier Sports, meanwhile, will air a minimum of six Serie A games per round until the end of the 2020/21 season as well as weekly highlights and preview shows, while also having acquired rights for the Chinese Super League.

Chief executive of Premier Sports Richard Sweeney said: “This addition adds tremendous value for our customers who already enjoy top rugby union, Scottish football and American sports.

“We look forward to announcing more content in the coming weeks.”

PA

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