Eleven Sports Acquires U.K. Rights To Serie A
BT lost the rights to broadcast Serie A matches in the U.K. to "ambitious rival" Eleven Sports, "representing a further blow to its sports strategy," according to Nic Fildes of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The loss "means there will be less top-level content on BT’s sports channels, a key part of its growth strategy to gain more subscribers in the battle with rival Sky," after taking a "back step" in the recent Premier League auction. In the past year, "new digital players have entered the market for sports rights." Eleven Sports, which is owned by Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani, the owner of League Championship shide Leeds United, "already acquired the rights to broadcast La Liga matches" in the U.K. from Sky in May. Eleven launched a digital subscription service in some European countries "but it is unclear how it intends to show the matches" in the U.K. Multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation said that Eleven "has signed a deal with IMG," which owns the broadcasting rights to Serie A matches. The rights "kick in from next season" and "coincide with the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus." Eleven Sports and BT declined to comment (FT, 7/12).