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Volume 22 No. 11
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NeuLion name gone as Endeavor opts to rebrand streaming technology service

Ten months after buying NeuLion for $250 million, Endeavor has decided to shelve the company’s brand, opting instead to merge it with its own internal streaming technology.

The sports and entertainment goliath, which will call the new group Endeavor Streaming, already has been out in the market looking for clients.

Endeavor Streaming has signed three new clients: WWE for WWE Network; BT for BT Sport Box Office; and OSN, a streaming service that covers the Middle East and Africa. They will join a client roster that already includes the NBA and NFL.

Nick Wilson, Endeavor chief technology officer, and Will Staeger, Endeavor Streaming president of business operations, will lead the new group.

“This is an increasingly valuable tool in our tool kit as we represent leagues and content owners,” Staeger said. “Most of those content owners are going direct-to-consumer as part of their portfolio of the way to reach their fans.”

Endeavor Streaming clients

Big Ten Network

BT

EuroLeague

MSG

NBA

National Geographic

NFL

OSN

PBR (Ride Pass)*

Sky Sports

Sportsnet

UFC (UFC.TV and Fight Pass)*

Univision

WWE

 

* Endeavor property

The move is significant as Endeavor wades into one of the most competitive marketplaces in sports media, which includes Disney’s BamTech, NBC’s Playmaker, Turner’s iStreamPlanet, Deltatre, Perform and ViewLift.

“There’s always been strong players in the direct-to-consumer technology platforms space,” Staeger said. “What has changed is that there is an increasingly large number of players in all the different segments. We’ve learned and have been able to build out our offering so that we have solutions for all levels.”

When Endeavor bought NeuLion last March, it said NeuLion would operate as an independent company under the Endeavor umbrella. After all, NeuLion’s brand was 18 years old and its client roster was filled with blue-chip companies. Executives thought NeuLion could operate alongside its streaming platform within IMG Media, which had dabbled in the streaming space with its sports betting service known as IMG Arena.

With NeuLion and Endeavor’s in-house streaming operation combined, executives believe they will become a bigger player in the streaming marketplace.

“We already solved things like low latency, high performance, scale and reliability, so we wanted to put some of that technology into a direct-to-consumer offering,” Wilson said. “As we got further along, we began to realize that this wasn’t just about technology. Technology was relatively straightforward for us to do. It was more about the consumer experience and the infrastructure you need to work with consumers — pick up the phone, credit card billing questions. … As we got to know NeuLion, we thought it could be a good combination to bring it all together into one organization.”

Endeavor, itself rebranded from WME-IMG in 2017, owns properties such as UFC and PBR. It sees direct-to-consumer offerings as table stakes for any company that’s looking to enter the sports media marketplace these days.

“Direct-to-consumer is one of the ways that you reach your fans,” Staeger said. “The bigger the organization, the more there are checks to be taken from broadcast networks and other big, traditional media players. Those are always going to be hard to pass up. There’s more money to capture, as WWE has proved with WWE Network.”