After a turbulent opening for its UK portal, Eleven Sports has handed rights to Serie A and Eredivisie over to Premier Sports as it seeks to focus on La Liga coverage.
The loss of Serie A, will be seen as a major setback for the online streaming service, owned by Leeds chief Andrea Radrizzani, with the league being one of the platform’s main attractions.
A statement released by Eleven 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 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.
“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.”
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.
Insider Insight: The news will be a tough pill to swallow for UK football fans, who will be forced to pay for another subscription fee should they want to watch La Liga and Serie A. The loss of Serie A feels like Eleven is delaying its inevitable UK departure, it also affirms the notion that if there is to be a serious third party within the UK broadcasting sector, they are going to have to dig deep and acquire Premier League rights.