Multinational sports broadcaster Eleven Sports has purchased Aser Ventures’ sister company, Team Whistle, eyeing expansion in the North American region.
The agreement, which is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2021 subject to HSR approval, will see Aser-owned Eleven merge with digital sports and entertainment firm Whistle, which Aser also invested in three years ago in June 2018.
Founded by Italian businessman and Leeds United majority owner Andrea Radrizzani in 2015, who will buy out Whistle’s remaining investors, the London-based Eleven Group will welcome Team Whistle Founder and Executive Chairman, John West, to the board upon completion.
Commenting on the acquisition, West noted: “Upon first meeting Andrea years ago, we shared a common bond on how sport and entertainment were being reimagined and now with the pace of media transformation happening at an accelerated rate globally, joining forces with Eleven allows us to create a truly unique, global media powerhouse.”
According to a joint statement, the agreement will grow the group’s variety of services and capabilities, which now span over-the-top (OTT) and social platforms, streaming technology, data-driven production, and marketing and brand partnership services.
Eleven’s extensive offering across Europe and Asia already includes the rights to the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Formula One, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL).
The global programmer’s portfolio will be integrated with Whistle’s leading content creators to ‘build a service that delivers for fans everywhere, across multiple channels’, with the ElevenSports.com platform launching with a focus on niche premium and long-tail sports content, supported by streaming platform MyCujoo which was acquired by Eleven last year.
“We have long recognised the opportunities for partnership between Team Whistle and the wider Aser portfolio,” added Radrizzani. “By welcoming Team Whistle into the Eleven Group, we are bringing together two media companies who have a track record of building strong and innovative sports media businesses in Europe, Asia and North America.
“We will also be adding transformative new scale and capabilities to Eleven. Together, we look forward to delivering on our goal of creating a global destination for live and on-demand sports content for audiences everywhere to enjoy.”