DAZN pushes global growth ambitions with acquisition of Eleven Group and Team Whistle
Global sports platform DAZN Group has today announced an agreement to acquire the Eleven Group’s sports media businesses. The deal expands DAZN’s capabilities in the live sports streaming sector and establishes DAZN as one of the front-runners in this rapidly evolving space.
DAZN has had ambitions to expand for some time. Last year it made a bid for UK-based BT Sport, which fell through after protracted negotiations earlier this year and instead opened up the way for BT Sport to be acquired by Warner Bros. Discovery Sport, which was finalised on 1 September. However, the benefits of the deal with Eleven for DAZN are threefold, with new and expanded territories, new revenue streams in social media, plus expanded football rights, it claimed.
The transaction, when completed, will propel DAZN to become the broadcaster of top football leagues in Portugal and Belgium, two enthusiastic European footballing nations. Eleven Group’s businesses will also complement DAZN’s existing positions in Italy, DACH and Spain, where DAZN holds top tier domestic football rights. Eleven also has a presence in Taiwan and other Southeast Asian markets, giving DAZN a greater foothold in the region where it has a strong business in Japan.
This geographical expansion gives DAZN access to new audiences as it builds out its global platform and becomes a one-stop shop for everything a sports fan wants, it stated; a place for them to access the largest library of live and on-demand content, analysis, highlights, merchandise, ticketing, gaming, and betting. It strengthens the business and drives economies of scale, DAZN said.
The acquisition of Team Whistle, the Eleven-owned media business, will enable DAZN to reach younger audiences, diversify and expand its fan engagement capabilities, and maximise the value of DAZN’s rights portfolio. Team Whistle is ranked within the top ten US media sports properties on ComScore with over 700 million followers across its channels, and a growing distribution network that generates around five billion views per month across social platforms. Combining the complementary business of Team Whistle with DAZN’s content rights creates a powerful proposition.
The acquisition cements DAZN as a global home of football through the integration of Elevensports.com and the 40,000 games it streams each year. Through a strategic relationship, Eleven plays a key role in FIFA’s over the top (OTT) service, FIFA+, supporting the production, delivery, and distribution of live games from over 90 FIFA Member Associations.
Of note, combined, the companies will create the world’s biggest portfolio of women’s football content. Eleven boasts women’s content drawn from across six confederations, adding to DAZN’s impressive roster of UEFA Women’s Champions League, Liga F in Spain, the English FA Women’s Super League and the Women’s FA Cup, and Japanese WE League, among others.
The deal introduces a growing c.$300 million a year to DAZN Group’s revenues.
Marc Watson, CEO at Eleven Group, said: “We see DAZN as the future of digital sports broadcasting and the ideal home for Eleven. Sport is global entertainment and joining with DAZN will be transformative, allowing us to access greater economies of scale and a global platform for our talented team. We couldn’t be more excited about this deal, and I’m really looking forward to working with Shay [Segev, CEO at DAZN] and the team at DAZN.”
Shay Segev, CEO at DAZN Group, commented: “The acquisition adds scale to our business. It is a big step forward in our mission to be the leading global sports platform. I have a great deal of respect for what Andrea [Radrizzani, Eleven founder and chairman], Marc and the team have achieved and look forward to working with them as we further expand our ambitions. Together we form the strongest and most credible management team in the sector. DAZN has invested in building a revolutionary digital sports platform, where fans can enjoy the full range of interactive sport entertainment. We are looking forward to expanding these capabilities to new markets as well as leveraging Eleven’s capabilities in DAZN.”
Kevin Mayer, DAZN chairman, said: “This deal marks an acceleration of our strategy to diversify our offerings and leverage our fantastic sports properties and our platform into new markets and business models. Team Whistle is a growing business that has a proven track record in monetising short form content. It will be hugely valuable to DAZN as we look to generate the maximum value from our enviable rights portfolio, creating new formats of content to reach new audiences and generate powerful incremental revenue streams. We look forward to welcoming all our new colleagues.”
Andrea Radrizzani, Eleven founder and chairman and owner of Leeds United, said: “We have developed a successful sports media company in the last six years with Eleven, and we’re delighted that this journey continues. The merger will provide greater opportunities as a group to continue to build a global destination for sports fans, which was our mission from day one.”
Upon completion of the deal Radrizzani will join DAZN’s board as an executive director and will support the DAZN Group’s business development.
Established in 2015, Eleven is a sports media destination delivering world-class entertainment to fans around the world, broadcasting over 65,000 hours of live content over the past year.
The deal is subject to anti-trust review; as such, the completion date remains unknown.
Guggenheim Securities acted as financial advisor to Eleven Group on this transaction.