Discovery buys controlling stake in cycling specialist Play Sports Group

Discovery has purchased a 71% controlling stake in the Play Sports Group, the digital sports media company behind the Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and the Global Triathlon Network.

The deal sees the UK-based firm become a subsidiary of Discovery, supplementing the broadcaster’s already significant cycling rights roster on Eurosport which includes all three Grand Tours and all five Monuments.

Discovery previously had a 20% stake in Play Sports Group which it bought in February 2017.

The Play Sports Group employs 140 people and owns and operates eight video channels dedicated to cycling. During 2018 it launched five new international channels, a consumer retail division and fan club. It broadcasts live racing on its YouTube channels and via Facebook Watch.

In a statement, Discovery said that the new proposition creates opportunities to develop a significant direct-to-consumer offering for cycling fans around the world.

JB Perrette, chief executive of Discovery Networks International, described the deal as a “hugely important investment.”

He said: “It aligns fully with Discovery’s broader strategy of super-serving passionate fans across screens with valuable demographics and growth potential. This deal underpins Discovery’s principle sport focus of owning verticals, allowing us to offer fans the best possible experience and immerse them fully in the sports they follow every day.”

Simon Wear, the founder and chief executive of Play Sports Group, added: “The combination of Discovery and Eurosport’s leading package of cycling rights, its resources, infrastructure and company vision with Play Sports Group’s massive community of cycling fans means we have a phenomenal package. The opportunity to build a world class digital destination, in multiple languages, for cycling fans the world over is one that’s just too good to miss.”



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