Eleven Sports to acquire Team Whistle media business in bid to conquer US

Eleven Sports is setting out to conquer the North American sports broadcasting market with the acquisition of Team Whistle, a global sports media and entertainment business with a portfolio of data-driven video content aimed at young audiences.

The move accelerates Eleven Sports’ plan to create a global sports media destination. The deal is subject to HSR approval.

The acquisition will bring together Eleven Sports’ 150-plus commercial partners, 20-plus million users and 30,000 hours of live sport each year with Team Whistle’s slate of original programming, 1,655 distribution channels, 629 million aggregated social media followers and four billion monthly video views. T

After the acquisition Eleven Group will house an extensive network of over the top (OTT) and social platforms, proprietary streaming technology, data driven production capabilities, and marketing and brand partnership services.

The newly expanded Eleven Group is building on the strong performance of Eleven Sports’ operations in Europe and Asia, and Team Whistle in North America, in the face of COVID-19. Pro forma revenues for the combined Group will be in excess of US $300 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2021.

Eleven Sports and Team Whistle will focus on continuing to grow the Group’s offering in the months ahead – securing more live sports content and developing new on-demand sports and entertainment programming – to lay the foundations for a global Eleven sports and entertainment network.

Eleven’s plans for a worldwide network began with the acquisition of streaming platform MyCujoo in November 2020. The acquisition of MyCujoo is the basis for a new global ElevenSports.com platform, which will launch with a focus on niche-premium and longtail sport.

Eleven’s parent company, the sports and media investment platform Aser Ventures, first identified opportunities for synergy with Team Whistle three years ago. Aser invested in Whistle in June 2018 and Aser’s founder Andrea Radrizzani joined the Whistle board.

Andrea Radrizzani, founder of Eleven Sports and parent company, Aser Ventures, said of Eleven’s acquisition of Team Whistle: “We have long recognised the opportunities for partnership between Team Whistle and the wider Aser portfolio. 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.”

John West, Team Whistle founder and executive chairman, who will join the Eleven Group board of directors when the deal is signed, added: “Upon first meeting Andrea [Radrizzani] 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.”

Luis Vicente, Eleven Sports group chief executive officer, said: “At Eleven we are committed to building a world leading sports and entertainment ecosystem for fans and partners around the world. Team Whistle will play a huge part in helping us to deliver on that mission.”

Michael Cohen, Team Whistle chief executive officer, who will continue to lead Team Whistle and will also join the Eleven Group management team when the two company’s officially merge, added: “We are excited to join such a talented group of people who share our vision of media and collaborative culture. We have a long history of successfully working together and with Eleven’s deeper partnership we will be able to rapidly accelerate our growth.”

Eleven’s rights portfolio in Europe and Asia includes the Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, domestic rights to the Belgian Pro League, F1, NBA and NFL, alongside thousands of hours of niche-premium and longtail live sport.

Team Whistle is a pioneer in the data-driven creation and distribution of positive and relatable content in sports and entertainment for young audiences globally. Team Whistle’s portfolio of unscripted, scripted and interactive shows are available across its social and AVOD media distribution network.

Team Whistle’s team of 300 people will join Eleven.

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