Viaplay snaps up Premier Sports for £30m and appoints DAZN exec Breeze as UK head of sports
The Viaplay Group has agreed to purchase the UK sports streaming service and broadcaster Premier Sports from Setanta in a deal worth £30m. The deal comes ahead of the launch of the Viaplay streaming service in the country later this year.
At the same time, the company has appointed DAZN EVP of rights Edward Breeze as SVP and head of sports UK. Edward Breeze will join in October when he will become a member of Viaplay Group’s sports leadership team, reporting to Peter Nørrelund, Viaplay Group Chief Sports Officer, based in London. Breeze has previously worked at Perform, Inform and Octagon.
Premier Sports’ UK sports rights portfolio currently includes La Liga, the Scottish Cup, the Scottish League Cup and Coppa Italia football; United Rugby Championship, Rugby Football League and Top 14 rugby; NASCAR motorsport; and the Elite Ice Hockey League.
It also recently secured 60 exclusive matches to be played by the Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland men’s national football teams in the UEFA European Qualifiers and UEFA Nations League from 2022.
In addition to content and distribution, the acquisition will also deliver synergies with Viaplay in sports production, while boosting Viaplay’s local brand awareness amongst viewers, the company said.
“We have secured this growing and profitable business at an attractive valuation. This is a fast and effective route to building an even stronger position for Viaplay in the UK.”
Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group president and CEO said that the acquisition puts Viaplay “firmly on the UK map”.
“It accelerates our development in this key market,” he said. “Premier Sports has a loyal and expanding subscriber base, well-established distribution agreements and production capabilities, and a great sports portfolio that complements our own. There is also a big opportunity to make Viaplay’s wider offering, including our award-winning Viaplay Originals, available to Premier Sports’ subscribers. We have secured this growing and profitable business at an attractive valuation. This is a fast and effective route to building an even stronger position for Viaplay in the UK.”
Premier Sports currently has 222,000 paying subscribers to its pay-TV channels Premier Sports 1 and Premier Sports 2 and streaming service Premier Player. The company also operates the advertising-funded TV channel FreeSports.
Richard Sweeney, Premier Sports CEO said of the sale: “It will dramatically increase the content available to new and existing subscribers. This is the start of an exciting new chapter in the development of the business, and is great news for our colleagues, customers and partners.”
Founded in 2009 and majority-owned by Setanta Sports, Premier Sports’ revenues grew by approximately 33% in 2021 to £26.4 million.
The company is based in Dublin and has 23 full-time employees, all of whom are expected to join Viaplay Group after the closing of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval.
Viaplay has secured UK distribution agreements with Sky, Virgin, Amazon and Netgem TV.
Following the deal, Premier Sports platforms will receive Viaplay branding and will continue to be available through existing distribution partners. The content line-up available on the TV channels will be expanded to include Viaplay’s broader series and film offering.