The platform, which is available online and on mobile, will be re-branded as Eleven Sports this summer.
The move makes Italy Eleven Sports’ seventh market, following its entry into the US market in March.
Eleven is available via a number of platforms in Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan and the US, where it has distribution agreements with broadcast, OTT and mobile partners.
Eleven Sports in Italy will be overseen by executive chairman Marc Watson and group managing director Danny Menken. Day-to-day operations will be overseen by Marco Pistoni, president of the network in Italy and a former director at Sky Italia and Infront Sports & Media, and Bruno Stirparo, currently Sportube CEO, who will become the new managing director for Eleven in Italy.
Founded in 2010, Sportube has secured exclusive rights to a number of Italian sport leagues including Italy’s third tier football league, Lega Pro, which offers live access to 60 regional clubs in more than 1,200 games per season across all competitions.
Other current Sportube rights include live coverage of the top Volleyball League, Lega Volley Serie A; Italy’s top waterpolo league; domestic and international fencing; Italy’s 162 team amateur football leagues; the Italian Badminton Championship and an offering of motorsport including Superbike, Motocross, Enduro, Italian Rally Championship and the Campionato italiano di velocità – Italy’s premier motorcycle championship.
The platform had 4.3 million unique visitors during the 2015-16 season, up from 3.5 million during the 2014-15 season. In August 2016, Sportube introduced a pay-per-view system as part of its monetisation strategy and to enable it to improve its services for fans across Italy.
“We are thrilled to expand the reach of Eleven Sports to Italy, enabling us to capitalise further on the growth in demand for online sports consumption and giving the fans the flexibility and freedom of choice to watch their favourite sports – how and when they want,” said Marc Watson, executive chairman, Eleven Sports. “The acquisition of a majority stake in Sportube – a successful, profitable business with a loyal following – presents a fantastic opportunity for Eleven and we are very excited about the growth opportunities for this business in Italy and beyond.”
Stirparo said: “This is an exciting moment in the development of our business and we are delighted to become part of an innovative, global sports provider such as Eleven Sports, Eleven Sports has achieved fantastic success and rapid growth in a short space of time in each of its other markets and we are looking forward to harnessing the expertise of Eleven’s dynamic and entrepreneurial team as we aim to replicate that success here in Italy.”