Eleven Sports UK could shut down

Sports streaming service Eleven Sports’ UK operation may be shut down just four months after launching, according to press reports.

Billed as the ‘Netflix of Sport’ and with minority investment from Endeavor Group, the fledgling platform has struggled to find a subscriber base in the UK and Ireland, according to reports.

The service, which is priced at £5.99 a month and owned by Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani, holds UK rights to such sporting events as Italy’s Serie A, Spanish football league La Liga and UFC.

It is believed to be in the process of renegotiating streaming rights deals at lowered rates in order to avoid shuttering the platform, existing instead as a niche service in the region.

According to The Telegraph, which first reported the story, the UFC triggered an exit clause in its deal with Eleven Sports, which was set to begin in January, after the platform failed to secure distribution on pay-TV platforms, such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT.

Talks with Virgin Media fell through last month due to Eleven Sports’ steep demands on pricing, while Sky and BT have not come to the table in a meaningful way.

It is believed that Eleven Sports is looking to now hand back the linear rights to Serie A’s agent IMG and La Liga, in order to allow them to be resold.

According to The Telegraph, Eleven Sports has around 50,000 UK subscriptions. It also has operations in Italy, Poland and Portugal, which are believed to be substantially more successful due to less cut-throat domestic competition.

“Without carriage agreements with the existing platforms, alongside the challenges posed by rampant piracy, the current market dynamics in the UK & Ireland are very hostile for new entrants,” said a spokesperson for Eleven Sports.

“We are in discussion with our rights partners, La Liga and IMG, about how we can restructure our existing agreements in order to continue our current OTT [streaming] service.”

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