BT PLC (LON:BT.A) has lost the rights to broadcast Italy’s Serie A football in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s move from Real Madrid to Juventus.
Eleven Sports, which is owned by Leeds United chief Andrea Radrizzani, now has the rights to broadcast the football matches that will include the likes of Juventus versus AC Milan in Britain.
The global sports broadcaster has already taken Spain’s La Liga rights off Sky Sports. It plans to launch two new channels in Britain and Ireland showing live matches from the top Spanish and Italian soccer leagues.
Eleven Sports has agreed for the global sports, events and talent management company IMG to take a minority stake in its new British channels.
The company – led by the former head of TV at BT, Marc Watson – offers upwards of 30,000 live hours per year and has more than 17 million customers across the globe including in the US, Singapore, Myanmar, Italy, Poland and Portugal.
BT and Sky PLC (LON:SKY), which have competed with each other for years to secure customers to sign up to their sports channels, have been dealt a major blow by losing the rights to Eleven Sports.
READ: BT Group sees over third of shareholders vote against its remuneration report at Wednesday’s AGM
“The time is right for a new entrant,” Watson told Reuters.
“We’ve made a great start with two of the biggest leagues in the world and we’ll be the only place to see matches like El Classico,” he said, referring to the matches between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The news comes just days after it emerged Ronaldo was signed to Juventus in a deal worth €112mln. The 33-year-old Portuguese, who won four Champions League titles in his nine years at Real, has signed a four-year with the Italian team.