Eleven Sports, the company owned by Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani, has beaten Sky Sports to the TV rights to La Liga from the start of next season.
In a major coup for Radrizzani, the Italian’s sports network secured a three-year deal today, ending Sky’s long hold on Spanish football matches.
Sky had retained UK and Irish rights to La Liga for the past two decades but a reported offer of £54m failed to secure another contract as Eleven Sports weighed in with a decisive bid.
Radrizzani, who controls a 100 per cent share in Leeds having bought the club 12 months ago, founded Eleven Sports in 2015 and has built up rights to various sports across the globe.
Leeds’ controversial tour to Burma next week, where the club will play two post-season friendlies, was widely seen as part of an attempt by him to expand Eleven Sports’ reach into parts of the Far East. Eleven Sports already holds contracts in Singapore and Taiwan and broadcasts La Liga fixtures in Belgium and Poland.
The company has yet to confirm how it will show matches in the UK or whether another broadcaster will be used to televise the games. Its agreement with La Liga runs to the end of the 2020-21 season and Eleven Sports is believed to be considering making offers for two packages of Premier League rights covering the three years from 2019 to 2022.
Marc Watson, the CEO of Eleven Sports, said: “We are proud to build on our existing relationship with LaLiga, this time in the UK, one of the most passionate football countries in the world where Spanish football has significant appeal.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for our young and dynamic company and we will announce soon how we will introduce innovative ways for dedicated fans to watch and engage in the live action.”
Javier Tebas, La Liga’s president, said: “Eleven Sports are an excellent partner for us in various markets across Europe and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them in the UK and Ireland – important markets for us in which La Liga is very popular.
“We’re confident that Eleven Sports will help us to grow and innovate our brand in the market for years to come.”