OTT broadcaster Eleven Sports could close its doors in the UK and Ireland after just four months after failing to excite subscribers in sufficient number.
Launched by Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani, the service holds British distribution rights to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A but is already seeking to renegotiate these deals at much lower rates in order to prevent screens going blank.
Its travails were compounded when the UFC triggered an exit clause on its exclusive deal with the service which had been due to commence in January, after promised distribution via pay-TV platforms such as Sky, Virgin Media and BT failed to materialise.
An Eleven Sports spokesman said: “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. 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.”
Since launching its UK service in August Eleven Sports has reportedly convinced just 50,000 subscribers to stump up £5.99 per month for the service.
In July the Eleven Sports Network was taken off-air by Singtel TV in Singapore, ending a three-year stint with the broadcaster.