Viaplay Group announces Premier Sports acquisition | Media Investment | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Marking a significant acceleration of the Nordic company’s ambitions in the country and ahead of the official entry of its core streaming service into the market, Viaplay Group has agreed to acquire UK sports streamer and TV channel operator Premier Sports in a deal valued at $36 million.
Premier sports 22 JUly 2022
Founded in 2009 and majority-owned by Setanta Sports, Dublin-based Premier Sports launched in August 2009 and is available in the UK through subscription in over 16 million homes. It operates sports streaming service and TV channels available across the UK and it holds the rights to competitions including La Liga, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and Coppa Italia football; United Rugby Championship, Rugby Football League and Top 14 rugby; NASCAR motorsport; and the Elite Ice Hockey League. Its platforms are available across the UK through long-term distribution agreements with Sky, Virgin, Amazon and Netgem TV.

The company recently secured 60 exclusive matches to be played by the Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland men's national football teams in the UEFA European Qualifiers and UEFA Nations League from 2022, as part of a package of more than 400 international matches from across Europe. The agreement runs until 2024, when Viaplay's recently announced partnership with UEFA in the UK comes into effect.

Premier Sports currently has a total of 222,000 paying subscribers to its pay-TV channels Premier Sports 1 and Premier Sports 2 and streaming service Premier Player. The company also operates the advertising-funded TV channel FreeSports. Premier Sports' revenues grew by approximately 33% in 2021 to GBP 26.4 million.

Viaplay sees the acquisition as creating synergies with streaming service in sports content, distribution and production, while boosting Viaplay's UK brand awareness. Post completion of the deal, all Premier Sports platforms will receive Viaplay branding and will continue to be available through existing distribution partners. The content line-up available on the TV channels will, in due course, be expanded to include Viaplay's broader series and film offering.

As a result of the acquisition, Viaplay will expand its UK offering at launch to two streaming packages: the Films & Series package focused on Nordic storytelling with Viaplay Originals and premium third-party content, and the Total package including Viaplay and Premier Sports' combined sports line-up, alongside Viaplay's Films & Series offering.

For Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group president and CEO, the acquisition will serve to put Viaplay firmly on the UK map and accelerate its development in what is regarded as a key market. “Premier Sports has a loyal and expanding subscriber base, well-established distribution agreements and production capabilities, and a great sports portfolio that complements our own, “he said. “There is also a big opportunity to make Viaplay's wider offering, including our award-winning Viaplay Originals, available to Premier Sports' subscribers. We have secured this growing and profitable business at an attractive valuation. This is a fast and effective route to building an even stronger position for Viaplay in the UK."

Added Premier Sports CEO Richard Sweeney (pictured): "At Premier Sports, we're proud to have created a dynamic, innovative sports streamer and broadcaster over the past 13 years. From modest beginnings, and through the hard work and dedication of our people, we have continually grown the company, and today we have an extensive portfolio of must-see live sports that entertain loyal customers across the UK. Our sale to Viaplay Group will dramatically increase the content available to new and existing subscribers. This is the start of an exciting new chapter in the development of the business, and is great news for our colleagues, customers and partners."