Eleven Sports Adds YouTube Favorites With Team Whistle Deal
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. streaming group Eleven Sports has agreed to buy New York-based entertainment company Team Whistle, giving it access to content from social media sports influencers F2 Freestylers and Dude Perfect.
The deal will boost Eleven’s operations in North America and create a company with revenue of more than $300 million for the year ending June 30, according to a statement Monday. Financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
By purchasing Team Whistle, Eleven is adding a creator and distributor of online content that is popular with younger audiences to its existing live-sports business.
Within Team Whistle’s stable of content producers are former semi-professional soccer players Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch, known as F2 Freestylers, whose 13 million YouTube Inc. subscribers tune in to watch them perform outrageously complicated skills and trick shots with a comedy element. Dude Perfect, meanwhile, creates similar content on sports from baseball to basketball and has a YouTube subscriber base of almost 56 million.
Eleven was founded by Andrea Radrizzani, chairman of U.K. Premier League soccer team Leeds United. Its parent company Aser Ventures has been invested in Team Whistle since 2018, when Radrizzani joined the U.S. group’s board.
“We have long recognized the opportunities for partnership between Team Whistle and the wider Aser portfolio,” Radrizzani said in a statement. “We are bringing together two media companies who have a track record of building strong and innovative sports media businesses in Europe, Asia and North America.”
Eleven runs regional platforms in countries including Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Taiwan, Myanmar and Japan and has been boosting the content it provides in part through acquisition. The deal for Team Whistle comes just weeks after Eleven completed its purchase of the grassroots soccer streaming company MyCujoo.
Bank of America Corp. advised Eleven on the Team Whistle acquisition. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Eleven owns live rights to a number of elite sports, including soccer in Belgium. Streamers such as Eleven are beginning to compete more with the likes of Comcast Corp.’s Sky for premium rights. Last week DAZN Group Ltd. beat out Sky in the battle for a package of rights for Italian soccer league Serie A.
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