Eleven Sports, the international pay-television broadcaster, and Mediapro, the broadcast production and rights agency, are to work on a “series of strategic international projects”, beginning with the production of Belgium’s top-tier Pro League.
The two parties said that the projects would “support the growth of both groups worldwide”.
Having last week signed off on its five-year media-rights agreement with the Pro League, Eleven Sports is to work with Mediapro on its new channels and the production of matches.
A statement read: “To kick off the new collaboration, Mediapro will work with Eleven Sports Belgium on the launch of their new Pro League channels, with the delivery of a state-of-the-art production of the 1A, 1B, Women Super League and the E-Pro League competitions for Belgian fans and the sale of the Pro League across the world.
“Mediapro will operate from Belgium for this project and will hire local staff, as it has done in all territories where Mediapro operates.”
In February, the Pro League voted in favour of a five-year contract with Eleven Sports, covering domestic and international rights to the top two Belgian divisions and worth €103m ($115.4m) per season between 2020-21 and 2024-25. Antwerp and Gent initially opposed the collective deal but subsequently signed up to support it.
Mediapro itself was initially interested in the rights, with news emerging at the start of the year of its long-term rights proposal.
Along with the top-tier First Division A and second-tier First Division B, the rights acquired by Eleven Sports also includes the Belgian Cup, the Belgian Super Cup, the women’s Super League and the E-Pro League.
Mediapro is already launching a subscription channels in neighbouring France on the back of its €780m-per-season contract for eight Ligue 1 rights packages from 2020-21 to 2023-24. Rights to Ligue 2 have also been secured over the same period, along with Uefa Europa League and Europa Conference League rights from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
Luis Vicente, Eleven Sports Group’s chief executive, said today (Wednesday): “This cooperation with Mediapro that we are starting today is part of our international strategy to strengthen, accelerate and further develop our business on a global scale. In a difficult time for the industry, building new partnerships will help us find stronger and innovative solutions to enhance and scale our offering and deliver for fans.”
Mediapro chief executive Jaume Roures added: “We have known Eleven Sports for many years. We regularly work with them in other countries and we know that combining the knowledge and expertise of professionals from both groups can lead us to very interesting projects. Like this one, that we started with Belgian Pro League. We will highlight all our experience to give Belgian fans the best possible experience of the new football channel.”
It was reported this week that Mediapro is close to securing a €55m credit facility, plus a similar contribution from its shareholders. The credit facility is expected to be granted by Deutsche Bank, which would syndicate the facility along with investment banks Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
It is claimed that, in total, Mediapro’s parent company Imagina would receive about €120m to weather the storm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. SportBusiness understands that full details of the funding plans are still to be finalised, with Mediapro expected to make an announcement upon their completion.