UK sports broadcaster Premier Sports has been bought by the Viaplay Group in a move which significantly strengthens the upcoming UK launch of its Viaplay streaming service.
Viaplay had already secured “long-term exclusive UK rights” to several sports contests which will sit alongside its library of original and acquired local and international series, films, and documentaries when the service goes live later this year.
Its purchase of Premier Sports enhances its sports offering by adding 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 to its line-up.
Premier Sports 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.
That agreement runs until 2024, when Viaplay’s own 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.
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 the ‘best of 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.
Further details of Viaplay’s UK content, pricing and launch date will be announced in due course.
Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group President and CEO, said: “This acquisition will put Viaplay firmly on the UK map and accelerate our development in this 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.
“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.”
Richard Sweeney, Premier Sports CEO, added: “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.”