Viaplay acquires Premier Sports in the UK for £30m to expand its UK offering
- All Premier Sports channels will be rebranded
- LaLiga, UEFA international matches and URC among new Viaplay properties
- Nordic media brand now has over 5.55 million total subscribers ahead of fall launch in UK
Nordic media giant Viaplay Group has made a bold move in its UK expansion plans by acquiring Premier Sports in a deal that values the pay-TV network at £30 million (US$35.8 million) on a cash-and-no-fee basis debt.
The acquisition of Setanta Sports came as Viaplay reported a 69% year-on-year (YoY) increase in its total subscriber base in the second quarter to now reach 5.55 million as of July 21, driving up the company’s stock price by more than ten percent.
Viaplay’s rollout in the UK is set for this autumn, with a number of eye-catching acquisitions – including a big package of UEFA national team games from 2024 and National League rights hockey (NHL) until 2027 – already secured.
By moving to Premier Sports, the Stockholm-based company essentially advances its national team contract with UEFA to start in 2022. The deal Premier Sports secured earlier this year includes 60 exclusive matches featuring the men’s national teams of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. teams in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, as well as the UEFA Nations League.
Following the acquisition of Premier Sports, Spain’s top-flight La Liga is arguably the biggest club football property that will now be part of Viaplay’s UK offering, which will also include knockout cup matches Scottish and Italian live. In rugby union, Viaplay adds United Rugby Championship (URC) and Top 14 club action, as well as a set of matches from the second tier English rugby league championship.
In 2021, Premier Sports saw revenue increase by around 33% year-on-year to £26.4m ($31.5m).
For consumers, Premier Sports’ linear channels and streaming service, as well as the visual aspect of its output, will be redesigned in line with Viaplay’s existing brand. The content offering through each specific platform has yet to be confirmed, but Premier Sports’ long-term linear network distribution deals with Sky, Virgin, Amazon and Netgem TV will remain in place.
Following the acquisition, Viaplay will expand its UK offering at launch to two streaming packages, one focused on entertainment and the other a premium tier that will include the newly expanded sports offering.
Premier Sports’ current 23 full-time employees are all expected to join Viaplay following the closing of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval.
Anders Jensen, President and CEO of Viaplay, 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 growing subscriber base, well-established distribution deals and production capabilities, and an excellent sports portfolio that complements our own.
Richard Sweeney, Managing Director of Premier Sports, added: “At Premier Sports, we are proud to have created a dynamic and innovative sports streamer and broadcaster over the past 13 years. From humble beginnings, and through the hard work and dedication of our people, we have continually grown the business, and today we have an extensive portfolio of must-see live sports entertaining loyal customers across the UK. .
“Our sale to Viaplay Group will significantly increase the content available to new and existing subscribers. It’s the start of an exciting new chapter in the company’s development, and it’s great news for our colleagues, customers and partners.