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Eleven Portugal: "Offering fans flexibility and bespoke bundles" (J. Pavao de Sousa)

News Tank Football - Paris - Interview #218903 - Published on 28/05/21 at 09:45
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©  Eleven
Jorge Pavao de Sousa - ©  Eleven

"Our mission is about us working to serve sports fans in the best way possible. That can be about offering fans flexibility on how and where they can watch their favourite sport, to offering audiences very bespoke bundles that ensure they only pay for what they want to watch. For instance the Annual Motor Pass gives fans full access to Eleven's portfolio of motorsports. And the 48-hour Pay-per-Time pass (€6.99) gives audiences full access to Eleven for a two day window so they can enjoy the Champions League final without having to commit to a monthly offering (€10.99)," said Jorge Pavao de Sousa, managing director of the audiovisual group Eleven Sports Portugal, to News Tank Football, on 27/05/2021.

"We have introduced some augmented reality features into our studio too which we will use to analyse the game (the 2021 Champions League final, Manchester City FC Activity: English professional football club Global Partners: • Etihad Airways (airline): shirt sponsor, since 2009-10 (£20m per season) and stadium naming rights (2011-2021, £10m per season) … - Chelsea FC Activity: English professional football club Main partners: • Nike (equipment supplier): 2017-2032, estimated at £60m per season • Three (telecommunications): main shirt sponsor 2020-2023… , Saturday 29/05/2021, kick-off at 21:00 CET)," explained Jorge Pavao de Sousa, with Eleven Portugal being the host broadcaster of the Champions League final for the second consecutive year (finals moved to Lisbon in 2020 and Porto in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

"Eleven's OTT Over-the-top, content provided through the Internet. innovations like Watch Together - which allow fans to watch games together in the same virtual living room as their friends - have been massive for people especially while stuck at home during lockdown and are helping us to grow a committed community of direct subscribers," said the managing director of Eleven Sports Portugal, who answered questions from News Tank Football.


Eleven Portugal is the host broadcaster of the Champions League final for the second year in a row (played in Lisbon on 23/08/2020 and in Porto on 29/05/2021). What is the specific setup for this event? 

Our team will be based at the Estádio do Dragão (Porto) from Friday (28/05/2021, the day before the Manchester City FC - Chelsea FC final), where we will be broadcasting live in the build-up to the game. We will also have reporters roaming the city of Porto this week, speaking with supporters around the fan zones and getting a sense of the atmosphere.

A host of features to accompany the live coverage of the Champions League final »

Our production team are busy preparing a host of features to accompany the live coverage of the match. We have an exclusive interview with Man City's João Cancelo and will be profiling the two managers and players like Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City FC) and José Bosingwa (ex-Chelsea FC). We are also trying to tell some of the 'behind the scenes' stories around the game, like how the Estádio do Dragão was prepared to host the Champions League final in just a few weeks.

We have introduced some augmented reality features into our studio too which we will use to analyse the game, with our very experienced punditry team of Pedro Pinto, Costinha and Pedro Filipe Maia.

You were also the host broadcaster of the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix for two years in a row. Is this a similar setup?

It’s been a big year for Eleven Portugal. We've had the chance to host the Champions League final twice in a row. And after a period of 24 years with no Formula 1 in Portugal, we've also had the opportunity to broadcast two F1 Grand Prix from home soil in the space of six months. Like with the Champions League we really went for our Grand Prix coverage, with special broadcasts from the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.

We designed and built a dedicated F1 studio for the Portuguese GP »

We designed and built a dedicated F1 studio and we broadcast live on site for four consecutive days, delivering 20 hours of live broadcasts at each race. We also brought viewers exclusive interviews with the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen. The Portuguese GPs in the past year have been among the top three most watched F! races in the past two seasons, and it’s been brilliant to see Portugal showcase itself as a host venue for F1.

F1 Team Eleven Portugal - ©  Eleven

What was the impact of Covid-19 on your business model and how does it impact your relations with rights holders?

We've come through Covid-19 in pretty strong shape »

Obviously Covid has been a major challenge but we have tried to be bold, to find solutions and  continue to build our business as a Group. While sport was locked down we had to find new and creative ways to deliver for fans in Portugal. We created our own esports events - giving fans the chance to compete alongside pro athletes and content creators; we secured new archive content and worked with our rights holder partners to find new and creative ways to deliver for fans. As an Eleven Group, we've actually come through Covid-19 so far in pretty strong shape. We've continued to secure new rights. We agreed a new deal to broadcast the Champions League here in Portugal for another three years (2021-2024) while our Eleven Belgium team has secured domestic football rights for the Pro League Belgian Professional Football League for five years (2020-2025).

We've expanded the Eleven group: acquisition of MyCujoo (streaming) and Team Whistle (entertainment) »

We've also aggressively expanded the Eleven group. Eleven completed the acquisition of streaming platform MyCujoo and its proprietary technology in November 2020, which will lead to the launch of a new global ElevenSports.com service in a few weeks' time. Eleven also completed the acquisition of Team Whistle Published on 30/03/21 at 15:21
Eleven is to acquire the US sports media and entertainment company Team Whistle, according to the British media group on 29/03/2021.

Founded in 2014, Team Whistle (which includes the companies…
in 2021. Their huge distribution network and award-winning original programming are now part of the Eleven Group and mean that the Eleven family now generates over 4 billion views a month across a total of, 1,655 distribution channels, with an aggregated social following of 629 million. So in spite of Covid, we're now in the position to reach more sports fans with more content than ever before.  

You have your own OTT Over-the-top, content provided through the Internet. platform and you are also distributed by all operators in Portugal. Could you tell us how many subscribers you have and how many of them are direct-to-consumer? (Is there a trend of more direct clients?)

Eleven Portugal's new OTT platform has almost doubled its D2C audience over the past 12 months »

We came to the Portuguese market with a platform agnostic model and we remain committed to serving fans however and wherever they want to follow their sport - whether that's through the operators or D2C (direct-to-consumer). We have 100% distribution via operators in Portugal and that remains the majority of our business. But a key focus is to continue to grow our D2C business. Eleven Portugal launched a new OTT platform this season and has almost doubled its D2C audience over the past 12 months.

Growth of our D2C audience will be linked to the pace of 5G rollout »

Eleven OTT innovations like Watch Together - which allow fans to watch games together in the same virtual living room as their friends - have been massive for people especially while stuck at home during lockdown and are helping us to grow a committed community of direct subscribers. Our target is to continue to grow our D2C audience aggressively over the next rights cycle. The pace of that will be linked to the pace of 5G rollout but it's a key focus for us.

Eleven Portugal team - ©  Eleven

Your slogan is "By the fans. For the fans". Do you offer specific operations/services for your clients?

Yes our 'For the Fans' mission is about us working to serve sports fans in the best way possible. 

Creating a sense of an Eleven community »

That can be about offering fans flexibility on how and where they can watch their favourite sport, to offering audiences very bespoke bundles that ensure they only pay for what they want to watch. For instance the Annual Motor Pass gives fans full access to Eleven's portfolio of motorsports. And the 48-hour Pay-per-Time pass gives audiences full access to Eleven for a two day window so they can enjoy the Champions League final without having to commit to a monthly offering.

Being 'For the Fans' is also about engaging fans actively in our offering and creating a sense of an Eleven community for audiences - whether that’s through our social media channels or our OTT platform and tools like Watch Together.

You renewed your Champions League, LaLiga and Ligue 1 rights recently (2021-2024 for all three competitions). Do you have any other objectives for the near future?

Focus is now on continuing to strengthen Eleven's motorsports offering »

We have successfully renewed our key football rights for the next cycle and the focus in Portugal is now on continuing to strengthen Eleven's motorsports offering and identifying new competitions and content opportunities that will allow us to deliver for Portuguese fans.

Eleven's recent acquisition of MyCujoo and Team Whistle give our Portugal team access to thousands of hours of longtail sport in Portugal and award winning on-demand entertainment content too. So we will be looking at how we utilise our access to this content to deliver for fans and partners in new ways.

The domestic rights of Portuguese clubs have already been awarded until 2028-29. Does this hinder your ability to attract new clients?

Yes that's correct but we're very confident with the portfolio of content that we're building here at Eleven Portugal.

For a few years there has been a specific law in place in Portugal to stop illegal streaming websites. Have you noticed the positive effects of this law?

Finding effective measures to deal with illegal streaming is critical »

Finding effective measures to deal with illegal streaming is critical. Up to now, that effort in Portugal has not been as coordinated as it needed to be. We need to focus on coming together to create a shared approach for combating piracy and to change the legal and regulatory framework to allow the ISP to detect and take-down immediately all illegal content. If this piracy topic is well coordinated at a wider level (national and pan-European), I believe it will add much more value to all involved and be able to create a more sustainable financial business model for all.

Jorge Pavao de Sousa


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Career

Eleven Sports
Managing Director
Gameflix Consulting Ltd
Managing Director
Global PE Firm
Strategic Media M&A Advisor/Non-Executive Director
Vodafone
Head of TV
Portugal Telecom
Head of TV Product Management (MEO)

# 43712, created on 27/05/21 at 14:26 - Updated on 27/05/21 at 14:38

Eleven

Sector: pay-TV sports channels (some uniquely via OTT, depending on market)
Founded: July 2015
Markets: Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Taiwan, Portugal, Myanmar, Japan
Number of subscribers (globally): 17 million (2019)
Shareholding: property of Aser Group (Andrea Radrizzani)
- Eleven Sports Poland: Polsat (99.99%)
CEO: Marc Watson since 08/10/2021
Executive Director: Andrea Radrizziani
Chief Business Development Officer: Danny Menken
COO: Alessandro Tucci

Main football TV rights:

• Belgium: Jupiler Pro League (2020-2025), Serie A TIM (2018-2021), Bundesliga (2018-2025), LaLiga Santander (2018-2026), UEFA qualifying matches and Nations League (2018-2022)

• Poland: Serie A TIM (until 2023-24), LaLiga Santander (shared rights with Canal+ 2018-2021), Bundesliga (2017-2021), UEFA qualifiers and Nations League matches (2018-2022), Ligue 1 Uber Eats (2020-2024)

• Italy (via the acquisition of the OTT platform Sportube): Serie C (third division)

• Portugal: Champions League (2018-2024), Premier League (2022-2025) LaLiga Santander (2018-2024), Ligue 1 and Trophée des champions (2018-2024), Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup (2019-2025), Jupiler Pro League and Belgian Supercup (2018-2020), Scottish Premiership (2018-2020), Juventus TV since 2018-19

• Myanmar: Myanmar National Football League (2019-2027)

• Luxembourg: Serie A TIM (2018-2021), Bundesliga (until 2024-25)


Category: Media


Headquarters address

The Channels Co. Ltd
Suite LG 11 St Jame's Place
SW1A 1NP London United kingdom


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# 3460, created on 06/08/15 at 10:55 - Updated on 08/10/21 at 16:25