Eleven Sports UK facing closure threat leaving Leeds owner facing financial uncertainty

Eleven Sports UK facing closure threat leaving Leeds owner facing financial uncertainty

Eleven Sports, dubbed the Netflix of Sport, is under threat of being shut down just four months after it launched.

The digital streaming platform made a big impact in the summer when they snatched up UK rights for La Liga and Serie A from Sky Sports and BT Sport.

But there are now major doubts the viability of the company because not enough subscribers have signed on and they have been unable to agree distribution deals with Sky and BT for UFC.

And that could have ramifications for Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds, who are owned by Eleven Sports controller Andrea Radrizzani.

There are reports the 44-year-old Italian owes as much as £30million in rights fees to sports clients including La Liga and Serie A.

The Telegraph claim Radrizzani has begun to seek guarantees from insurers about cash flow should Leeds fail to climb up into the Premier League this season.

Having bankrolled ex-Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa this season, the pressure is now on the club finally securing promotion back to the riches of the top flight.

They are currently second in the table behind Norwich, but the division is fiercely competitive and there are no guarantees they will finish in the top two.

And a further year in the EFL could put huge pressure on the club's resources, with Radrizzani only taking control from controversial former owner Massimo Cellino in May this year.

His focus is now on desperately trying to restructure Eleven Sports UK in a way which will see them retain control of their sporting rights but remain solvent.

Yet the UFC have already triggered an exit clause from their agreement which was due to begin in January.

And both BT and Sky are now understood to be looking at ways they can take the Spanish, Italian and Dutch football rights from their grasp.

An Eleven Sports spokesman said: “Without carriage agreements with the existing platforms, alongside the challenges posed by rampant piracy, the current market dynamics in the UK & Ireland are very hostile for new entrants.

“We are in discussion with our rights partners, La Liga and IMG, about how we can restructure our existing agreements in order to continue our current OTT service.”

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