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Top Story: Eleven Sports creates Champions League WhatsApp service

All the need-to-know deals from across the industry.

by Pearce Bates

Top Story: Eleven Sports creates Champions League WhatsApp service

Top Story

The Portuguese arm of sports broadcast network Eleven Sports has created a new WhatsApp service to provide fans with faster access to its Uefa Champions League coverage.

Beginning with the European club competition’s round of 16, due to kick-off on 18th February, the broadcaster will send match updates, including goal clips, to all fans who subscribe to the service.

The tool will also be used for the Spanish top-flight La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1.

Eleven Sports’ director of marketing and communications in Portugal, Nuno Filipe Miranda, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for our fans to watch their favourite sporting moments across all of our platforms.

“With more than 60 per cent of the Portuguese population now on WhatsApp, it’s important that we’re there to bring our fans all the action, straight to their phones.”

Last year, Eleven Sports launched a partnership with smartphone app OneFootball, allowing matches to be made available to fans via the application on a pay-per-view basis. The network’s social media channels also grew by 138 per cent in 2019.


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Major League Baseball (MLB) outfit the Kansas City Royals have struck a deal with 8x8, which becomes the team’s official cloud communications and contact centre partner.

Gaming operator DraftKings has secured multi-year fantasy sports and betting deals with National Basketball Association (NBA) franchises the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics.

XFL football outfit the Los Angeles Wildcats have announced a marketing partnership with the Monkey Knife Fight gaming platform.

UK-based bookmaker Betfred has become an official sponsor of the heavyweight boxing rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

La Liga has expanded its influence in North America by partnering with the FanWide smartphone application, which will allow users to locate bars showing games from the Spanish top-flight soccer league.

English second-tier soccer side Bristol City have announced Hummel as their new kit supplier from the 2020/21 campaign.

United Soccer League (USL) franchise San Diego Loyal have announced Stone Brewing as their inaugural jersey sponsor for the 2020 season.

Insurance firm Allianz has confirmed that it will not be renewing its sponsorship deal with rugby union side Saracens following the revelation of the club’s salary cap violations.

Low-cost airline FlySafair has extended its deal with South Africa Rugby for a further four years.

Fast-food chain Hungry Jack’s has extended its title sponsorship of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) for a further three years. Reports in Australia say Hungry Jack’s has committed more than the previous contract to retain the naming rights.

Also in Australia, Mars has ended its sponsorship of Big Bash League Twenty20 cricket franchise the Melbourne Renegades.

Telecommunications firm KPN has agreed to sponsor the 2020 Invictus Games. Heineken, Philips, SAP and Shell have also signed sponsorship deals with the event.

Deep Heat and Deep Freeze have been announced as title sponsors of the 2020 Great Ireland Run.

German carmaker BMW has renewed its contract with all-electric motorsport series Formula E, allowing the organisation to continue to use BMWi safety vehicles through Season Six.

PC manufacturer Corsair has struck a deal to provide keyboards and mice to the Rainbow Six Siege League esports competition.

Media Rights

According to ChannelNews, Australian telecommunications company Optus will not bid for Rugby Australia’s domestic rights package for the 2021 to 2025 cycle despite the inclusion of the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour in the governing body’s next broadcast deal.

French commercial broadcaster M6 has confirmed that it will bid for broadcast rights for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in the host nation. Fellow broadcaster TF1 was reported to have an option to acquire rights to the tournament.

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) has struck a sub-licensing deal with Infront for rights to English soccer’s top-flight Premier League until 2022.

Slovenian public service broadcaster Sport TV has agreed a sub-licensing deal with the United Media Group for exclusive rights to the 2020 Uefa European Championship and all 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers involving the Slovenian national soccer team.

In Hong Kong, iCable Communications has secured exclusive broadcast rights for the top-tier of Japanese soccer, the J-League, on a three-year deal.

German sports broadcaster Sport1 has acquired rights to US stock car racing series Nascar for the next three years. The deal includes all 36 live races and highlights.

BeIN Sports has signed a media rights agreement to cover the 2020 Pakistan Super League cricket tournament live in Australia, while it will also show daily highlights in Asia.

Indian pay-TV broadcaster Star has signed a deal with Sporty Solutionz to broadcast the Asian Wrestling Championships from 18th to 23rd February.

The Esports Observer has reported that Google’s previously announced rights deal to stream Activision Blizzard’s esports events on YouTube will see the company pay US$160 million over three years.


According to RTE, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has notified soccer’s global governing body, Fifa, of its willingness to trial a challenge-based system for the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.

Staying with VAR, Morocco has become the first African country to utilise the technology in a top-tier club game. The technology had previously been used in the semi-finals and final of the Moroccan Cup.

Global sailing competition SailGP has launched its own esports tournament. The eSailGP Championship will allow fans to virtually pilot the race boats used in the series.

BeIN Sports Xtra has joined the Samsung TV+ network. The service is now available for free to anyone who has a Samsung TV fitted with the TV+ system.

Politics & Governance

According to the BBC, Barnet Council considered terminating its UK£22.9 million (US$29.8 million) loan to redevelop Saracens’ stadium. Instead they have frozen further payments to the soon to be relegated English rugby union outfit.

A Twenty20 Champions Cup that would see cricket’s top ten nations playing 48 matches has been proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the 2023 to 2031 broadcast cycle.


English top-flight soccer team West Ham United have appointed Arena Events Group to install new seating areas closer to the pitch at their London Stadium.

English second-tier soccer side Millwall have revealed plans to redevelop The Den. The club say that the venue will include facilities suited to the Premier League.

La Liga outfit Valencia have opened a new academy in Morocco. The programme’s first location will be in Marrakesh.


Spanish network Mediapro has contributed a further €1.1 million (US$1.2 million) to women’s soccer in the country to ensure that salary contributions are met.

The owner of Indian cricket team Kings XI PunjabCut, KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, has agreed a deal to purchase Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team St Lucia Zouks.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) has announced the formation of the Philadelphia Barrage after confirming that the Atlanta Blaze will not operate for the 2020 season. The team will be led by Mark Burdett and Spencer Ford.