Sky Sports lose La Liga rights to UK newcomer Eleven Sports

Spanish top-flight football will no longer be shown on Sky Sports from next season after it was outbid for the rights by broadcasting disruptor Eleven Sports.

The company, owned by Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani, won the live and exclusive UK rights for three years of La Liga, starting from the 2018-19 season.

It is not yet clear where or how UK-based fans of Real Madrid or Barcelona will be able to watch their team's league fixtures next season. Eleven says it will announce in the coming weeks its distribution plans, which could include digital distribution or selling matches back to traditional broadcasters.

La Liga had been the exclusive property of Sky in the UK for 20 years but is reported to have had a bid of less than £18m per year rejected by the league.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for our young and dynamic company and we will announce soon how we will introduce innovative ways for dedicate fans to watch and engage in the live action", said Eleven Sports executive chairman and chief executive Marc Watson.

Eleven content is currently accessible via online subscription packages although not in the UK. Its chief executive Watson is a former BT TV executive who led the company's expensive entry into the Premier League market in 2014.

Read more:Will the Football League's iFollow platform usher in a streaming revolution that reaches the Premier League?

"Eleven Sports are an excellent partner for us in various markets across Europe and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them in the UK and Ireland – important markets for us in which La Liga is very popular," said La Liga president Javier Tebas.

"We have worked very hard to promote the excellence of La Liga in the UK and Ireland and we are confident that Eleven Sports will help us to grow and innovate our brand in the market for years to come."

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