Eleven Sports adds LPGA rights but Facebook debut hit by streaming issues
By Martin Ross
Eleven Sports, the international pay-TV broadcaster, has added rights to women’s golf’s LPGA Tour to its programming in the UK and Ireland.
The announcement was made to coincide with the start of Eleven Sports’ live coverage of the (men’s) US PGA Championship today, albeit streaming on the broadcaster's Facebook page was hit by pauses and buffering issues.
The broadcaster adds rights to six LPGA Tour events in the next three months, including three North American events: the Indy Women in Tech Championship; the Canadian Women’s Open; and the Cambia Portland Classic.
China’s Buick LPGA Shanghai and Blue Bay LPGA at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club will also be shown, along with the Toto Japan Classic from Seta Golf Course near Kyoto.
The magazine programme ‘Golfing World’ has also been added to Eleven Sports’ programming.
The LPGA Tour rights are latest to be acquired from IMG, the international sports marketing agency that has bought a small stake in Eleven Sports’ UK and Ireland business.
Eleven and IMG already have a wide-ranging programming and production agreement in place and the broadcaster has secured rights from the agency to the top-tier soccer leagues in Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and China, plus mixed martial arts’ Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Eleven Sports' live coverage from the US PGA Championship began today at 1.30pm and there is free streaming on Facebook of the first two rounds.
The Facebook streaming was hit by complaints from fans trying out Eleven Sports’ coverage for the first time, although streaming on the Eleven Sports website and app seemed to run smoothly.
Streaming problems on the Facebook page were rectified within two hours of the start of the broadcast.
The broadcaster had issued a statement on Twitter, saying: “Our sincerest apologies for the issues we are encountering with the feed from the US. We are working to resolve them as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.”
A later statement read: “The issues we experienced at the start of the broadcast were down to the feed that was coming in from the US. Many broadcasters around the world were also affected.”
Fans can also sign up to a seven-day free trial if they wish to watch the coverage.
Eleven Sports is currently only available on elevensports.co.uk, plus mobile and tablet apps (and selected streaming on Facebook) as carriage negotiations continue with Sky, BT and Virgin. The broadcaster has lodged applications with Ofcom, the UK media regulator, for two cable and satellite channels.