Mediapro buys Visyon and LVP, but experiencing mixed VAR fortunes
Mediapro, the Spanish sports rights and production company, has acquired Visyon, an international specialist in immersive audiovisual content, and which complements LVP, the professional video games league it now fully owns.
Mediapro, which is based in Barcelona, is to use the new asset to expand its activity in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.
Financial terms have not been disclosed
Mediapro said that, together with Visyon, it is developing new business models for the immersive broadcast of content, sports and entertainment, “leading the evolution of the eSports industry and exploring multiple use cases for the market potential that opens with the deployment of 5G connectivity.”
The acquisition comes in the same week that Mediapro took full control of LVP, in which it already had a 50-per-cent stake.
Visyon, which launched in 2012, employs 70 people worldwide, mostly at its headquarters in Barcelona, but also at offices in Madrid, London, Dubai, Milan, Eindhoven, San Francisco and New York.
It has developed more than 400 projects in areas such as sports, entertainment, business solutions, retail, education and health.
Mediapro and Visyon have worked together since 2014, developing immersive content solutions for sports and entertainment clients, including the production of the first live VR television broadcast of a soccer competition, for the United Arab Emirates Professional League.
Mediapro has been at the vanguard of the growth of eSports, and on Wednesday completed a €22-million deal ($24.6 million) for Fandroid, the company that owns LVP. Mediapro first invested in the business in 2016.
LVP launched out of Spain, where it organises competitions including the Superliga Orange, but has expanded to open offices and stage events in other countries such as the UK, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.
In other developments this week, Mediapro has been awarded a five-year contract to provide video assistant referee technology in Greek soccer’s top-tier Super League.
Working with Greek company In Digital, Mediapro will offer VAR services from the Greek Football Federation’s headquarters in Athens from the start of the 2019-20 season.
The contract also includes the use of mobile VAR units to cover matches played in the Greek islands, and to improve the federation’s digital environment over the course of the deal.
Mediapro provided VAR services at last weekend’s final of the Greek Cup, between PAOK and AEK Athens, the first match in the history of Greek soccer to involve the technology.
Mediapro already provides VAR technology for soccer leagues in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Chile and the UAE, and related services to Conmebol, the Confederation of African Football and FIBA, the international basketball federation.
However, there are reports that it could be set to lose the contract for the top two leagues in Spain as it is being excluded from a tender launched by the RFEF, the Spanish soccer federation, for the 2019-20 to 2022-23 seasons.
The contract is understood to be worth around €25 million.
The RFEF launched the VAR service tender on Wednesday, but is said to be excluding Mediapro under a clause that rules out “companies or groups of companies that have been criminally sanctioned or have recognised their criminal liability” for crimes such as bribery.
The company is understood to have been excluded from the bidding process for the rights to this month’s Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Valencia for the same reason.
The RFEF’s stance is thought to be based on the assertion that Mediapro was implicated in bribery as part of the Fifa-gate scandal, largely centred on the Americas, that erupted in 2015.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the RFEF is thought to be launching the VAR tender for the 2019-20 season onwards without the full co-operation of LaLiga as a wider regulatory agreement with the league is due to expire on 30 June, and the two sides have yet to reach accord on an extension in protracted negotiations.
Nonetheless, the federation is inviting offers to be made by a deadline of 21 May, and expects the contract to be awarded after 3pm (CET) on that day.
Mediapro last month vowed to take legal action over comments from federation president Luis Rubiales suggesting it was involved in paying bribes, insisting that neither itself, nor parent company Imagina Media Audiovisual “have been convicted of bribery, fraud or similar in any of the countries where they operate.”
The company added that the RFEF’s president’s claims were “offensive, unfounded and improper,” and pointed out that its acquisition from Fifa of the rights in Spain to the 2022 World Cup “contrast enormously with the position that the RFEF, according to its president, says it has adopted.”