Eleven 'committed' to Poland despite retaining just one share in Polsat sale
By Jonathan Rest
Eleven Sports, the international subscription broadcaster, has insisted it is "business as usual" in Poland, despite new company filings showing its operation in the country is now owned almost entirely by Polsat, the commercial broadcaster.
Data from Poland's National Court Register shows that Telewizja Polska holds a 99.9-per-cent stake in Eleven Sports Network, having increased the number of shares it owns from 3,340 to 6,678. Eleven has retained one share.
In May last year, Eleven Sports entered into what it called a strategic partnership with Polsat, which acquired 50 per cent plus one share of Eleven Sports Network in Poland at a price of €38 million ($43 million).
Despite the perceived minimal involvement in Poland, Eleven Sports told Sportcal in a statement today: "Polsat has increased its stake in the Polish business, with Eleven Sports retaining a minority share.
"Eleven Sports will continue to operate business as usual in Poland with commitment from the Eleven Sports Group to build on the success in the market since launch in 2015.
"Eleven has a strong partnership with Polsat and together we will continue drive the growth of the business and deliver high quality programming for sports fans across the country."
Sportcal understands key executives, including Krzysztof Świergiel, chief executive of Eleven's Polish operation, remain in place.
Eleven Sports, which operates four channels in Poland, began broadcasting in the country in August 2015, having hit the headlines as an unsuccessful bidder for the rights to Polish soccer’s Ekstraklasa.
Earlier this year, it retained exclusive rights in Poland to Formula 1 motor racing until 2022, saying at the time that it would sub-license highlights coverage to Polsat, while TVP, the public-service broadcaster, would receive segments of the live races together with highlights of the 2019 season.
Late last year, it missed out once again on Ekstraklasa rights in a highly-competitive tender to nc+, the pay-television satellite operator, and TVP from 2019-20, but its portfolio in the country does include a range of top European soccer leagues, as well as men's tennis and handball and the popular Polish domestic speedway.