Discovery plans global cycling platform with Play Sports Group takeover

09 Jan 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

Discovery has unveiled plans to create “the number one cycling media ecosystem in the world” after taking a controlling stake in digital sports media company Play Sports Group.

The deal will see Discovery increase its existing investment in Play Sports Group to 71%, underpinning plans to combine the reach of cycling content and community platforms such as Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and Global Triathlon Network with Discovery’s position as a leading cycling broadcast rightsholder in Europe.

Announcing the move, Discovery unveiled a vision to partner with Play Sports Group, via its Eurosport brand, to create “the first global ecosystem combining the best of community, content, lifestyle and events,” which will cater to a $50bn global market of cycling enthusiasts.

It follows the launch of GOLFTV, a joint venture between Discovery and the PGA Tour, which seeks to become an equivalent one-stop OTT platform for golf fans worldwide.

The latest move will see Play Sports Group become a subsidiary of Discovery, with its team of 140 cycling experts across content, creative, digital, marketing and sales forming a new global cycling-focused division at the media giant.

Play Sports Group owns and operates eight cycling video channels generating over 45 million video views every month, with 5.7 million social followers and 3.1 million subscribers. 

Commenting on the deal, Founder and CEO of Play Sports Group Simon Wear said: “I am tremendously proud and excited for Play Sports Group to join the Discovery family. 

“The combination of Discovery and Eurosport’s leading package of cycling rights, its resources, infrastructure and company philosophy, combined with Play Sports Group’s massive community of cycling fans means we have a phenomenal package. 

“The opportunity to build a world class digital destination, in multiple languages, for cycling fans the world over is one that’s just too good to miss.”

Peter Faricy, CEO, Global Direct to Consumer at Discovery added: “Our partnership with Play Sports Group accelerates our global direct-to-consumer sports strategy and gives us an unprecedented opportunity to create a single global cycling destination for fans around the world. 

“We know the value Play Sports Group bring to our portfolio and we’re excited by the possibility of building a 360-degree proposition that combines the strength of their digital-first, fan-centric content, alongside Eurosport’s premium live broadcasting rights and existing direct-to-consumer platforms.”

Eurosport’s portfolio of cycling rights includes all three Grand Tours, more than 35 UCI World Tour races, including all five Monuments, and the UCI World Championships.