Former Fifa executive Vicente brought in to take Eleven 'to the next level'
By Simon Ward
Eleven Sports, the international pay-television operator, has today announced the appointment of Luis Vicente as its next chief executive, with incumbent Marc Watson to remain involved in the business as executive chairman.
Vicente (pictured), who hails from Portugal, has 25 years of experience in the sports industry, most recently at Fifa, soccer’s international governing body, where he served as chief digital transformation and innovation officer.
He will join Eleven on 15 January, while also becoming a board member and chief digital officer of parent company Aser Ventures.
Watson, who has been with Eleven since its launch, retains the role of executive chairman and a board director of Aser, and said that Vicente’s expertise and experience, notably in innovation and technology, will help take the company “to the next level.”
Eleven Sports was launched in 2015 by a group including Andrea Radrizzani, the former chief executive of the MP & Silva agency, with Belgium and Poland among its initial countries.
It now has services in multiple markets, comprising, in addition to the above, Italy, Portugal, Luxembourg, the UK, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan and Myanmar.
Leagues and competitions broadcast live by Eleven Sports in various markets and languages include the Premier League, LaLiga, Formula 1, the NFL and the NBA.
However, it has had to scale back its plans in the UK and Ireland, relinquishing live rights it acquired to LaLiga and Serie A, and repositioning itself as an OTT platform, with sports news clips and documentaries, after being unable to strike carriage deals with the country’s leading pay-TV platforms. It continues to explore potential opportunities in that market.
Vicente joined Fifa in January 2018 with a remit covering new technologies, gaming, data and content strategies.
However, he left the federation several months ago following the merger of the commercial and digital units into a new department headed up by Fifa's new chief commercial officer Simon Thomas.
Vicente’s previous roles include chief revenue and marketing officer at Spanish soccer club Valencia and head of partnerships at England's Manchester City.
He has also offered strategic guidance to the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, the Premier League, LaLiga, Red Bull, motor racing teams Ferrari and Lotus and the discontinued A1GP series.
Vicente began his career in talent management, working with top soccer players including Portugal’s Luis Figo and Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario.
Commenting on his new role, he said: “Eleven has been disrupting the world of sports media since 2015 and has already developed a fantastic offering for millions of fans globally. My mission will be to help Elevn continue to grow, to further democratise our offering and give fans everywhere the opportunity to enjoy the best sporting moments with Eleven. I am very excited to get started.”
Watson added: “Luis has a passion for innovation and new technologies and a history of helping to grow some of the biggest brands in sport. He is the perfect person to take Eleven to the next level. We're delighted to welcome him to the group."
Watson is a former barrister and sports rights specialist, and, as the chief executive of BT TV, the pay-television arm of the UK telecoms giant, was the driving force behind the launch of BT Sport in 2013, before leaving the company in early-2014.