Eleven Group, the parent company of the Eleven Sports international subscription broadcaster, will house the results of a merger between two of its subsidiaries, US-based Whistle Studios and sports production firm NEO Studios, through a deal announced today.

The merger will see NEO add to Eleven’s coverage of live sport through the production of on-demand content for audiences across Eleven’s widespread international presence.

The production firm, which was launched by Eleven’s parent company Aser Ventures in 2018, will also create sports and entertainment programs for third-party streaming platforms affiliated to Eleven.

Eleven has said the studio business will “pool NEO’s capabilities in premium sports storytelling with Whistle’s diverse range of studio services, delivering additional value to the Eleven Group and third-party distributors.”

The merger will also “bring together the two studios’ unique network of relationships with some of the biggest talent, sports teams and federations in the world.”

The new joint venture will operate with teams across both the US and Europe, with NEO’s distribution network currently including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Rakuten TV, HBO Max, Discovery, Snap Originals, BET+, Facebook Watch, MGM/Orion, TBS, YouTube Premium, and others.

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Anouk Mertens, NEO Studios’ chief executive, will lead the business as global chief executive, while the firm’s US team will be overseen Melanie Capacia Johnson. Jimmy Rutherford and Jonathan Gale will take charge of the European operations, meanwhile.

NEO already works alongside Leeds United, the top-tier English Premier League soccer side that is another part of Aser Ventures, under the control of overall owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Indeed, its first project was the Take us Home – Leeds United documentary, which first aired on Amazon Prime Video in 2020.

Whistle, meanwhile, was bought by Eleven as a digital US-based media company in March 2021 in a deal that saw Eleven bring Whistle’s various divisions under its control.

Whistle, founded in 2014, adds a host of on-demand sports and entertainment programming, such as unscripted, scripted, and interactive shows, to the global offering.

Eleven's parent is no stranger to Whistle after Aser Ventures invested in the company in June 2018 with Radrizzani subsequently joining the Whistle board.

Whistle was also used by Eleven when the broadcaster launched in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in October last year, assisting through its production capabilities.

Mertens has now said: “As part of the Eleven Group, NEO will be able to leverage our unique partnerships with talent, athletes, and leagues to tell powerful, untold stories that really connect audiences with their passions.”

Marc Watson, chief executive of Eleven Group, added: “The newly expanded NEO Studios will be an integral part of the Eleven Group, and give us the opportunity to supplement our compelling live sports offering with more award-winning on-demand content.”

Eleven has said the merger “marks a key milestone in the Eleven Group’s journey to establishing itself as a global sports and entertainment powerhouse.”

NEO is currently working with the Discovery+ streaming platform on a docuseries called Legacy: In the Shadow of Greatness, following three young athletes and their famous parents, which will be released next week.