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Why Discovery buys controlling stake in Play Sports Group?

In absorbing Play Sports Group into its fold, Discovery speeds up its aim to build a cycling media ecosystem worldwide

Discovery, Inc has purchased a 71% controlling stake in Play Sports Group, the digital sports media company behind cycling brands Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and Global Triathlon Network.

The deal strengthens Discovery’s aim in building a cycling media ecosystem worldwide, leveraging the network’s position in live sports and as a rights holders for cycling events in Europe through its principal sports brand Eurosport.

In partnership with Play Sports Group, Discovery will create a global ecosystem combining community, content, lifestyle and events for the large and growing number of cycling enthusiasts — a global market valued at US$50 billion.

Peter Faricy, CEO, global direct to consumer at Discovery, said: “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.”

The network originally took a 20% stake in Play Sports Group in February last year. The additional investment will see Play Sports Group becoming a subsidiary of Discovery.

Simon Wear, founder and CEO of Play Sports Group, and his team of experts in producing cycling content, creatives, digital, marketing and sales services, will join Discovery, forming a global cycling-focused division in the company.

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

“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!”

Founded in 2012, Play Sports Group is an operator of eight cycling video channels generating over 45 million video views monthly, with 5.7 million social followers and 3.1 million subscribers.

Last year, the company launched five new channels, a consumer retail division and a fan club, and broadcasts live racing on its YouTube channels and via Facebook Watch. 

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