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Discovery Communications invests in Play Sports Group

Global media and entertainment group Discovery Communications has taken a 20% stake in the digital sports media company Play Sports Group. Play Sport Group owns the Global Cycling Network (GCN) (pictured) ...
February 27, 2017

Global media and entertainment group Discovery Communications has taken a 20% stake in the digital sports media company Play Sports Group.

Play Sport Group owns the Global Cycling Network (GCN) (pictured) and Global Mountain Bike Network (GMBN), while Discovery owns the pan-European television sports network Eurosport.

The investment and commercial partnership means Play Sports Group will be able to quickly scale its business, bringing its content to cycling fans.

The company plans to launch further channels in cycling and other sports, hiring up to 150 people for newly created digital and creative roles over the next two years. These roles will predominantly be based at its Bath, UK headquarters, as well as a small number based in new international offices.

Discovery leads this latest round of funding, which also has been supported by its existing investor group, including Andrew Croker (chairman), Oli Slipper (non-exec director), JohnGleasure and Stef D’Anna (Perform), Tony Ball (ex Sky and BT), Paul Bolwell (ex Wiggle) and Humphrey Cobbold (Pure Gym, ex Wiggle).

Ralph Rivera, managing director, Eurosport digital and Sameer Pabari, SVP business development, Eurosport will join the newly formed executive board.

Eurosport is the new home of the Olympic Games, the leading rights holder in cycling and shows all three of the Grand Tours, including the Tour de France, and all five Monuments. Last month, Eurosport confirmed exclusive and extended Giro d’Italia coverage and additional races.

“Passion for cycling is the biggest it’s ever been and as a lifelong fan, I know it’s one of the most robust and enduring sports that’s ever existed. I’m delighted to have Discovery Communications and its leading sports brand Eurosport join our incredible list of investors and advisors. It’s extremely clear how determined and smart they are in the development of their digital business, and we’re really looking forward to working with the team,” said Wear, in a statement.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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