Discovery Buys Controlling Stake in Play Sports Group

Discovery Inc., said it has purchased a 71% controlling stake in Play Sports Group, a digital sports media company focused on global cycling.

With the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, Discovery lays the foundation to create a global cycling platform led by brands like Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and Global Triathlon Network, and to tap into what the company believes is a $50 billion global market.

“This is another important step in Discovery’s strategy of being the global leader in brands and products that power people’s passions,” said Discovery International CEO JB Perrette in a statement.

Discovery originally bought a 20% stake in Play Sports Group in February. The additional investment increases its ownership and Play Sports Group will become a subsidiary of Discovery. Play Sports Group founder and CEO, Simon Wear, and his team of 140 cycling experts across content, creative, digital, marketing and sales services, will join Discovery and form a new global cycling-focused division in the company.

“I am tremendously proud and excited for Play Sports Group to join the Discovery family. As a fan and community-focused business, we could not be more perfectly aligned with Discovery’s deep-rooted history in serving passionate, specialist audiences with super high-quality content,” Wear said in a statement.

According to Discovery, Play Sports Group was founded in 2012 and 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. During 2018, Play Sports Group launched five new international channels, a consumer retail division and fan club, and broadcasts live racing on its YouTube channels and via Facebook Watch.

The deal also creates opportunities to develop a significant direct-to-consumer offering for cycling fans worldwide. Discovery has recently announced an alliance with the PGA Tour and has launched GOLF TV, a digital platform for golf fans around the world.

“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. Discovery and Play Sports Group share a consumer-obsessed philosophy centered on a deep understanding of super-fans and creating content that inspires, informs and entertains, taking them closer to the sports they love,” said Discovery Inc. Global Direct to Consumer CEO Peter Faricy in a statement. “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.”