ONE World Sports Relaunches as Eleven Sports; Questions Regarding Unpaid Freelancers Remain
Over the weekend, ONE World Sports’ linear channel relaunched as Eleven Sports, complete with new branding and graphics. Although the London-based Eleven Sports has yet to make an official announcement, it appears that the struggling ONE World Sports — which furloughed nearly all its employees and began airing to reruns in November as it searched for a buyer — has finally found a buyer. However, according to Awful Announcing, this does not necessarily mean that freelancers and employees will receive payments owed them by ONE World Sports (OWS).
According to multiple freelancers who have reached out to SVG, ONE World Sports has yet to pay them thousands of dollars owed for their work relating to the production of 2016 New York Cosmos soccer games, Ivy League football, and other productions. Among the crew owed are producers, directors, graphics producers, and on-air talent.
ONE World Sports execs have not yet responded to an SVG request for comment on Monday. Previously, when SVG reached out on Jan. 30 regarding the state of OWS and issues related to money owed to employees and freelancers, ONE World Sports President/CEO Sandy Brown said by e-mail, “We are in a sale process for the business. As such, it would be premature to respond to questions at this time. We hope to have a lot more clarity on the situation in the near future. When we do, we will be in touch.”
ONE World Sports is owned by Dallas-based ONE Media. Eleven Sports is owned by The Channels Co. and Andrea Radrizzani, founder of global investment company Aser and founding partner and vice chairman of international sports-rights agency MP & Silva. Eleven Sports launched in 2015 and operates multiple linear channels and streaming platforms in Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, Singapore, and Taiwan. Multichannel News was told by Eleven Sports spokeswoman Colleen Lynch that the organization “will have more details later this week” regarding the expected sale.
Awful Announcing reports that the network’s total debts to freelance production workers and production companies are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The report also indicates that ONE World Sports executives have not promised to pay those debts despite threats of legal action, which means that any sale could result in the purchaser’s acquiring just OWS’s assets and not its debts.
SVG will continue to provide updates on this story as information becomes available.