Multimillion-pound investment to fuel growth of sports marketing business

Matt Cairns

Sports marketing business, Eleven Sports Media, has attracted a multimillion-pound investment from BGF.

Blackpool-based Eleven is involved in the creation and execution of community-driven partnerships across the highest level of professional sport, including the Premier League, NFL, EFL, MLS, NBA and NHL.

Eleven’s proposition is powered by its proprietary technology which turns data into content to enhance the in-stadium experience for fans and create digital advertising for sponsors.

Founded in 2009 by Matt Cairns, Eleven constructs high value local partner programmes for rights holders at iconic sporting venues, from Yankee Stadium to London Stadium, providing local businesses with a growth platform through fan, club and community engagement.

BGF’s investment will supercharge international growth and increase Eleven’s foothold in the US market.

The business will continue to grow its team and make strategic hires in the US to support the opening of an office in Charlotte, USA in 2025.

Already accounting for more than half of the business’s overall sales, Eleven entered the US with the win of New York City Football Club in 2021 – part of the City Football Group which also owns Manchester City – and the business has since added the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets in 2023.

More recently, Eleven has attracted partners in the NBA and NHL with the wins of Milwaukee Bucks and New Jersey Devils this year.

The deal was led by Rhys Davenport and Josh Bean, investors in BGF’s North West team. Josh Bean will join the Eleven board.

CEO Matt Cairns said: “We were looking for an investment partner that will add significant value to our business while allowing us to remain in control of the day-to-day direction. It was also important to us to find a culture fit and a team that we get along with – BGF ticked all of those boxes.

“We’re really excited about the future potential driven by our combined experience and networks. Our success to date is testament to the quality of team we’ve built and high performance culture we’ve nurtured and I’d like to thank everyone who has played a role in reaching today’s milestone.”

BGF investor, Rhys Davenport, said: “We’re excited to be backing such an impressive business, which has established itself as a market leader in the UK and gained rapid traction and opportunities in the US.

“We have a strong track record of working with business owners to help them scale internationally, so can add value through our experience and network. Building on the success in the US, we look forward to achieving this with Eleven and exploring more growth opportunities.”

Advisors on the deal were: BGF Legal, DLA Piper (Andy Philips, Alexandra Keane, James Croft), Tax DD, Hurst (Adrian Young, Sarah Haley), FDD, Mark Wasley, Sales DD, Ian Martin, Vendor legal advice, Squires Patton Boggs (Giles Chesher, Harry Jackson, Gabe Pennington), Tax structuring, RSM (Emily Sloane and Jack Bentham).

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