Banijay has confirmed its intentions to trigger a significant push into the world of sport under the banner of a new division, Banijay Sport. Building on the group's existing capabilities, the business will now look to broaden its efforts in sportainment, documentary, and digital via new partnerships, content investments, and M&A. The move, which will not venture into broadcast and streaming rights, was announced by CEO Marco Bassetti in a dedicated keynote at Content London 2023.
The news follows Banijay's recent move into live events via Balich Wonder Studio, which specializes in institutional ceremonies, brands, and destination experiences. The ambition is for Banijay Sports to partner with the former to explore alternative content opportunities that capitalize on its expansive relationships linked to institutional ceremonies and large-scale sporting events. "While we've already made some considerate moves in sport across our global footprint of talented producers, we wanted to concentrate our efforts on building value in this space. In having a centralized division, we have further capacity to deliver on partnerships, carve greater volume, mobilize digital opportunities, and ultimately, fulfill our ongoing goals to scale the group," Marco Bassetti said.
As Banijay ramps up its efforts in direct-to-consumer digital activity, sports will also give the business a direct route to significant fan bases and youth-skewing demographics. With the sports industry rapidly growing, spearheaded by the monumental increase in the value of rights in this area (set to break $60bn in 2024), Bassetti cited the complementary nature of this genre to its content and distribution business and the notable demand from clients, in the decision to launch the new department. The latest push will ramp up the existing efforts already in-play worldwide, specifically with documentaries: "That Peter Crouch Film" (Workerbee for Amazon Prime Video), "Human Playground" (Scenery and Workerbee for Netflix), "Tyson Bruno" (Workerbee in association with Sky Studios for Sky), two seasons of "La Leyenda de Sergio Ramos" (Endemol Shine Iberia for Amazon Prime Studio), "Warnie" (Endemol Shine Australia, in association with VicScreen for Nine Network), "Daum" (Doc.Banijay part of Banijay Productions Germany for Sky) and upcoming "Four Kings" (Workerbee for Amazon Prime Video).
Elsewhere, Banijay Benelux plays home to leading Dutch sports player Southfields, which delivers coverage, talk shows, documentaries, and more, with highlights including All-in team "Jumbo Visma" for Amazon Prime Video. And, just this year, Banijay Iberia struck a deal to launch LaLiga Studios, a new sports-related content production company led by Chalo Bonifacino Cooke, and Endemol France acquired Puzzle Media, which is credited for long-running "Riding Zone" (14 years on France Télévisions). The latter follows additional label launches with sports stars Teddy Reiner, Blaise Matuidi, and Charles Villeneuve.