John Malone’s Liberty Global Invests $10.8M in Bigballs Media

LONDON — John Malone’s international cable company Liberty Global has paid £7 million ($10.8 million) for a 14% stake in London-based Bigballs Media, the parent of YouTube soccer channel Copa90.

The deal values Bigballs, which was founded in 2006, at £50 million ($76.8 million), and gives Liberty Global the option to up its stake in six months’ time, the Financial Times reported Monday.

Rather than focusing on the game of soccer itself, Copa90 focuses on the sport’s fans. The channel has been operating for three years and has a strong following in the 16-24 demo, among its 2.3 million subscribers, who watch an average of 37 minutes of the channel’s content a week, according to Bigballs.

Earlier this year, Copa90 bought KICKTV, the largest soccer fan channel in North America from Major League Soccer to create YouTube’s largest soccer network.

Among Bigballs’ original content is comedy drama “You, Me and the Apocalypse,” which airs on U.K. pay TV service Sky and NBC. The cross-platform series, which is a co-production with Working Title TV, poses the question: What would you do, if there were only 34 days left to live?

Bigballs also produced “Kate Modern,” which was, it claimed, the world’s first drama made for a social network. It launched on Bebo in 2007, and racked up more than 67 million views in two seasons.

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