Written by 7:17 pm Entrepreneurship

A Successful Broadcaster: Acun Ilıcalı

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?

What would you do if you lost the most important people in your life an early age, how different would you feel after all? “After all, it’s just life.” Acun Ilıcalı said. Acun is one of the most recognized and most trusted people in Türkiye, according to local research. As a failed man in university, he somehow managed to survive mental breakdowns and marriages. Let’s dig into this Turkish broadcaster, TV producer, entrepreneur, and businessman’s life!

Acun Ilıcalı is a Turkish entrepreneur, broadcaster, television personality, international producer, and media magnate. Ilıcalı established the ACUNMEDYA Group, which runs the streaming service “Exxen,” and owns the TV channels TV8 and TV8.5. Additionally, he is the owner of the Hull City AFC football club, which competes in England’s EFL Championship League, the second tier of English football.

Where is Acun Ilıcalı from?

Acun Ilıcalı was born in Edirne on May 29, 1969, to a family originating from the Aziziye district of Erzurum, Türkiye. His mother’s name is İlknur, and she served as the provincial director of cooperatives. His father’s name is Ergün, and he worked as a contractor. Acun has an older brother named Ömer Cenker Ilıcalı. He started school at the age of 5, motivated by his jealousy of his older brother attending school. For this reason, he always perceived school as a game.

He completed his primary and secondary education at Edirne İstiklâl Primary School. At the age of 10, he enrolled in Kadıköy Anatolian High School. He moved to Istanbul to live with his grandmother for his studies. Being away from his family, he struggled academically. Later, his mother was transferred to Izmit, prompting his family to relocate to Istanbul.

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?
Acun Ilıcalı, his brother and their parents

During high school, due to his lack of interest in studies, he was often confined to his room to focus on his work. During these times, he created a league with the letters from his books and made them play matches. He was admitted to Istanbul University’s English Language Teaching Department, where he spent 7 years but could not complete his degree. He lost both his grandmother and grandfather in a traffic accident.

He got married at the age of 19. He mentioned that after his marriage, his friends frequently gathered at his house. On one occasion, the police raided his house while his friends were present, but they left after seeing everyone playing. He had a daughter during his first marriage. Since both he and his wife were students, Acun’s father supported them financially.

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?
Acun Ilıcalı and Seda Başbuğ

He recounted that he spent the apartment fees his father gave, leading to a discarded foreclosure notice. One day, while watching television, the door opened, and the confiscation officers entered, took the television, and left. Interestingly, the person they handed the television to was his team’s goalkeeper, who returned the TV an hour later.

One day, his parents took his daughter and set out for Bodrum. In the evening, while Ergün Ilıcalı was calmly overtaking a convoy in Balıkesir, they suddenly encountered a vehicle traveling at (112 mph)180 km/h, resulting in a head-on collision. Tragically, both Ergün and İlknur Ilıcalı died in the accident, and Acun Ilıcalı’s daughter suffered fractures in 18 different places on her body in 1990.

Following his parents’ death, Acun Ilıcalı was deeply traumatized, confined himself to his house for a year, and eventually divorced his wife. In 1994, he experienced a severe motorcycle accident on Bagdat Street in Istanbul, resulting in a broken left arm and the loss of his friend who was sitting behind him. After a surgery requiring 36 stitches, a platinum plate was placed in his left arm.

He exhausted what remained of his parents’ inheritance within two years. In 1995, he opened a jeans shop on Bağdat Street but failed shortly after. He mentioned that he had no money at that time, but thanks to his friends, he did not feel the financial strain. While staying with his university friend Esat, he noticed the Show TV building on the way to the airport. Esat accompanied him.

How did Acun Ilıcalı find himself in the media?

In 1996, upon learning that his childhood friend Göktuğ Sevinçli was working in the sports department of Show TV, he called him and suggested, “Let’s come with Esat too,” to which Göktuğ Sevinçli replied, “Come, it’s great here,” and they visited İrfan Şahin.

İrfan Şahin introduced them to İlker Yasin, the sports director at the time. During their conversation, İlker Yasin realized that Acun Ilıcalı and his friend were very knowledgeable about football. He invited them to work at Show TV, and thus Acun Ilıcalı began his career as an intern. Despite being a Fenerbahçe fan, he worked as a Beşiktaş reporter.

He launched his television career as a Beşiktaş correspondent on Show TV. In 2002, he started producing and hosting a travel-entertainment TV program called “Acun Firarda.” Cameramen Feridun, Çaykun Ertan, and Esat Yöntunç assisted him in the program, and Şebnem Schaefer joined for the fashion segment. The program ended in 2006. In the same year, he founded “Acun Medya.”

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?

Between 2004 and 2006, he participated in the horror-thriller TV program “Fear Factor.” From 2007 to 2010, he participated in the competitive TV show “Var mısın, Yok musun(Are you in or out)?” In 2006, he produced and hosted the competitive TV program “Survivor Türkiye.” Between 2007 and 2008, he produced the current content TV program “Yoksa bir Rüya mı?(Or is it a dream?)” and from 2008 to 2014, he produced the singing competition Söyle Söyleyebilirsen(Say if you can).”

In 2009, he took part in the football TV program “Devler Ligi (Giants League)” and the talent competition “Talent You Are Türkiye.” From 2010 to 2011, he participated in the dance competition “Yok Böyle Dans (No Such Dance).” In 2011, he produced and hosted the singing competition “O Ses Türkiye. (The Voice)

Acun focused on his own projects

He created the portal website “Acunn.com” with his team. In 2013, he left Show TV and transitioned to Star TV. That same year, he began producing the television program “3 Adam (3 Men),” founded the clothing-related website “Sekiz.com” with his team, acquired a 40% stake in the television channel “MNG Shop” (now known as Shop90), and launched the brand “Tv8” in partnership with Doğuş Publishing Group, where he acquired a 70% ownership.

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?

In 2014, he departed from Star TV and appeared in “Ninja Warrior Turkey,” “Para Bende (I Have the Money),” “Hülya Avşar Show,” “Arda’nın Mutfağı (Arda’s Kitchen),” “Aileler Yarışıyor “(Families Compete)” ,”Ver Fırına,” “Kel Alaka,” “Akademi,” and “Utopia.” In 2015, he produced the television shows “Rising Star Türkiye” and “That’s My Style.” In 2016, he began producing the competition program “Here’s My Style Celebrities.” In 2008, he became one of Turkey’s top taxpayers for the first time. He became a tax record holder at the age of 36.

By accruing 2,836,191 in income taxes in 2011, he ranked 62nd on Turkey’s income tax list. He performed stand-up shows at universities across Turkey and in various parts of Anatolia, where he humorously recounted his career experiences. As of October 7, 2016, the television channel Shop90 was closed, and the sports channel TV8.5 began broadcasting.

Acun Ilıcalı’s Private Life

He married Seda Başbuğ in 1988 and had a daughter named Banu from this marriage. He separated from Seda Başbuğ in 1993. With the paid military service law enacted in 1999, he completed his 30-day military service in 2000 by paying 5,000 German marks. In 2003, he married Zeynep Yılmaz, and from this marriage, he had two daughters named Yasemin and Leyla.

Who is Acun Ilıcalı?

It was rumored that he had a relationship with Şeyma Subaşı in 2010. He had a daughter named Melisa from his extramarital affair with Şeyma Subaşı in 2013. He divorced his wife Zeynep Yılmaz in a single session by mutual agreement on July 12, 2016, and married Şeyma Subaşı in a ceremony attended by 250 people in Marseille, France, on September 18, 2017.

Acun Ilıcalı and Şeyma Subaşı divorced by mutual agreement on November 26, 2018.

Acun comments on his Success

Is the secret simply being hardworking? It’s a mystery. However, in one of his speeches, he says that ‘what sets those who achieve success apart from the hardworking ones is their willingness to take risks, their persistence, and their consistency.’ This persistence is not about being competitive or greedy. It’s a life built entirely on not giving up. So, as we’ve all been through Acun Ilıcalı’s life, would you ever give up if you were in his shoes? Thank you for reading us.

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