International recognition is more important than ever for leagues and clubs. And while the Bundesliga has already built a great reputation across the globe, not least due to its “Football As It’s Meant To Be“-theme, awareness can still be augmented, especially in Social Media. Thus, the Bundesliga partners with digital media outlet and agency 433. This special cooperation is bound to use 433’s extremely successful Social Media channels to promote topics and content from the Bundesliga in a digitised world, where users often turn their attentions to different sources. 433 will help give fans more insight and offer behind-the-scenes material, starting during pre-season already.
433 to augment digital Bundesliga attraction
Various news outlets, including SportBusiness Media, have reported on the German Football League’s (DFL’s) partnership with digital media agency 433. This very partnership was struck to strengthen the Bundesliga’s appeal throughout Social Media as 433 and the DFL will create and share content for the different platforms. Not only will highlights and easy-to-digest scenes from games or interviews be shared, but footage from the off-season is bound to be put on the channels as well. Therefore it’s a good time to announce the partnership just now that the season is ending.
The Bundesliga is already a league with numerous followers, the channel Bundesliga_en on Instagram counts 3,4 million followers, on Twitter it’s 2,4 million for the Bundesliga channel and another 839.00 for Bundesliga_en. But to partner with 433 is a shrewd move indeed. On Twitter they may only have a mere 261.000 followers, but on Instagram they do have 20,6 million. What’s more important is that their content yields incredible engagement rates. A study by Axios and Crowdtangle from February underlines that.
The full-service digital and Social Media agency is focused on football and already helps partners like Manchester City, The MLS and LAFC, the FA, FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, Arsenal, AC Milan and many more with digital engagement strategies. As one of the fastest-growing sports communities worldwide, the company from the Netherlands is now at the Bundesliga’s side to spread their storytelling even more and wider. The Bundesliga’s international chief executive, Robert Klein, said:
It’s important that, whilst the Bundesliga is the best attended football league in the world, we work with 433 to expand our storytelling around ‘Football As It’s Meant To Be’ so that we can bring even more fans closer to the game here in Germany. With the channels 433 use and style of content they share, together we will increase social engagement in the league, particularly with younger fans who are our future.
The style of content differs
It is the unique style of content, as quoted by Klein, that makes 433 so engaging. Over 37 million followers on the different channels, from Facebook to TikTok, are proof of that. By their own account, 433 grow by ten to twenty thousand followers a day and generate around four billion impressions in digital media per month. Their main hashtag, #433, like their name a reminiscence to probably the most used tactical formation these days, is easy to remember and used widely. Plus, 433 content is definitely different from the official channels of the Bundesliga, the MLS or what have you. It’s far more divergent, often more funny and engaging or just more creative and interactive.
Moreover, it’s always very much up to date, which in a time of digital content piece staccato is proving to be more important than ever before.
433 will help the Bundesliga bring more content to countries in Asia, South America or anywhere in the world, as they aim to make the league’s brand more attractive in the global competition. For the agency, the partnership with the DFL is great news, too, as it enables them to use even more content regarding players that are very popular internationally, like Reus and Sancho, Neuer and Coman or maybe even Timo Werner. Floris Weisz from 433, chief commercial officer, comments:
The opportunity to work with the world’s most entertaining league is really exciting for us. With the highest number of goals, fierce competition throughout the season, unique fan culture, electric stadium atmospheres and a host of world-class players and rising stars, this is golden content for our channels.
So, the Bundesliga will probably make up some ground in the Social Media universe, because the 433 content machine is certainly only going to keep its momentum.
Agencies like 433 will likely get even more partnership deals over the line in time, for every league or association behind it and every club has to mastermind and optimise their digital strategies – and the entities that already have a combined and engaging fellowship will profit. In the long term, the partners will be able to reap the rewards as well. The Bundesliga is on its way to fight La Liga and the Premier League to become the most sought-after football league in the world; and you can only get there via Social Media and a lot of content, 24/7, these days.
User Spend in DAZN App Grows 9.5 Times Year-over-Year
The DAZN app was the top grossing sports app in the world in May 2019. More importantly for the OTT platform, user spend grew to 11.5 million US dollars.
DAZN has developed into the go to-provider of sports for many a fan. The OTT service is easy to access and offers a wide range of sports in a growing global network. In May 2019, the DAZN app was the top grossing sports app in the whole world, edging out ESPN or Tencent Sports, for instance. Revenue had grown 9.5 times in comparison to May 2018. And the expansion to more countries is only gathering pace.
DAZN is driving up revenue
Ever since the OTT service DAZN entered the sports media stage, it was going to become big, since it disrupted traditional sports coverage and operated contemporarily. For the ability to access their sports package, which you can get for 9.99 Euro a month and which you can unsubscribe from on a monthly basis, is important for the mobile-driven user. That’s why the reception via the app is essential for DAZN, which is owned by the Perform Group. Now, data from Sensor Tower show how much that very app has risen in prominence – and how valuable such a development is for DAZN. According to Sensor Tower, DAZN has been the top grossing sports app, globally, in May 2019 in App Store and Google Play Store revenue. They’ve put ESPN, MLB At Bat, NBA, onX Hunt etc. in their places.
The App Store from Apple says it’s the number three app in sports, while the Google Play Store states that there are more than five million downloads. DAZN was able to generate close to 11.5 million US dollars in user spending, which is massive and even more impressive looking at the 4.7 million amassed by second-placed ESPN. Compared to May 2018, it represents a growth of 9.5 times for DAZN. The whole Perform Group’s revenue, by the way, had grown to 93 million US dollars for the three months ended 31 March 2019. Interestingly, 37 per cent of the DAZN app revenue came from the US, with also 6.5 percent being generated in Japan. Whilst DAZN has been present in Japan since 2016, the service only launched in the US – with a focus on boxing – last year.
Regarding the revenue numbers, it has been a big success on mobile. And if 6.5 per cent of that revenue come from Japan, the popularity there must be big as well. DAZN are actually the host of the J-League, showing all the games. And indeed, DAZN is kind of a different offer in every market, as trailers tend to show.
New markets, more income
In the last year, DAZN has ramped up their market reach. Currently, they operate in nine markets, with Spain and Brazil the last newcomers. In February, the service announced that the offering was available for just 4.99 Euro in Spain. Apart from a diverse sports offering, ranging from football to MotoGP, fans and viewers will be offered original content, created in cooperation with Neymar Jr. and José Mourinho. Veronica Diquattro, EVP, Southern Europe, DAZN, said:
This is just the start of our journey so our compelling price point reflects that. We will continue to build our portfolio of sports and when we add significant premium content fans should expect that to be reflected in our price, whilst always maintaining our approach of making sport more affordable and accessible. DAZN continues to work with the biggest stars, so I’m also delighted to announce two new ambassadors, megastars of sport: Neymar Jr. and José Mourinho who will also feature in original content on the platform. This is a euphoric moment and we can’t wait to get started.
Mourinho himself, a loved and loathed figure in the football world, commented:
DAZN is giving football fans a new way to enjoy the sport and players they love. Their style of live football coverage is different from what I’ve experienced before. I like their authenticity and pushing the boundaries of sports broadcasting. I’m excited to join DAZN as a global ambassador and connect with football fans around the world with this platform.
All those existing markets, and especially the new ones, will help DAZN further grow revenue. Not least because they give those viewers across the world, who often watch via the app on their smartphone or any other mobile device, always more access to fascinating sports. For example, the MLS, which is generating more attention, due to star players like Zlatan or old heroes like Schweinsteiger and Rooney, will be shown exclusively on DAZN in five markets, including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Spain, while it will be shown in Brazil, too, albeit non-exclusively from 2019 to 2022. The service is that prominent, for it often gets important rights for special games such as last month’s Copa del Rey final. And the Champions League lures many viewers as well, of course.
Something DAZN also has to offer, since the end of April 2019, is their global live sports content distribution service for rights holders, called DAZN CONNECT. With that service, DAZN offers clients the opportunity to acquire and distribute the sports they need for their own offering. Gareth Rees, SVP Business Development, said:
We now have more sports content on our network than anyone else in the industry. Combine this with our technological innovation and with customer satisfaction at the core of our service, DAZN CONNECT is well positioned to take some big steps in the coming months. Driven by the demands of sports broadcasting and fans’ viewing habits, DAZN CONNECT offers a faster, more intelligent way of receiving live sport. DAZN CONNECT is built in the cloud to deliver the lowest latency, highest quality and the most secure sports distribution service. With an innovative contribution service, clients can supply live sports back onto the DAZN network, so local coverage can be made available globally, offering up further exposure and coverage for rights owners.
The cloud-native and AWS-integrated DAZN CONNECT is another step, meaning we will only see more content being brought to us by DAZN, in one way or another, in the near future. And their very own app is only going to gain even more revenue, which will probably show, when new statistics are out. Their motto “We’ve got more” is certainly not a mere empty shell for branding.
Dortmund Documentary on Amazon Prime Will Augment BVB Support
Amazon Prime will show a 4-part documentary about Borussia Dortmund’s bittersweet 2018/19 season, which is great for the BVB. And a sign of things to come.
Not only football fans, but also people who like a good sports documentary, have watched All Or Nothing on Amazon Prime, when it focused Manchester City’s 2018 title winning season. Some sports enthusiasts fell in love with the extraordinary Sunderland ’Til I Die series on Netflix. A lot of these formats have entered the main streaming services now. In August, fans around the world will be able to have a look behind the scenes at Borussia Dortmund. Their recently ended season, in which they finished runners-up in the Bundesliga, will be turned into a documentary on Amazon Prime. The format will surely attract viewers aplenty, while the club does earn some extra money for allowing Prime Video such thorough access.
Another Amazon football documentary
The club announced the partnership with Amazon Prime, which will give fans a very special, more intimate look at the proceedings around the Westfalenstadion. Award-winning director Aljoscha Pause, who also created Being Mario Götze, is responsible for the series, which will be shown exclusively on Amazon Prime, starting 9th August. So, the starting date is kind of great marketing for the BVB, but for the Bundesliga as well, as it starts shortly afterwards. Carsten Cramer, Dortmund’s managing director, said:
Pause has once again demonstrated his incredible filmmaking talent and has succeeded not only in discreetly producing a fascinating insight into the everyday goings on at a football club, but also in showing BVB how it really is.
Since the documentary is then available in over 200 countries and territories, the awareness for the vice champions and their unique club environment will be boosted, of course. Furthermore, viewers might be persuaded to track Dortmund’s development in the competitions they’re in, especially the Champions League. Interactions with content from Borussia Dortmund could grow further, because the documentary is so different from the Social Media content and gives people, at the same time, an incentive to learn more about the club and current events.
The BVB captain Marco Reus commented:
Pause and his team very quickly felt like part of our squad as we celebrated victories and processed defeats together. Although ultimately we just missed out on our dream of winning the German championship, I’m still very much looking forward to the finished documentary.
That sounds a bit like it compares to the movie Deutschland. Ein Sommermärchen, for which Sönke Wortmann accompanied the German national team during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. But this Borussia Dormund documentary is more than just another series or movie about football. For Amazon, it’s a good way to generate or keep even more viewers. That’s why they pay Dortmund a few million Euro (the number hasn’t been disclosed, apparently it’s five million Euro). For the BVB it’s part of a bigger picture. The internationalisation strategy, for which the club opened a TikTok account for example, gathers more momentum with such partnerships. And the fans, especially the younger ones, need content on all platforms to get all the relevant – and at times irrelevant, but fun – content they want.
While the developments for one of Germany’s and Europe’s most followed and appreciated clubs off the pitch look increasingly rosy, their quest for titles next season is probably off to a good start. Because Dortmund have already brought in the likes of Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz and Julian Brandt in the space of two days.
More documentaries are surely in the pipeline
Borussia Dortmund only announced the documentary on Amazon Prime last week, but the film team obviously worked with them from the start of the season. And after the success of All Or Nothing (Manchester City) it seems only natural that Amazon invests more and more in such football documentaries. Because the viewership for these is very big across the globe. Plus, the concept is relatively simple, whereas a brilliant execution is not, of course. Aljoscha Pause’s documentary Trainer! is available on Netflix, where you can also find the movie Bobby Robson. More than a Manager, for instance. The new Amazon documentary featuring Borussia Dormund will focus even more on the players’ private perceptions or even lives and therefore take into account the importance of very intimate and individual perspectives. Bred in Social Media, the demand for such content will shape the documentaries – that are surely coming and possibly already in place. And for some clubs, who may not have the international recognition of the BVB, those series can be a source for revenue, new followers and real supporters or at least the start of a special media entity. Let’s see what else will come to our screens via the most common streaming services.
Fußball im Zeitalter der neuen Medien – HypedBy zeigt wie es geht
Der Konsum von Fußballinhalten verändert sich nachhaltig. Mithilfe der sozialen Medien erreichen Unternehmen wie HypedBy schon heute millionen Menschen. [sponsored]
Instagram ist aus dem alltäglichen Leben vieler junger Menschen nicht mehr wegzudenken und nimmt deshalb auch eine immer größere Rolle in der Markenkommunikation, besonders für Unternehmen, die sich im Sport engagieren, ein. So gewinnt zum Beispiel der einzelne Spieler immer mehr an Bedeutung und wird über Instagram zum Influencer mit Millionenreichweite für seine Sponsoren. Unter den Top 10 Influencern Deutschlands befinden sich derzeit 7 Fußballspieler. Auf Platz 1 liegt dabei Toni Kroos mit insgesamt über 20 Mio. Followern.
Doch auch Sportmedien wie der Kicker oder Sky setzen mittlerweile verstärkt auf Instagram und bespielen ihre Kanäle in Sachen Reichweite und Interaktionsraten sehr erfolgreich. Instagram „erfolgreich nutzen“ bedeutet dabei vor allem die neuen Möglichkeiten zu nutzen, die die Plattform im Vergleich zu konventionellen Medien bietet. Direkte Interaktion mit dem User, Berichterstattung und Meinungsaustausch in Echtzeit und die Möglichkeit, Spielerstars hautnah und als reale Menschen zu präsentieren, gehören dazu. Seine Zielgruppe genau zu kennen, zu verstehen und gezielt mit den richtigen Inhalten und Formaten anzusprechen ist dabei Grundvoraussetzung.
Einen kleinen Einblick, wie Fußball auf Instagram funktionieren kann, gibt auch die HypedBy GmbH, ein auf Social Media basiertes Medienhaus aus München. Mit dem Instagram-Kanal „Fußballhelden“ erreicht HypedBy über 260.000 Abonnenten und erzielt dabei eine Interaktionsrate von über 6%. Dies macht Fußballhelden zu einem der aktuell angesagtesten fußballbasierten Instagramaccounts für junge Fußballfans im Alter von 15-30 Jahren.
Interaktionen als Erfolgsindikator
Die Interaktionsrate stellt bei der Bewertung des Erfolgs von Instagram einen so wichtigen Faktor dar, weil gerade die Interaktion mit und zwischen den Usern diese Plattform von anderen abgrenzt. Facebook und Twitter weisen beispielsweise durchschnittliche Raten von unter 0,1% auf, wohingegen Instagram im Durchschnitt bei ca. 1,6% liegt.
„Interaktionen sind extrem wichtig, da sie ausschlaggebend für die organische Reichweite und somit den Erfolg eines Kanals sind. So haben wir zum Beispiel bewusst bestimmte interaktionsstarke Formate kreiert, die den Austausch der User untereinander wie auch mit uns fördern. Dadurch wissen wir, welche Fußballthemen die User bewegen und was sie zum Mitmachen und Kommunizieren animiert.“HypedBy
Für hohe Interaktionsraten gibt es natürlich keine Garantien. Allerdings lässt sich mit etwas Methodik und unter Beachtung einiger Grundregeln vieles bewirken. Grundsätzlich gilt, dass Inhalte gut funktionieren, wenn sie Interaktionen hervorrufen, aktuelle und relevante Themen aufgreifen und „snackable“ dargeboten werden. Zudem geht der Trend seit einiger Zeit vermehrt zu Bewegtbildinhalten.
Die richtigen Formate sind entscheidend
Inhalte möglichst nah am Live-Geschehen veröffentlichen zu können ist ein weiterer Mehrwert der Plattform. Denn die Möglichkeit des direkten Austausches mit anderen Usern ist das, was die jungen Abonnenten besonders schätzen. Und so wird, während man das Spiel zu Hause im Wohnzimmer schaut, fleißig kommentiert und seine Meinung kundgetan.
Um die Interaktionen hochzuhalten und die Community in der spielfreien Zeit fortlaufend zu unterhalten, setzen die Fussballhelden voll und ganz auf modernes Infotainment. So werden die tagesaktuellen News oder interessante Statistiken zumeist nicht einfach stupide wiedergegeben, sondern in spannende Quizformate, Umfragen oder Mini Games, die als Instagram Story verpackt werden, veröffentlicht. Die Entwicklung eigener uniquer Formate mit hohem Wiedererkennungswert steht dabei besonders im Fokus.
Ein erfolgreiches Formatbeispiel der Fussballhelden ist „Beat the Pro“. Dabei kann die Community vor jedem Spieltag gegen einen Bundesligaspieler antreten und die Spielergebnisse eines Spieltages tippen. Zu gewinnen gibt es dann beispielsweise ein signiertes Trikot oder Fussballschuhe des Spielers. Ein etwas aufwendigeres und moderiertes Format ist die „Heldenstory“, bei der der Fußballhelden-Moderator, Marsi, Sportler besucht und sie in einem entspannten Alltagsumfeld ein paar Anekdoten aus dem Leben erzählen lässt. Beide Formate schaffen es, nicht nur den Spieler als Menschen näher zu bringen, sondern aktivieren auch die User und rufen Interaktionen hervor.
Ein passioniertes Team, mit Instagram mitgewachsen
Ein Grund weshalb die „Fußballhelden“ erste Erfolge erzielen konnten und der Kanal gerade dabei ist, sich als Newcomer im Sportmedienmarkt einen Namen zu machen, sind die Menschen dahinter. Viele der zwischen 20 und 30 Jahre alten Teammitglieder sind selbst begeisterte Instagram-User, die die Themenwelten, in denen sie sich täglich bewegen, lieben und leben. Dadurch entsteht ein intuitives Verständnis für die Zielgruppe, ihr Verhalten und ihre Präferenzen, in Bezug auf Themen und Inhalte.
„Auch bringt unser Team eine große Begeisterung und Passion für Instagram mit, sie atmen Instagram. Das ist neben dem Interagieren und Analysieren ein weiterer Grund, warum wir unsere Follower so gut verstehen.“HypedBy
Beim Blick in die Zukunft ist HypedBy auch für neue Trends offen, sieht aber das Potenzial von Instagram noch lange nicht ausgeschöpft. Die für Werbetreibende so wichtigen Millenials werden weiterhin auf Instagram unterwegs sein, doch neue interessante Plattformen wie TikTok drängen langsam in das Bewusstsein der Öffentlichkeit. Wir dürfen gespannt sein, welche neuen Fußballinhalte in den nächsten Jahren konsumiert werden.
Das im September 2017 gegründete Medienhaus HypedBy ist einer der führenden Betreiber von Instagram-Kanälen in Deutschland. Über die Themenfelder Sports, Motor, Youth, Food und Pets erreicht HypedBy heute bereits über 12 Millionen junge, mobile deutschsprachige Follower. Mit einer eigenen Videoproduktion und kompetenter Content-Erstellung und Vermarktung deckt HypedBy die gesamte Wertschöpfung der Instagram-Kommunikation ab.
It’s a Women’s Game – Female Football Branding’s on the Rise
Football has long been and is still widely referred to as a sport for men. Yet, female football gets more attention for branding as well as a path into the spotlight; and rightly so.
Marketing and commercialisation have been attributed to the male football universe for the largest part. But as the women appear more and more during broadcasting, in Social Media campaigns and especially on the clubs’ and associations’ digital properties, the women’s football is given the opportunity to finally establish its very own power more widely than ever before. It’s about time to change perception, but also to dip into the hidden potentials that the unique female football has to offer. The DFB has launched a distinct kit for the German women to wear at the soon to begin World Cup, while the UEFA even started a campaign to strengthen the women’s game further. Broadcasters and OTT services turn their attentions to the game and partners are increasingly interested in taking part in this promising journey of growing the value of women’s football brand.
A great time for a diverse football experience – and off the pitch, too
The women’s World Cup in France starts 7 June and of course we do see more female football stars in digital media right now. Football has always been captured as a men’s sport, in the media and in the mindset of some. For sure, all the women’s competitions haven’t been there for so many decades – Manchester United for example only reinstated a women’s team last year. And while Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba or Cristiano Ronaldo earn incredible sums and the limelight, even the most outstanding female footballers are exposed to totally inapproriate behaviour. Like Ada Hegerberg, the absolute superstar playing for Olympique Lyon. After collecting the first Ballon D’Or for a woman in December 2018, moderator Martin Solveig infamously asked her if she could twerk.
It’s just that kind of impudence, bordering sexual harrassment, that is still undermining the value and growth of women’s football. Thankfully, there are more and more examples of the women’s teams being appreciated increasingly, especially in the media. A very recent reminder: Hegerberg scored a 16-minute hattrick in the Women’s Champions League final against the FC Barcelona to give Lyon a fourth successive title.
Not only does she have 255 goals in 254 games now – and Ada Hegerberg is still only 23 years old –, but she also has a collection of 5 league titles, 4 domestic cups and 4 Champions Leagues.
Hegerberg herself, though, stated that things don’t develop very quickly in women’s football. That’s why the UEFA launched a Time for Action strategy in order to augment appreciation for the women’s game. The initiative shall double the number of female players by 2024. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said:
Women’s football is the football of today. It is not the football of tomorrow. It is UEFA’s duty as European football’s governing body to empower the women’s game. So UEFA will put significant financial investment into the sport, underlining that it dares to aim high and make European football as great as it can be. The actions that we propose and commit to in 2019 will lead to a greater, more professional and more prosperous game by 2024. Time for action.
UEFA’s head of women’s football, Nadine Kessler, thinks that football is more than just sports and therefore has to open up for women even more, so that cultural changes are embraced as well:
Women’s football is football, and football has a huge ability to impact beyond the field of play and break down cultural and social barriers.
The DFB recently launched the new kits for the German women’s team, which are quite popular by now.
But it’s clear to see that the women’s team isn’t quite valued the same as the men’s. The shirt itself is only available in women’s tailoring at Adidas – because demand normally is so small, as the manufacturer told Die WELT. Therefore, men don’t have the chance to sport the nice kit, unless they wear the version aligned to female proportions. And maybe the women’s national teams only appear more in our sports media environment due to the imminent World Cup. The Commerzbank, partner for the DFB’s female team, provocatively advertises the team by incorporating prejudices and the rather unknown status of the female players.
More sponsoring and partner deals for women – but there’s a huge pay gap
It is not all about the World Cup, though. The recent Women’s Champions LEague final, for example, was streamed live in the US by the OTT service B/R Live for the very first time, as SportsPro Media report. The service also posted behind-the-scenes content on Instagram in the stories during the run-up to the game.
In other news, the BBC have extended a deal to show the Women’s FA Cup in until the 2024/25 season. Highlight reels and short form videos will be available over various BBC digital platforms as the broadcaster also has an initiative in place, called ‘Change The Game’. The BBC will also develop podcasts and documentaries focusing on women’s sports more often. And, as the BBC reported a few months back, Barclays, famously the title sponsors for the men’s Premier League in England, will become title sponsors for the women’s league, too. That sponsorship will be worth close to 10 million pounds – miles behind sponsorhip money in the men’s domain. It’s still a step in the right direction, thinks the FA’s director of the women’s professional game, Kelly Simmons:
It’s a real landmark moment in the development of the women’s game. We obviously want to get more fans and more revenue behind the game, making sure it’s secure and sustainable for the future. But also the investment in schools makes sure lots of girls get the chance to play football, which is our pipeline for the future.
And yes, sponsoring is becoming more important for the women’s teams as brands start to realise how important that very universe could be for them. For example, Virgin Media, sleeve sponsors of the FC Southampton, now sponsor the their respective women’s team as well, for the very first time. Marieanne Spacey-Cale, Southampton’s Head of Girls’ and Women’s Football, commented on the website:
It’s fantastic that such a prestigious brand as Virgin Media has decided to make this commitment to the Women’s team.
Meanwhile, in the US Ticketmaster has extended a deal with the United States Soccer Federation that provides ticketing for the men’s and the women’s teams. Women’s football might have more popularity in the US. But it’s also quite favoured in Germany. Initiatives are needed to make it an alternative in more countries and markets. Media need to embrace it, because it does offer inspiration and a ways to possibly reach new audiences as well.
For now however, we can state that women’s football is still rated second-class, at least when it comes to money invested in it. Flyeralarm is becoming the Women’s Bundesliga’s title sponsor and is expected to pay 1,2 million Euro per year for that, earning the right to feature on the teams’ jerseys and in the stadiums, too. As a comparison, that amount of money is earned in the space of two to three weeks by Lionel Messi. The huge pay gap is clear to see. The Sun reports that Aga Hegerberg, closest to Messi right now in the women’s domain, earns a mere 300.000 pounds a year. Average wages for OL’s female players are believed to be at around 145.000 pounds a year – and they’re Europe’s finest. That alone calls for change in the perception of football. Because the sport is not only men’s football. For every Messi there is a Hegerberg, for every Cristiano Ronaldo there is a Dzsenifer Marozsán. There should be heroines as well as heroes; young fans should be made aware of both and it’s on the media and on brands to embrace this as an opportunity. Thus, they can even augment revenues and reach and eventually make women’s football popular enough to grant the players more perspectives and better wages. The current status quo is very much explainable, no question about that. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t change. Whoever realises the underlying potential will be frontrunners in a very promising environment.
Coppa Italia Attendees Can Parallel-Watch the Game on their Phones from Various Angles
Second screening is quite common these days, but watching a game live in the stadium and simultaneously monitoring proceedings through altered perspectives in the app is indeed a whole new experience for fans. Infront’s new Fan+ service enables supporters to do just that and experience and relive the action from the Coppa Italia at the Stadio Olimpico and on their connected mobile devices at the same time. A few clubs from the Serie A had already successfully tested this intriguing opportunity.
The dawn of widespread in-stadium streaming?
They’ve had it in Serie A with Genoa, Sampdoria and Udinese offering their fans an in-app experience inside the stadium, that enables them to watch the live action – they’re actually there for – on their mobile devices and in various angles. Futhermore, autographs from favourite players can be snatched, other video highlights, news or statistics concerning the game can be accessed. The Infront Fan+ app debuted in December, when Sampdoria Genoa met Bologna. From then on, fans could also order food and drinks from their seats via the app and collect it, when it’s ready.
With 16 different angles including a spiderweb cam, fans can become directors while watching the game live as well. Thereby, the second screening moment known from home is transferred to the stadium.
This particular app experience will now be available for the Italian cup final on May 15th, the Coppa Italia. Contested in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Atalanta Bergamo will meet Lazio Rome in a final without the biggest names of Italian football. Although Lazio did win the cup six years ago and ten years back as well.
As SportsPro Media report, the Fan+ app will work for that special game. The Lega Serie A chief executive, Luigi De Siervo, commented:
We are excited about the launch of the new app dedicated to the final because it will allow all the fans present at the stadium to live an exclusive and personalised experience. Mobile applications are now increasingly common in everyday life, the real challenge is to be able to provide all enthusiasts with an engaging service that can improve the fan experience.
The improvement of the fan experience is clear to see, when you look at what the app offers, providing supporters with data and insights regarding the pitch-side action straight away.
We are pleased to have concluded this partnership with Lega Serie A for the TIM Cup Final, because it represents an important step in the continuous research and creation of services that improve interaction with the fans at the stadium. We have already successfully launched the Fan+ model with Genoa, Sampdoria and Udinese, and I am sure that this solution can lead Infront to strengthen its role as digital partner of clubs, leagues and federations,
adds Jean Thomas Sauerwein, managing director of Infront Italy.
So, attendees of the cup final in Italy have now got the big chance to put that Fan+ app to the acid test. If it proves successful over time, it will surely be rolled out or made available for many other clubs or competitions, too. For the ability to rerun just seen – or maybe missed – parts of the game is a welcome asset for the digitally engaged or tech-savvy fans. Is it strange, that the supporters in the stadium could have their attention split between the pitch and their mobile devices? Oh yes; but probably that is the case more often now anyway. Digital enhancements don’t stop at the stadium’s entry gates. That’s why Fan+ is only the start of a more disruptive, half digital half real life local football experience. Let’s see how it works at the Coppa Italia – and what is to follow.
Christian Fuchs to Open eSports Arena in New York
Leicester City and former Austria player Christian Fuchs has already introduced his own eSports brand and follows it up with a US-based eSports arena.
He famously won the Premier League in a miracle season with Leicester City, now the Austrian Christian Fuchs is turning his attention to eSports. After initiating his NoFuchsGiven eSports academy, he has his focus set on establishing an eSports arena in New York City. It’s exciting times that show just how close professional football and eSports are connected these days.
Christian Fuchs, a founder or academies
His career as a professional football player has had its highs and lows. Christian Fuchs is still playing for Leicester City in the English Premier League, which he won with his club in 2016.
He used to play in the Bundesliga as well, for Schalke 04 or Mainz 05 and was Austria’s captain for five years. Right now, the 33 year-old isn’t getting a lot of game time in England. But offside the British football pitches, he has made his mark, too. In 2014, Fuchs founded the Fox Soccer Academy, which represents over 200 youth soccer players internationally. It operates in the US, England and Austria and is one of Fuchs’ projects for the development of future sports talent. But it is not his only one.
Christian Fuchs also founded the NoFuchsGiven eSports academy in order to get into the rapidly growing eSports industry. Apparently, he got interested after seeing his son watch various FIFA streams on Twitch. That’s what Steve McCaskill reported on Forbes. The academy now has twelve players from six countries in its ranks. But Fuchs doesn’t seem content just being the founder of an eSports team becoming more and more successful.
The Premier League left back also wants to build an eSports arena in New York City. He shared those plans with the public at the SportsPro Live.
I will build an eSports arena in New York. I just recently purchased a sports complex,
Fuchs talked about a hotel attached to the arena, whilst the latter shall be holding about a thousand people. He is in talks with partners as he wants to use the complex to generate money with the creation of the eSports ground. But Fuchs is also convinced that this kind of sports is the future and will only lure more and more people to watch the virtual games together locally.
According to Deloitte, eSports will generate 1,3 billion Euro in 2020. And we will already have 454 million interested viewers worldwide in 2019, as of Statista. Some might be occasional viewers, but you can gain views and revenue from them as well.
Find more statistics at Statista
With the number of eSports fans and viewers only rising, it seems that Christian Fuchs has made the right call in building his own eSports arena in New York. For the US is, besides Asia, the biggest gaming and eSports market and Fuchs’ name, written into football folklore forever after being part of that miraculous Leicester City side from 2015/16, will only help his cause in terms of marketing. So, you might get the feeling the Fuchs eSports arena will not be the last of its kind as other current and former football stars could well jump on that powerful eSports train. The phenomenon offers a lot of potential. Sometimes building a place to showcase a wanted thing is just the right move to exploit its opportiunities.
Is Twitch Becoming a Go-to-Platform for Football? MLS Banks on its Digital Reach
The MLS has not only signed a deal with Twitch to stream the eMLS Cup, but now offers viewers the chance to view the Generation Adidas Cup. Is Twitch a future football platform, too?
DAZN is the OTT player of choice for a lot of people who want to watch football digitally. There are a lot of other options, but Twitch, actually known for streaming various content like eSports or even real time demonstrations and what have you, could soon be an important starting point for tech-savvy viewers to consume football or football-related content. For the MLS is teaming up with Twitch to show streams for their eMLS Cup as well as for the Generation Adidas Cup, where club academy teams meet each other. These are exmaples other brands might follow soon, since Twitch grows in importance for the digital media landscape by the day, it seems.
The MLS and Twitch team up
The streaming service has been bringing the Generation Adidas Cup to the audiences, a tournament of club academy teams from the MLS with tomorrow’s stars from North America participating. Eric Brunner, who is the head of business development and partnerships at Twitch’s sports division, said:
This agreement with MLS provides a new avenue for developing and growing an active community through interactive viewing. MLS is a forward-thinking brand that looks to provide innovative methods that allow their community to make meaningful connections on a global scale.
The MLS may have just over 10.000 followers on Twitch, where according to Business of Apps 15 million daily viewers and 2,2 million creators meet eacht other. But they are present there, while other leagues or clubs are not. And Twitch is growing in importance in the modern day digital marketing mix. Last year, 560 billion minutes of content were watched on the platform, up from only 72 billion in 2012.
As the US account for about 20 per cent of the global Twitch viewership market, using this channel is a shrewd move from the US football league. But since German had a 6,36 per cent share of this market in 2018 as well, which is a very good amount, the Bundesliga or its clubs could consider turning to switch, too. But what is in it, what does it offer compared to Facebook and Twitter, who also enable streaming?
Twitch is the gamers’ streaming service
First of all, Twitch is a channel for gamers. Whoever wants to watch gaming content, will turn to this platform, where especially Fornite or Apex Legends and Dota2 are popular. FIFA from EA Sports isn’t amongst the most viewed games, but it is still an impotant part of the whole ecosystem. That’s why the MLS shows the eMLS Cup via Twitch, its own eSports FIFA tournament.
Former MLS player Stephen Keel even has his own show on the MLS Twitch channel. So, mainly gaming fans or eSports fans, who appreciate FIFA or the eMLS, will come back to Twitch, for the users of the platform are generally quite loyal. But the MLS is thinking beyond just merging eSports with their own brand – that is something that long has happened, although not too many football entities have started to leverage the potentials of Twitch yet. Schalke 04 are one team, their team’s eSports games have been streamed since late 2017.
For the MLS, though, getting a stream of football games, albeit only youth games for now, on the channel is a step to put the streaming service’s abilities to provide football via this platform to the test. That even got professional eSports players watching – although they might be spending some time on Twitch anyway.
Still, eventually Twitch could become something of a valuable away ground for football associations. It’s certainly not their known playground, football used to be tied to TV so closely, now it has just made a transition to several OTT services. But people more and more get used to watching content via streams and young audiences even grow up using them to watch content. Jury’s out regarding the impact the streaming service will have for leagues or clubs that believe in it to get them more attention and viewers. Since gaming is fast becoming one of the modern days’ main hobbies or pastimes, trying to reach people on Twitch now might not be too much of a long shot. Rather, it seems to be a clever stroke in order to not only approach the eSports universe by forming teams, leagues and fitting merch, but also trying to immerse in the most prominent environment and take advantage of its various benefits. It might not be the obvious choice, but with a view to the future, turning to Twitch is well worth a try.
Blockchain Collectibles Gather Pace as Real Madrid and BVB Join SWAP
Fantastec’s blockchain-powered solution SWAP offers fans the chance to get digital collectibles like autographs or player cards. Now Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund join Arsenal.
As fans turn to their mobile devices ever so often, they are always looking for more interactive ways to get in touch with their beloved clubs. Some even like to collect club branded stuff – apart from the kits maybe –, which is why Panini’s sticker albums worked so well for so long. However, in the digital age, such passions are tranferred into digital spheres. And that’s why Fantastec offer their SWAP app to bring supporters exclusive video content, original autographs from their favourite players or collectible cards that can be exachanged. After Arsenal London, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid bank on the blockchain-supported app in order to grow in-app revenue and interactive fan engagement at the same time.
SWAP offers revenue and an interesting prospect for fans
Social Media and digital pioneers Arsenal were the first to sign up with Fantastec to appear in their SWAP app. Now we’ve got Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid following suit – and possibly many more clubs in the future. For this app, based on forward-thinking blockchain technology, does have the fitting mix of traditional football fans’ desires and modern clubs’ demands for both digital and economical growth. Speaking to SportsPro Media, Fantastec’s product development partner Simon Woolard said:
We have good connections and wide-ranging experience which has helped us build solid and valued relationships with clubs and organisations across the world.
For now, Fantastec SWAP only has the licences for these three clubs, albeit European heavyweights. While it’s still starting to grow, the app is quite unique. For it offers fans the chance to own, collect and trade items like player cards with authentic autopgraphs and – maybe more important today – exclusive video content. Possibly, it might bring a reminiscence of collecting physical player cards or stickers, which hasn’t been a thing of the past just yet.
Additionally, the secure blockchain technology behind it is there to make sure that there will be no data breach and no false content or what have you.
Our blockchain technology means complete trust in every swap. No more fake autographs or cards. Fair and fun!
The collectibles could start to offer real value for fans
What’s even more interesting for the fans is the fact that all these rather innovative collectibles could not only turn out to be an amusing pastime alone, but a rather valuable passion, too. Because, from the 2019/20 season on, any trophy you earn in the game, which can be competitive as well, can be turned into points which then again enable a player to redeem them for club store discounts or the opportunity to take part in unique club experiences or special SWAP competitions. Furthermore, these first collectible items from Real, Arsenal or Borussia Dortmund might become quite precious, since the represent the first version of these items and also offer players, who will be somewhere else in the future – which would therefore make their player cards more rare. Fantastec editor Lee Astley even thinks an Aaron Ramsey player card from SWAP could really be a worthwile asset, since he will be going to Juve come the end of the campaign.
Notably, the collectibles are not limited to men’s player cards. When Arsenal just launched their away shirt collection in SWAP, the women’s team also provided their presence.
There are always new features for the young SWAP app. And if Social Media experts like those from Arsenal or Real Madrid believe in the advantages of the app, a lot of other clubs might follow. The whole system of swapping collectibles often to gain more content and more exlusives as well as new player cards and autographs should ensure that there’ll be movement amongst the users everytime.
Right now the app has only over a thousand downloads in the Google Play Store and SWAP only a few hundred followers on Twitter for example. That could change, though, if more teams join the app and if those big clubs advertise the app and integrate it into their Social Media offering for fans. In-app purchases, which range from just over one to more than 30 Euro at the moment, would be another good revenue stream for the app and the licensing clubs. Only, it has to grow more prominent soon to become a success. The concept behind it is compelling, now it needs a nudge in the right direction. And then we’ll see whether one can transfer the collectible culture into a digital universe with blockchain technology. For the MLB, it has worked – the football culture, especially in Europe, is different and it will test the fans’ willingness to embrace football fandom on another level. Thankfully, a good app seems to tease if not all, still a whole lot of those milllions of fans.
BVB, FC Bayern, La Liga: TikTok’s the Way to Approach the Fans of Tomorrow
After Inter Milan and AS Monaco, German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund have entered the popular and ever growing app TikTok – which should expose them to many young audiences across the globe.
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing Social Media apps and is especially important to young audiences as well as those in different markets like the US and China. That’s why a number of clubs or leagues have decided to take the application by storm. Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich opened their accounts in the context of their recent “Klassiker“, while La Liga also bring funny videos from their world stars to the users’ smartphones. For the incredible growth of the app might just be a development too important to miss for any club that operates as a global brand these days.
TikTok takes on Instagram and Co.
Yes, TikTok is fairly different from Instagram or Snapchat, yet it fascinates a whole lot of people. There’s no denying that, as in the first quarter of 2019 alone, the app added 188 million new users – a 70 per cent growth compared to Q1 2018. That’s according to data from SensorTower. To date, TikTok has got over a billion downloads and generated over 80 million US dollar from in-app purchases. TikTok was only behind WhatsApp and the Messenger from Facebook when it comes to downloads of non-gaming apps in Q1 2019.
Also, it was top in terms of overall downloads in the US for Social Media apps in the same period. These data show how important the service has become to users, who just want to consume some funny, yet inspirational short-form video.
While Inter Milan have been one of the very fist clubs to appear on TikTok, other clubs have followed suit. Olympique de Marseille or AS Monaco have recently joined the app with their very own content.
And now the giants of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – after meeting in a decisive match a few weeks back –, will also vie on that Social Media platform. First, the BVB started their account with Marco Reus announcing their channel.
It has already over 80k followers despite not having too much content yet.
And only last Friday, the FC Bayern Munich officially informed about the launch of their very own account. Keeping up with the Motto “Make every second count“ – which is related to the content being no longer than 15 seconds on TikTok – Bayern are looking for even more engagement from fans. Not only in Germany, but in the US, in Asia and anywhere in the world really.
The club also notes which advantage the app might have compared to other Social Media services: it can be used without account once you scan a QR code to get started. That makes it easier for fans to get in touch. The German record champions and now once again league leaders have around 18k followers right now – but should gain more once they start to provide more content and more regularly as well.
La Liga see the potential as well
Another entity using the fascinating appeal of TikTok is the Spanish La Liga. Lately, they have started to offer fans content on the app as well.
And they seem to have understood how to bring up creative content in the short form.
La Liga promise the best short-form content about their various stars such as Messi, Griezmann or Modrić, but for now have only about 12k followers. With time and good content, though, these numbers might well rise.
Borussia Dortmund right now have overtaken Bayern Munich, AS Monaco, La Liga or even early adopters Inter Milan in terms of followers. Probably that is also down to Marco Reus’ prominence in Asia and other markets. The club from the Ruhr area are looking to show behind-the-scenes material as well as UGC and training footage.
Despite the rise of TikTok and its undoubted popularity, mainly amongst younger users, it’s not clear yet how important it really is to become for a brand’s and therefore also a football club’s marketing mix. If the provided content is not tailored for the audience or unauthentic, there possibly won’t be a lot of followers interested in the account. Furthermore, it is hard to see advantages beyond user engagement such as likes or shares. Maybe Instagram does offer a more mature marketing alternative, since all the shopping solutions are tied to the app; and probably a lot of clubs, who haven’t yet embraced the idea of going to TikTok, are not totally wrong about that. Still, club’s Social Media managers should give it a try, if they have a proper strategy to leverage the audience and its hunger for short-term content. And a lot of clubs are currently doing that. If the opportunity for brand collaborations arrives, the app might be of even more interest on an economical level, too.
TikTok isn’t wholly untroubled, though. The BBC just reported that the app fails to suspend accounts that send sexual messages to teens and children. So, the app, which has 500 million active users, could face more scrutiny. Apart from that, it definitely offers a route to the attention of audiences that possibly tend to have more of a distance to football as some older fans remeber it, as it used to be. That alone is valuable for clubs and a reason why so many are turning their attention to TikTok – which should only be a supplementary solution besides Instagram, Facebook, Weibo, Snapchat etc. Eventually, it comes down to the strategy a club is pursuing in Social Media as the jury’s out on how important TikTok is going to be in terms of generating real value like revenue. But attention happens to be a major factor for marketing strategies, which makes the TikTok adoption so promising; it should just not be the end of the road, because users and fans not only want content, but stories as well. That’s what keeps them interested and potentially has them spending on merch, tickets or even digital goods.
Sunderland, Juve, La Liga: Documentaries Keep Fans Watching
All Or Nothing and Sunderland ’Til I Die showed how much clubs and streaming services benefit from documentaries. Now La Liga focus North America’s fans.
Sometimes football fans just can’t decide, should they consume more streaming service content or rather go for a game of football or two. And if they are real football maniacs, what do they watch when there’s no game on-hand – although there always seems to be a game played somewhere in the world? The digital reception has made fans aware of content, which does focus football, but in a more cinematic or serial way. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video already offer numerous football documentaries. While they certainly bring players, background stories, special behind-the-scenes material and whole clubs to the attention of a very broad audience, they merge different demands to modern media. Football fans are provided with ever more streaming content for their spare time – as clubs and streaming services earn revenue and prestige aplenty.
The streaming service effect
Well, Juventus Turin have always been a top club in Italy, have boasted world-class players and are regular performers in the Champions League. Yet, the Netflix documentary First Team: Juventus was a hit on the streaming service, since it does offer something else than YouTube videos or the club’s Social Media channels like on Instagram. The series keeps fans watching, because they can see material from the reknowned players that seems to be so close to their everyday life as human beings rather than those football superstars. Furthermore, the production is more than professionally crafted, it’s beautifully shot at times and certainly the whole experience is about proper storytelling. And that’s something that football cannot always offer compared to popular series like Game of Thrones, Stranger Things or what have you.
Federico Palomba, Juve’s Co-Chief Officer at the time told JuveNews.eu:
The value we see is to be displayed on a platform by over 110 million subscribers worldwide, half of them in the United States, where their sum exceeds the total of all TV subscribers. We see an opportunity for priceless international exposure, priceless, and moreover with a very high quality product. One of the main objectives of this extraordinary opportunity is to grow internationally and reach new Juventus fans.
Reaching new fans is totally important and streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video are destined to do just that, worldwide. The latter service even offers viewers a series that refers to many sports experiences: All Or Nothing. And football fans will remember the popular edition fosusing Manchester City in their record breaking Premier League campaign of 2017/18. For the behind-the-scenes material will have made many people across several countries appreciative or even fanatic about the club – that has only grown to international prominence since heavy investments from sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and their recent successes. Their image maybe wasn’t always the best, but Guardiola and his playing style as well as that documentary will have helped. According to the BBC, Man City earned ten million pound for the exclusive camera access alone. And, as reported by City Watch, the series got ten million views and downloads in the first two weeks since its release. The rating on Amazon is nearly as satisfactory for City sympathisers as their last and current season. The high-profile series, narrated by no less than Ben Kingsley, who grew up in the suburbs of Manchester, was even nominated for some TV awards.
A focus on the fans themselves
So, this content can be a revenue and awareness driver for the services and the clubs. But when your club isn’t quite Juve or Man City, focusing on a different perspective might be a sensible stroke. That’s what England’s traditional club AFC Sunderland have done. Their very own Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die has been a thorough success – as opposed to their last few seasons in the English leagues. The club are just trying to get back to the Championship after a disastrous spell since their last relegation from the Premier League. And that is all part of the documentary. But, more importantly, as the title tells, it’s about the ties of the city and the club, the incredibly loyal and deeply rooted fandom in a city with many economical problems. They premiered the series at a special event and the success that followed spoke for itself.
On one hand, Sunderland can really do with the money that Netflix will have paid them for such exclusive access. On the other hand, the proud yet troubled club probably have been made more popular in various areas outside of Tyne and Wear. And guess what, there will be a second season this year, as the Guardian’s Russel Scott has already had a preview.
A similar approach is made by La Liga now. As Forbes report, their partnership with Relevent Sports Group has enabled them to reach North American audiences from the start of the 2019/20 season on with United States of LaLiga, a 12-part documentary focusing on fans of different Spanish clubs based in the US. Boris Gartner, CEO of LaLiga North America, is quoted:
Let’s find as many stories as we can of Americans that have some connection with LaLiga. Let’s build that bridge.
Rather than only for established football fans, this series is made to make people love football in the first place. Or understand the love for it. Because the sport is far from being the most popular in the US, yet, it is in the ascendant. La Liga and the Relevent Sports Group formed a first-of-a-kind equal joint venture last year, which is to last at least 15 years. It’s out to bring La Liga to the US and surely find a way to more audiences that promise engagement and revenue. Their series will focus on fans and also on stories like Mexicans, who play in Spain, like Andrés Guardado and Diego Lainez playing together at Real Betis, rathen than just going on about Griezmann, Messi or Real Madrid.
The plan to have La Liga matches played in the US was earlier repelled by the FIFA, though. Therefore, the documentary might even be of more significance in terms of getting the league and the love for football across the sea.
The growing number of football content on streaming services
The success of series like Sunderland ’Til I Die shows that not only Netflix or Amazon take profit from such content, but that the clubs or leagues can leverage this opportunities as well. The people do spend their time on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu etc. So, offering them a new perspective and insights there could be a great chance to win over millions of viewers and earn some money en passant. It would take some good stories, though – but doens’t football sometimes write the best of them?
You can already watch several football-related series, like Les Bleus or Boca Juniors: Confidencial on Netflix. Beside a story about Antoin Griezmann’s rise there will be documentary about compatriot Nicolas Anelka in 2020. Some clubs even started creating original content themselves. Manchester United for example have made Eric Bailly – l’Elephant d’Afrique a MUTV special, on demand for subscribers.
Football fans want to get entertained every day, not only on a matchday. They want background stories, storytelling and high-quality visual content; which, like football and its entertainment itself, just doesn’t end. Be it on a streaming platform or via the very own subscription service, documentaries are drawing ever more interest. While the market is made, not least thanks to Netflix and Co., satisfying these demands can prove lucrative for clubs around the world as they need to become more of a media brand, anyway.
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