OneFootball Agrees Takeover of Rival Soccer Streamer Dugout

Digital media group OneFootball GmbH has agreed to buy a rival co-founded by 10 of the most powerful European soccer teams, amid increasing demand for behind-the-scenes content on the sport’s biggest names.

Berlin-based OneFootball has struck a cash-and-stock deal for Dugout, which helps create and distribute video content on everything from match clips to training sessions for more than 80 soccer clubs globally.

“Our ambition has been to become the ultimate destination for everything football, both on and off the pitch, and our acquisition of Dugout reflects this,” Lucas von Cranach, chief executive officer and founder of OneFootball, said in an interview.

OneFootball has raised around 50 million euros ($61 million) from investors to help finance the deal and fund future investment, said von Cranach.

OneFootball Agrees Takeover of Rival Soccer Streamer Dugout

Dugout was launched in 2016 by its chairman, Elliot Richardson, who will remain with the group as part of the deal. Clubs including Arsenal, Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona and Juventus were among its founding shareholders.

“The clubs will speak with one voice in this venture,” Stefan Mennerich, director of media, digital and communication at Bayern Munich, said of the deal. “OneFootball will be a relevant worldwide platform, partially owned by the clubs. It will be good to be not just a passenger on the train.”

Expanding Ecosystem

Providing auxiliary online content beyond match-day coverage has become an important way for soccer clubs at all levels to engage with fanbases, promote their brands globally and generate new revenue streams from sponsors, publishers and advertisers.

The attractiveness of companies that help them repackage this content has risen in lockstep. In November, U.K.-based media group Eleven Sports agreed to buy soccer streaming company MyCujoo in a deal that will bring non-elite competitions into fans’ living rooms.

OneFootball launched in 2008 and today serves more than 70 million soccer fans globally, offering both pay-per-view and free-to-watch content with major rights holders including Eleven and Sky Deutschland, according to its website. It recently secured the rights to broadcast France’s Ligue 1 in Brazil, whose national soccer star Neymar plays for Paris Saint-Germain.

“This move will benefit the whole football ecosystem with clubs, federations and leagues able to increase audience reach and harness our powerful data insights to gain a deeper understanding of their fans’ engagement,” von Cranach said of the Dugout deal.

In 2018, Dugout raised around 8.3 million pounds ($11 million) from investors including the U.S. entrepreneur Frank McCourt, owner of French soccer team Olympique de Marseille.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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