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New platform targets football fans

News, 29 November 2016

GLOBAL: Twenty-seven of the world's leading football clubs have signed up to a new digital platform that aims to engage fans in a different way – and to offer brands a "cutting-edge" approach to advertising.

Dugout, launched yesterday, has partnered with clubs in Europe, Central and South America – which boast a combined social media reach of around 425m users – to create a single location for fans "away from the noise of multiple social media and news sites".

Polling of 24,000 fans around the world showed a growing trend to follow as many as four or five clubs as well as individual players regardless of club, The Drum reported.

"The game today is truly global and fans don't just want to watch matches in their own country," stated co-founder Elliot Richardson. "They want to follow their favourite clubs and players across the world, on and off the pitch.

"That's what Dugout offers: unrivalled access so fans get behind the scenes of the clubs and into the lives of the players."

Dugout aims to offer exclusive content 24 hours before it is released on any other social media network.

It is also available in eight languages at launch, including Indonesian, as it looks to pick up users in Asia.

Fans can choose their own combination of clubs, players and influencers they want to follow, with each of these parties able to upload content and interact with followers.

The site will be free to users with revenue coming through advertising, which will be split 50-50 with the partners.

"Dugout offers brands a cutting-edge approach to advertising," said EVP Kate Burns, formerly of Google, AOL and Buzzfeed, with "programmatic technology at the core of our model". Brands already on board include Allianz, Coca-Cola and BetVictor.

According to Sky News the business model is similar to that of Facebook and Weibo – "selling targeted advertising to each Dugout user" – but Quartz was sceptical that Dugout could hit its projected revenue figures without capturing all the current media value from club's existing social media accounts.

Data sourced from The Drum, Guardian, Sky News, Quartz; additional content by Warc staff