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Twitch relaunches sports offering
Video consumption habits in APAC
Paul Rogers on the death of the digital strategy
Bank secures Belgian football highlights
Surrey links up with Facebook
Sunset & Vine agree Commonwealth Games deal
Wave.tv in funding boost
Lara Richards sets up consultancy
Michael Antwi swaps DAZN for Facebook
Andrew Guy hired by Football Marketing Asia
Formula E strikes deal with Chinese platform
BeIN banned by Saudi Arabia
FEI agrees new streaming deal
Thanks for clicking and reading the Broadcast Disruptors Bulletin, your intelligence briefing on the good, bad and the ugly of the sports broadcast and content creation world. Good to have you with us.
We’re also after a spot of feedback on how we and our parent company Leaders Group can best serve and support you in 2021 and beyond. We’d love to have your perspective on current challenges and pinch points in the world of sports broadcasting, content creation and distribution, via this 11-question survey – thanks in advance for helping us out.
Following Amazon’s decision to simulcast its four additional live Premier League games on the streaming platform, Twitch is continuing to dip toes into the sports content and content creation waters. It’s a move that should be closely watched by the sports industry.
Twitch streamed yesterday’s Olympique de Marseille friendly game against German club SV Heimstetten’s via the French club’s Twitch channel, while in the United States it has signed a deal with Entercom Communications which will see sports programming from a variety of US radio stations livestreamed on the platform.
Outside sport, UK radio broadcasters Iain Lee and Katherine Boyle have this week launched a new live nightly phone-in show on Twitch following their recent departures from Wireless Group’s Talkradio. And on Monday, Twitch confirmed it has signed rapper Logic to an exclusive deal, reportedly worth a ‘seven-figure’ sum.
As another indication of intent, Twitch yesterday relaunched ‘Sports’ as a standalone category to highlight content from teams like Real Madrid and Arsenal, other rights holders including the NBA, NHL and UFC, and athletes such as Los Angeles Charger Austin Ekeler and Formula One driver Lando Norris.
Quite where this all leads is, at the moment anyone’s guess, but it will do little to dampen speculation about Amazon’s ultimate plans around investing in live sports rights and original sports programming. If the question is how can rights holders reach and engage young people effectively, Twitch appears to be an obvious answer.
Twitch relaunches its sports offering, Paul Rogers on the death of the digital strategy, and the bank broadcasting Belgian football
Chinese sports digital consultancy and agency Mailman’s latest report examines video consumption trends in the Asia-Pacific region. It says over half of connected users in the region ‘treat videos and live-stream as a way of connecting with friends’, as well as reflecting on the remarkable popularity of so-called ‘with me’ videos featuring people doing everyday tasks like shopping, eating or drawing.
In the mixed zone with…Paul Rogers, Chief Strategy Officer, AS Roma
How do you characterise AS Roma’s digital strategy?
I’ve sort of dismissed the idea that there’s a digital strategy anymore. I believe it’s a club strategy. They are one and the same and, if anything, Covid and the lockdown has reemphasised that. If you weren’t already on a path towards digital transformation, then surely this has expedited the need for clubs to think about how their entire business can be enhanced by the digital experience.
What are you seeing that’s impressed you during this crisis?
I’ve been incredibly impressed by how different football clubs have dealt with this crisis and everyone does things differently. One club might do more in the community, another might do more with players. Clubs are doing virtual tours this summer. The level of creativity has always existed within football clubs but I think there may have been an reservation from the top to allow it – a lot of stuff comes out of digital and social, but maybe in the past the role has been pigeon-holed as just what goes on a website or a social platform.
With the lockdown, even the way you interact with fans and the press, maybe some people have been given more leeway to take more risks and to challenge the status quo. There’s so many talented people at different football clubs. The technology is incredibly important, but it’s about being relatable, getting the tone of voice right, knowing when to be funny and when not to be – every football club will win and lose football matches, but we have to tailor our content in moments like this; you have to understand the mood of fans and the best football clubs on social and digital really understand when to push it.
What have you worked on during the lockdown?
One of the big things we’ve spent a lot of time on during the lockdown – and we probably had a bit more time to think about why we were doing certain things, and do they add value. Where is the majority of our resource placed right now and is that where the majority of the value comes from? Whichever way you look at it, digital and social comes out on top – it delivers the most value, but maybe doesn’t have the most resource within a football club. We’ve been on a process for the last 12 to 18 months of really trying to enhance the data we have on fans and building that really clear view of who our fans are – you definitely can’t do it on television or radio, you can’t always do it on social media.
Only on our own platforms can we really tailor the experience, knowing who our fans are. The more we know about them, the more we can tailor our communications to be relevant. Football clubs everywhere want to know who their fans are; as much as it’s great – and I’m the biggest fan of social media there is – to be on these platforms, we can’t lose sight of the fact that to really, really control and enhance the experience for our own fans, and to know who they are, we need our own platforms.
The full interview with Paul Rogers is available now on the Leaders Sport Business podcast.
Bank secures Belgian football highlights
Belgian bank KBC has acquired a package of highlights and mobile rights to the country’s Pro League from 2020 to 2025. It has sub-licensed non-exclusive online highlights rights and ‘near live’ mobile clip rights from primary rights holder Eleven Sports. The bank has plans to make its rights available to both customers and non-customers via its various apps.
Surrey links up with Facebook
Ahead of the return of county cricket in England, Surrey County Cricket Club has signed a deal with Facebook for coverage of several games via the Facebook Watch service. The agreement began with yesterday’s Surrey Women v Middlesex Women London Cup game, and continues with friendlies this weekend and includes all games not selected for broadcast by television rights holder Sky Sports this coming season. The games will be broadcast globally by Facebook. Separately, as it navigates a period without fans at The Oval, Surrey has signed a deal with automated video technology company My Action Replay for live streaming, video indexing and social media broadcasting.
Sunset and Vine seal Commonwealth Games contract
Sunset and Vine has been appointed as host broadcaster of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham. The contract also includes an option to extend the relationship to the 2026 and 2030 editions of the games. The company will produce over 2,000 hours of coverage for global broadcasters during the event, as well as a 24-hour Games channel and installation and management of the International Broadcast Centre. It has also pledged to create 150 jobs during Games-time and a diversity recruitment programme. Long-time BBC executive Dave Gordon has taken on the role of Head of Host Broadcast for Sunset and Vine’s Birmingham 2022 project.
Wave.tv in funding boost
After last week agreeing a new partnership with IMG, sports digital content firm Wave.tv has raised US$32 million in fresh funding, which values the company at between US$50 million and US$100 million. The company, which takes content from over 60 leagues and events around the world to programme its various brands on various platforms, caught the attention of CoVenture and GPS Investment Partners, who have led on the Series A funding, which includes new equity and debt.
Richards sets up shop in Perth
Former International Cricket Council executive Lara Richards has formed her own media agency Marron Media. The new entity will be based in Perth. Since leaving the ICC staff in April, she has worked as a consultant to the organisation.
New Guy at Football Marketing Asia
Andrew Guy has been hired by Football Marketing Asia as Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel. Guy joins the Asian Football Confederation’s commercial rights agency from Talisman Sport & Media, and replaces the outgoing Ronu Miah in the role. Football Marketing Asia is the new name for DDMC Fortis and will hold the exclusive AFC rights from 2021-2028.
Antwi swaps DAZN for Facebook
Facebook has hired Michael Antwi, previously Global Social Media Manager at DAZN, as the latest member of its sports media team. Antwi has already begun his new role, Partner Solutions Manager, focusing predominantly on broadcasters and OTT providers.
Formula E agrees partnership with Kuaishou
Electric motorsport championship Formula E has agreed a ‘strategic alliance’ with Chinese video platform Kuaishou. The platform, which has links to Tencent and is China’s second-largest short video platform after ByteDance’s Douyin, will have access to Formula E’s various short-form content, as part of the series’ plans to expand its reach in China. This year’s Formula E event in China, a March race in Sanya, was cancelled as a result of Covid-19. The season is due to resume later this month with six races to be staged in Berlin.
BeIN permanently banned by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s decision to permanently cancel BeIN Sports’ broadcast licence in the country has been slammed by the broadcaster, as the stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Qatar continues to impact sport. BeIN was also fined around US$2.67 million by Saudi’s General Authority for Competition, after being found guilty of practices ‘that restrict competition’ during Euro 2016. BeIN, which has been banned in Saudi Arabia since 2017 as the Saudi-based pirate BeoutQ service emerged, hit back. In a statement it said: ‘This decision was arrived at through sham legal proceedings that repeatedly violated BeIN’s due process rights at every turn. We would also question – as we have for three years – how Saudi citizens can watch Premier League matches legally in Saudi Arabia with this permanent ban on the Premier League’s licensed broadcaster?’
FEI boosts streaming capability
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has signed an agreement with equestrian live streaming specialist ClipMyHorse.TV. The governing body has taken an equity stake in ClipMyHorse in an effort to improve the viewing experience and range of content options for its FEI.TV customers.
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