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Eleven Sports acquires media company Team Whistle

Team Whistle joins ELEVEN Group

In keeping with their plans to create a global sports media destination, Eleven Sports have acquired New York-based global sports media and entertainment company Team Whistle.

Team Whistle’s 1,655 distribution channels, 629 million aggregated social media followers and 4 billion+ monthly video views will be brought together with Eleven Sports’ 150+ commercial partners, 20 million+ users and 30,000 hours of live sport.

They will partner up and focus on continuing to grow the wider Eleven Group’s offering of live sports content and maintaining the evolution of the company’s entertainment programming and sports broadcasting.

The Eleven group is seeking to build a service which caters to fans everywhere, from live coverage of the biggest events in world sport to broadcasting of local sport for communities. In addition, Team Whistle’s award-winning unique content and industry leading creators like Dude Perfect and the F2 Freestylers will be available on-demand through the service.

Founder of Eleven Sports & its parent company Aser Ventures, Andrea Radrizzani, was delighted by the potential afforded by the partnership. The arrival of Team Whistle is recognised as a significant milestone in the Eleven Group’s development as a world leader in broadcasting.

“We have long recognised the opportunities for partnership between Team Whistle and the wider Aser portfolio,” he said.

“By welcoming Team Whistle into the Eleven Group, we are bringing together two media companies who have a track record of building strong and innovative sports media businesses in Europe, Asia and North America.

“We will also be adding transformative new scale and capabilities to Eleven. Together, we look forward to delivering on our goal of creating a global destination for live and on-demand sports content for audiences everywhere to enjoy.”

Team Whistle Founder and Executive Chairman John West acknowledged the positive alignment between the two companies and reaffirmed Radrizzani’s ambitions.

“Upon first meeting Andrea [Radrizzani] years ago, we shared a common bond on how sport and entertainment were being reimagined and now with the pace of media transformation happening at an accelerated rate globally – joining forces with Eleven allows us to create a truly unique, global media powerhouse,” he said.

Australian Clem Morfuni becomes owner of Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Morfuni

Australian Clem Morfuni has become the majority stakeholder in League Two side Swindon Town FC, with an ambition of bringing in a new era to the club.

The Robins, who were relegated from League One last season and have just nine senior players contracted – including Australian Jordan Lyden – will be backed by Morfuni for the foreseeable future with the upcoming League Two campaign less than three weeks away.

Morfuni, a previous minority stakeholder in the side, founded his plumbing business Axis Services Group in Australia in 1994. It is now a globally operating business with a financial turnover of $200 million each year.

The acquisition has also signalled the end of a lengthy ownership battle for the League Two club who have fought recent financial hardships. Moreover, the club’s fans have rejoiced across social media at the sight of Morfuni’s long-awaited arrival.

In a club statement, Morfuni acknowledged the importance of having a ‘fans first’ philosophy on and off the field.

“I want to tell the fans that you’ve got your club back, a football club should be the heartbeat of the town and the local community and should be something that the whole town and surrounding communities takes great pride in,” he said.

“Without fans you don’t have a club and I want to thank every supporter (many who I have got to know personally) who have fought for their club and helped me to gain control. I know I am indebted to you and will work hard to make this club a club all our fans can be proud of.

“Last season we came last in the football league in terms of fan engagement; this season I aim to come first.”

Morfuni’s takeover of the club has ushered in a new contingent of executive and technical staff, with arrivals including Swindon Town Supporters Trust board member Rob Angus as club CEO and Ben Chorley and Ben Garner as the club’s Director of Football and Head Coach respectively.

In addition, Morfuni spoke on the significance of building a youthful side, something which bodes well for young Australians seeking a pathway into European football.

“I want a young, forward thinking, vibrant club. I want the average age of the team to come down, that doesn’t mean every player will be young because you need a balance, but I want a young side that plays an exciting style of football and create a club where top young players want to join because of the environment, the opportunities they will be given,” he said.

Morfuni’s full statement can be read here.

Football Coaches Australia and XVenture announce ‘Play it Forward’ support

XV FCA

Football Coaches Australia (FCA) welcomes all Australian advance licence and community football coaches to the FCA XVenture College and the Essential Skills ‘Play it Forward’ program.

In a world first opportunity for all Australian football coaches, FCA and XV are offering a program which connects directly with FCA and XVenture’s DNA. A global mentoring (or buddy system) program which will allow for Australian coaches to help a fellow coach from around the world to undertake their own FCA XV Essential Skills study as a result of their helping hand.

The program supports football coaches in Australia and other countries who will be able to influence their community immensely as a result of our help.

XVenture Founder and CEO Mike Conway:

“For every coach who undertakes this program with Football Coaches Australia, we will “Play It Forward” by providing a coach who can’t afford the program full access to this body of work too. Imagine – coaches around the World helping the next generation! Improving lives and growing the game. Surely that’s what it’s about? There are no barriers.”           

This program is also in line with the FCA mantra of “Promoting and strengthening the reputation of football in Australia and the reputation of Australian football on the world stage”.

Glenn Warry FCA CEO:

“During the ongoing impact of COVID on world sport we at FCA, along with our valued partner XVenture, are just so proud to present the ‘Play it Forward’ program.

In 2020 FCA worked hard to lead in connecting the coaching community via an extensive coach PD webinar program for community and accredited coaches.

“The FCA XV College Essential Skills ‘Play it Forward’ Program is an incredible opportunity for Australian coaches to enhance the continuing education of every coach’s journey around the world no matter what level they are working at or what their circumstances are”.

How will the FCA XV ‘Play it Forward’ program work?

For every FCA XV Essential Skills full program undertaken by an Australian football coach a complimentary program will be provided to a coach from around the world who can’t afford the program to allow you both to work through the completion of the program together.

Initially FCA and XV will offer this program to coaches nominated by their current football network partners:

  • Association of Indian Football Coaches
  • John Moriarty Foundation
  • RISE Football Academy

FCA is also engaging with the Nepal Football Association, other Asian Football Coach Associations and the Oceania Football Confederation regarding the provision of support for coaches who meet the criteria.

As the program grows FCA will be looking to expand their network to provide this unique opportunity to coaches from all around the world, by connecting with organisations such as ‘Coaches Across Continents’.

The series of FCA XV College modules are delivered completely online, in a revolutionary virtual world environment which aims to develop the ‘essential skills’ of coaching across 5 modules – Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Resilience, Culture and Communication Skills.

Phil Moss, President of FCA, introduces the course to participating coaches as they make their way through the virtual world of the FCA XV College foyer. View here.

XVenture Founder, Professor Mike Conway provides an Essential Skills Introduction which can be viewed here.

Find out how you can be part of this coaching revolution by visiting FCA XVenture’s College

Arsenal tokens to add new fan engagement

Arsenal Fan token

English Premier League side Arsenal have partnered with sports blockchain provider Chiliz to launch the club’s custom fan tokens on Chiliz’s Socios.com app.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, sports clubs have had to look for other revenue streams to compensate for the lack of ticketing on game days. Arsenal joins a growing list of sports entities on the platform, including Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and AC Milan.

The platform enables fans to purchase club fan tokens, an area of the blockchain industry that generated over $200 million in revenue in the first half of 2021 alone. According to the Socios.com management team, the app has had almost 1.2 million downloads since its launch in 2019. Of those, almost 70% took place in 2021.

Fan tokens can be exchanged for rewards such as merchandise, the ability to participate in polls, access exclusive content, and play interactive games. They can also lead to experiences like meeting players or attending home games. The Arsenal-specific digital collectibles can be bought and sold through the marketplace as a cryptocurrency.

“We are committed to finding new and innovative ways for all our supporters – whether local or international – to get closer to the club,” Arsenal Commercial Director Peter Silverstone said.

Chiliz has allocated over $50 million to expand into the top sporting leagues in the United States, whilst also becoming an official sponsor of LaLiga football club Valencia CF. The sponsorship will showcase a token logo in the front of the players’ jerseys this coming season.

In addition, Chiliz is also sponsoring Argentina’s top football league, which will officially be called Torneo Socios.com for the 2021/2022 season.

As a club, Arsenal is not new to the blockchain space. The club has partnerships for three mainstream applications of blockchain in sports – Sorare for fantasy football, Fantastec for digital collectibles, and now Chiliz for fan tokens.

In 2018, Arsenal also signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency application CashBet. This deal was the first time a major global club has partnered with a cryptocurrency firm.

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