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Football Victoria in talks with Optus Sport and Kayo

CEO of Football Victoria (FV) Peter Filopoulos has revealed FV are in discussions with Optus Sport and Foxtel subsidiary streaming service Kayo Sports.

Speaking recently on the For Vuck’s Sake podcast, Filopoulos claimed FV’s broadcast strategy to live stream all NPL Victoria games was creating an abundance of content.

“Part of our ambition was that we are going to have heaps of content for a Kayo or an Optus,” he said.

“These platforms now are subscription-based platforms who are constantly going to look at curating content.

“Pleasingly, we are now in firm discussions with Optus and Kayo Sports in ways they can capitalise on that content with weekly shows … on their platforms.

“That’s the whole motivation around it and I think we need to innovate.”

Filopoulos confirmed the governing body was also looking to create its own over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, after encouraging viewing numbers for the start of the NPL Victoria season.

“We’ve got over 40,000 unique viewers every week now,” Filopoulos said.

“We’re also evolving the product and we’re currently experimenting with our own OTT platform, so that we can transition the broadcast away from other people’s platforms and onto ours.

“So [moving] away from Facebook and YouTube and [directing it] through our own OTT platform, similar to the way Netflix is delivered to the consumer.

“We are experimenting with that at the moment and hopefully that’s not too far away.

“Once we have our own platform, we can control our own destiny.”

NPL Victoria Men, Women and U20’s games are currently streamed on the NPL Victoria Facebook and YouTube social channels.

South Melbourne FC, one of the clubs heavily involved in a push for a national second division, registered over 10,000 Facebook views on NPL Victoria’s live stream of their game against Eastern Lions on Sunday. The YouTube view count for the match was over 5,300.

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Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Sekulovski hits the ground running in Preston Sponsorship Management role

Naum Sekulovski might be in the twilight of his playing career, but he won’t be finishing up with football or his beloved Preston Lions anytime soon.

The former Perth Glory star has taken on the role of Sponsorship Manager for the 2021 season.

Preston has always been a club that has enjoyed enormous support from its community and its playing members.

The chants of “Ma-ke-don-ia” on game day bring goosebumps to all in attendance at BT Connor Reserve.

Even whilst playing at the relative depths of State League 1 for this former National Soccer League heavyweight, Preston has been able to rely on the incredible support of its fans who vote with their feet year in, year out.

However, it is the ability of the club to mobilise the support of the business network within its community that is truly impressive.

In recent years, the Preston Lions committee has enjoyed enormous success in mobilising the support of the business community within its ranks, signing on an extraordinary amount of sponsors a trend that has well and truly continued into 2021.

“At the top end of this year, back end of 2020, [Preston Lions President] Zak [Gruevski] approached me about taking on the role of Sponsorship Manager,” Sekulovski said.

“I’m coming to the twilight of my career as a player, so I’ve always wanted to understand how I can get more involved behind the scenes.

“I’m always going to have that football attachment and I’m interested in the business side of running a football club, so I jumped on board.”

Outside of football, Sekulovski works in pharmaceutical sales, meaning he felt he had a skillset that would allow him to hit the ground running in the role.

A cursory glance at the club’s social media feed over the last few months would demonstrate that Preston’s support goes far beyond boots on terraces and that Sekulovski has certainly gotten off to a fast start.

Since taking on the role, the Preston mainstay said he has been blown away by the business support afforded to the Lions.

“It’s been a really big eye-opener for me and one that I’ve really tried to translate over to the players and the people at a junior level,” he said.

“To be honest, the level of support has been a bit overwhelming.

“At last count, we’ve ticked over 100 sponsors for the year. We’re in a really, privileged position, but we’re here because of the hard work of all the people that have been on the committee over the last few years.”

Preston has kicked off its own “Preston in Business” program of business events for sponsors and is providing corporate hospitality on gameday, which started with a historic night of football at BT Connor Reserve when the club took on Melbourne City in it’s season opening match of the NPL3 Vic season, attracting a bumper crowd on the night.

The club saw another massive turnout last Friday night for their NPL3 Vic clash with Melbourne Victory, showing the Round 1 turnout was no flash in the pan.

“To have that many businesses and invited guests attend our first President’s Club function for 2021, it just made sense to have a program like “Preston In Business” that we could use to help those sponsors engage with and leverage off one another.

“We’ve got so many diverse businesses in our group.”

Following 2019’s State League 1-winning season, not even the loss of the 2020 year could slow Preston down.

“I think success breeds success,” Sekulovski said.

“And it’s not just about the men’s program. We are striving to get to the heights of Victorian football at all levels and we are firmly in the frame of mind that when a national second division presents itself, we want to be a part of that discussion.

“We’re a united front across our men’s, women’s and junior programs and everything is coming together.”

Facilities have also been a major agenda item for the club and redevelopment of BT Connor Reserve, which has been aided by the City of Darebin Council, as well as the generous donation of money and services from the Preston business community has been crucial to the club’s drive forward.

“I think we’re really only just scratching the surface of what’s possible in terms of our partnership with Council and Government,” he said.

“The administration of the club has been working so hard over the last six or seven years and it’s thanks to a passionate group of volunteers which makes the progress we’ve made extraordinary.

“To see that pay off with the night we had against Melbourne City and our new partnership with them, it was incredible.

“I grew up watching Preston. That Friday night I left the sponsorship stand to go and see some of the game with the rank and file and sitting there with so many people in the industrial back streets of Reservoir at our first official night game was something special.”

Preston remains on the lookout for businesses looking to support their charge forward.

Anyone interested in supporting the club or joining as a sponsor/partner should contact Sekulovski or Preston via their Facebook page or club website.

Image Credit: Preston Lions Football Club

Mediacoach: LaLiga’s secret weapon

Coach using mediacoach

Developed by LaLiga, Mediacoach is a video analysis platform which ensures that all 42 LaLiga clubs are able to analyse practically all of the tactical, technical and physical aspects of their own side and their rivals.

In football, the smallest details can be key to deciding the outcome of a match. Mediacoach allows for all clubs from LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank to have access to a depth of tactical analysis like no other. The comprehensive live in-match data covers a range of football statistics including distance covered, player positioning, speed and ball movements.

Big Data is critical to football in the modern era, and this initiative is a fine example of how LaLiga is leading football in an innovative fashion.

Having been introduced to Spanish football in 2010, Mediacoach has grown to have over 430 club staff across 42 clubs utilising the tool. Mediacoach is hoping to expand their features to ensure that even more groups, from club trainers to media partners, can benefit from it.

This season alone has seen a multiplication of the number of cameras in the stadiums in order to progress real-time data tracking to new levels, whilst making the tool available to more users via the cloud.

Coaches like Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and Barcelona’s Ronald Koeman (plus their extensive coaching staff) have Mediacoach at their disposal every week. The tool allows for detailed pre-match report, video analysis, accumulated reports to run through all potential on-field scenarios and developments, performance statistics, tactical camera footage and post-match reports.

Ricardo Resta, director of LaLiga’s sports area and the Mediacoach platform, credited the ambitious nature of the world-first initiative.

“The use of data is a huge differentiator for the global sports industry. With Mediacoach we are ensuring that the best information can be accessed by all LaLiga clubs, no matter their size. It’s how we ensure that the league grows as one,” he said.

“Multi-camera technology is able to track movements on a football pitch down to very fine margins. Increasing its use in LaLiga stadiums provides even higher levels of accuracy so that coaches can make informed decisions in the heat of the moment.”

Pascoe Vale FC faces opposition in effort to develop pitches

Pascoe Vale players

National Premier Leagues Victoria side Pascoe Vale FC has responded to opposition from locals to their proposed plans for Moreland’s Hosken Reserve pitch.

Plans to refurbish Hosken Reserve have been considered in the past, however Moreland City Council’s Hosken Reserve Masterplan represents the most recent effort to revamp the ground, with Pascoe Vale FC putting forward a plan to develop synthetic pitches for football use.

Assessing the options for The Hosken Reserve Masterplan refresh are a consortium group – theCommunityCollaborative, who will be considering which pathway is best to ensure a balanced approach to sport, community health and wellbeing.

Facing opposition from members of the public who fear the loss of space for their own recreational activities is Lou Tona, a spokesperson for Pascoe Vale FC. He acknowledged that the club is disappointed by the opposition they have faced throughout the consultation process.

Football at Hosken Reserve

Pascoe Vale FC are a staple of the Moreland community, not just as a provider of grassroots development for younger generations, but in exemplifying the values of the city itself through its practices, education of young people and their dedication to community growth.

Tona has cited that the attitudes of residents of the proposed plans have been nothing short of disappointing. Comments have been made by members of the ‘Keep Hosken Reserve Accessible for All group’ on social media, which Tona believes flies directly in the face of the values of Moreland as a city.

“We had a pop-up recently where there were many kids playing and parents there too, and they referred to us as ‘mafioso soccer goons’ online,” he said.

“In this day and age, we’re quite disappointed that this is what’s happening. As a club we are fully understanding of the consultation process, we’re fully invested in it and we fully believe in it. And we’re happy to move forward with whatever the outcomes are for the reserve and we’re looking forward to positive outcomes for the whole community.

“From day one of it heading to consultation we embraced and accepted that it needed to go that way. We’re all for freedom of speech and for working with the community. We want to be great neighbours; however, we just feel that some of our neighbours are throwing racist remarks, anti-football remarks and antagonistic remarks towards us as a club.

“Our submission & plans are to do with us as a football club and it being a sports reserve, and to be treated in that way has been extremely disappointing.

“The club stands for what the city of Moreland stands for – ‘One Community, Proudly Diverse’.”

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