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How German company Onefootball is succeeding in the OTT streaming landscape

Following the growth of on-demand content and ever-increasing consumer choices, broadcasters are now becoming unable to dictate what will be shown to their audiences and at what times.

In today’s world, through viewing habits and data from user accounts, it is actually the opposite.

It is now up to those broadcasters to analyse this data and provide an attractive package at the right price to bring in the consumer.

Founded in 2008, Onefootball is one of Europe’s leaders in regards to investing in and recognising this trend.

This includes strategic decisions the company has made securing deals with Sky Deutschland and Eleven Sports. This allows them to show matches from multiple leagues around the world, through a pay-per-view, live streaming partnership.

Live matches can be streamed through their official app, including games from the 2. Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal. Onefootball gives their growing young audience an attractive yet simple proposition: the opportunity to choose the games they want to watch.

Their model also allows consumers to sign up to a shorter and more convenient payment plan, instead of a costly long-term subscription.

“It’s our response to the ever-changing media landscape characterised by rights fragmentation and expensive subscription models,” said Onefootball CEO, Lucas von Cranach after the announcement of his company’s partnership with Sky Deutschland and Eleven Sports.

Von Cranach added: “Modern football fans want to consume live content in a more flexible, easily accessible way. They want to consume it when they want, where they want and how they want – and all of this at a reasonable price.”

Onefootball may have taken inspiration from NBA’s juggernaut streaming service League Pass, which also allows fans to pick and choose content that suits them. This promotes growth in engagement for the sport as a whole, whilst strengthening direct-to-fan relationships.

Despite this, different sports and services will not thrive if they are all identical. To have a successful OTT streaming service, differing needs have to be addressed.

These needs will likely change over time as Von Cranach explains.

“The industry needs to adapt to the evolving consumer behaviour. It’s about understanding and anticipating the highly sophisticated needs of younger generations – that’s the key” (as posted in FC Business).

Onefootball is driven by Sportradar OTT. Sportradar is a company founded in Norway, that collects and analyses sports data. Therefore, Onefootball can access these insights from the data collected and ensure an improved experience for users through gamifications aspects and overlays.

For example, statistical overlays can be implemented to highlight information that will complement footage of a match. Gamifications such as polls and quizzes will look to keep viewers engaged to the platform for a longer duration.

The rights holder is also informed about how to showcase their digital ecosystem in the best financially rewarding way.

When you combine all these factors and other insights which are taken from user data, you have the ingredients for a successful OTT service.

With regards to these OTT services, the ability to tweak your output and monetisation methods, based on viewer habits, is already a proven game changer.

Whilst linear broadcasts do still have a place in media consumption in the modern world, it lacks the insights and clarity you get through OTT.

Whether focusing on how content has fared or finding the best way to monetise it, OTT services provide rights holders with much needed guidance in their video strategy.

This is a win for the content producers who see what consumers want and how they should make it profitable. The user also benefits, as their viewing is influencing the content they are seeing.

Onefootball look like they are set to reap the rewards of listening to the market as they continue to head in the direction of effectively using audience data.

Their fan-focused strategy highlights why they are viewed as one of the most advanced players in the industry, with their affiliation with Sportradar OTT providing the foundations for this continued growth.

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.

Manchester United gives update on Old Trafford plans

Manchester United has updated fans on modernising Old Trafford, with an assurance that they will be regularly consulted with the progress.

Manchester United has provided an update to fans on plans to modernise Old Trafford, with an assurance that fans will be regularly consulted with the progress.

Old Trafford is the largest club football stadium in the UK, with a capacity of 73,000 and one of the most iconic venues in world football with 111 years of history as United’s home ground.

Initial meetings have been taking place with multiple architectural and engineering companies in order to choose a potential partner that will allow the Red Devils to move forward with the project.

No decision has been made on the scope or budget of the project, and it is still up in the air as to whether or not the stadium will receive a capacity increase. The final plan would be ‘based on analysis and on consultation’.

Stadium redevelopment plans are expected to be a key focus of the Fans’ Advisory Board (FAB), which will hold its first meeting early this year.

Manchester United CEO Collette Roche:

“These meetings have produced exciting potential ideas, although it’s important to note that we’re still at an early stage and it’s premature to talk about timetables,” she said.

“We intend to involve the Fans’ Advisory Board in the process, and we will also keep this Forum briefed. The creation of the FAB was an historic step that will establish a new model for fan engagement in English football and, ultimately, improve the club’s decision-making.”

Roche also noted that the development will be a ‘complex piece of work’, because of the many legal and regulatory factors involved. However, Roche reminded fans that good progress has been made and talks are at an advanced stage currently.

Sport Republic acquires stake in Southampton FC

Sport Republic – backed by billionaire Serbian businessman Dragan Solak – have acquired a large stake in the club.

English Premier League club Southampton has confirmed that Sport Republic – backed by billionaire Serbian businessman Dragan Solak – have acquired a large stake in the club.

They have purchased the stakes that were previously owned by Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng, and will work in collaboration with Katharina Liebherr – daughter of Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr – who owns the remaining stake in the club.

Sport Republic are a London-based investment firm for the sports and entertainment industry. They were founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and headed by Dragan Solak. Their portfolio includes Tonsser – a football player app that empowers youth players to progress and unlock their potential.

Southampton CEO Martin Semmens:

“Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward. Today we have found the perfect solution,” he said.

“Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports. That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short and long-term future.

“We are grateful for the support of Mr Gao and Katharina that allowed us to take our time, turn away the wrong options and ultimately find the right partner for the future of this great club, its fans, staff and the people of Southampton.

Sport Republic Lead Investor Dragan Solak:

“My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market,” he said.

“Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base. We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition.”

Sport Republic Chairman Henrik Kraft:

“We will be an active and engaged owner, but we will not be starting any revolutions. We were attracted to Southampton because it is already a well-run club that follows a clearly defined strategy,” he said.

“Whilst Southampton is Sport Republic’s first acquisition, we expect more investments to follow over the coming years. Our ambition is to build a portfolio of high-influence stakes in football clubs and other sporting assets across the world.

“At the same time, we will also invest in early-stage sports technology companies and use our portfolio to accelerate the development of these companies. The acquisition of Southampton is a great first step and we are very excited about the journey ahead.”

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