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.

National Futsal Championships to return in 2022

Football Australia has announced today the return of the National Futsal Championships (NFC) in 2022.

Football Queensland (FQ) will host the 2022 championship, followed by Football Victoria (FV) for the 2023 edition.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson looks forward to growing futsal’s footprint in Australia after outlining a vision for a national program.

“As part of our clear strategic agenda, we outlined a vision to create a national program for futsal and beach soccer by working closely with our Member Federations in a unified, inclusive and collaborative manner,” Johnson said.

“With the culmination of this process, we are delighted that Football Queensland and Football Victoria will be hosting the National Futsal Championships in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

“There is a clear appetite throughout Australia for football to increase its imprint through futsal and beach soccer. Queensland and Victoria now have the opportunity to showcase this and bring it to life over the next two years, in a way never seen before.”

By granting the hosting rights to different cities, Football Australia believes the NFC will be a national tournament.

The Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre will host the relaunched tournament on the 5th-9th of January 2022.

“The National Futsal Championships are a highlight of the Australian football calendar, and we are excited to stage next year’s event at the state-of-the-art Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

Anthony Grima, Football Victoria’s Head of Futsal, believes the announcement was a step towards achieving FV’s futsal strategy.

“This is a huge win for Futsal in Victoria and one for me that should be dedicated to the many amazing individuals who are at the heart of the Futsal community here in Victoria,” Grima said.

“Hosting the NFC will leave a lasting legacy for Futsal and football in Victoria and inspire and enable more people to take up this amazing sport.”

The recently announced Home of the Matildas features a international sized futsal pitch, and it could host the championship.

Kimon Taliadoros, CEO of FV, said this news ensures that Victoria remains the home of sport.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the people of Victoria. By hosting the National Futsal Championships, we will further enhance the state’s ability to host events and tournaments and support the Victorian economy by bringing interstate visitors back to Melbourne to experience the wide range of products, services and experiences that this great state has to offer,” Taliadoros said.

“Futsal has been on the national agenda for some time now, with Football Australia recently having released the ‘XI Principles – for the future of Australian football.’”

The return of the NFC will allow a pathway for players to compete against the best talent Australia has to offer.

Ronaldo’s Manchester United return breaks social media records

With the summer transfer window complete for clubs across Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo re-joins Manchester United following 12 years away in a true homecoming moment for the Premier League side.

A household name, Ronaldo’s exceptional career has seen him return to a club that played a major part in his development towards becoming one of the greatest players we’ve seen.

Arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo was a club-record signing for Manchester United at the time for a teenager in English football, and he certainly disappoint, netting 84 goals from 196 appearances.

His time in the game is most famously for La Liga’s Real Madrid, where in the 2009-2018 period he dominated with 311 goals from 292 games, and most recently spent the previous few seasons with Serie A’s Juventus showing no signs of slowing down in his veteran years by scoring 81 times from 98 appearances. Ronaldo’s lengthy international career dates back to his Manchester United debut year of 2003, with 179 caps and 109 goals to his name.

When you add his long list of trophies and accomplishments notably as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, five-time Champions League winner, four-time FIFA Club World Cup winner, three-time Premier League champion, two-time Best FIFA Men’s Player and 2018 European Championship WInner it’s easy to see why he’s held in such high esteem and widely regarded as one of the greats of the sport.

It should come as no surprise to see the level of engagement on social media when the transfer was confirmed by Manchester United. There was a staggering number of people liking and sharing the huge summer transfer window move, as discovered by Global Head of Social Media at Manchester United, Nick Speakman.

He confirmed that Manchester United’s ‘Welcome home Cristiano Ronaldo’ posts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all reached uncharted territory, setting new records across each of the three prominent platforms. The upcoming figures have already grown from when Speakman updated, with Ronaldo having a significant impact even off the pitch.

Instagram’s 12.3m likes & 537k comments makes it the most liked Instagram post from a sports team, Twitter’s 1.9m likes & 850k retweets makes it the most liked Twitter post from a sports team, while Facebook’s 1.3m likes & 161k comments makes it the club’s most liked Facebook post.

“It’s often said that “nothing can surprise you” when working within sports. However, unexpectedly being presented with the opportunity, and arguably privilege, of announcing Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United after 12 years away from the club is a rare exception to the rule,” Speakman said.

“24 hours later, the announcement post has surpassed even our own predictions for social numbers cross-platform.”

It marked Manchester United’s biggest ever day for social interactions, which can extend further to other Ronaldo-related posts as the hype continues for a potential return in Manchester United colours at Old Trafford against Newcastle United in Round 4 of the Premier League, following the upcoming international break.

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