Dugout and News Corp have revealed plans for the acquisition by Dugout of News Corp’s mobile and online platform ballball, which delivers near-live highlights of football leagues and other content to football markets in South-East Asia.
The acquisition will lead to the creation of a new Dugout entity – Dugout SE Asia – which will be headquartered in Singapore and will lead the expansion of Dugout in the region.
While parent company Dugout will be the majority shareholder of Dugout SE Asia, News Corp will also have a stake in the new business. This strategic partnership will include senior News Corp executive Simon Greenberg sitting on the board of Dugout SE Asia.
Dugout has partners on its platform including AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid CF, Inter Milan, Roma, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid and more.
ballball.com was launched by News Corp in August 2013 and is a football video platform in South-East Asia. The platform distributes a collection of short-form highlights from European and other top football leagues to the region.
The agreement to acquire ballball will see Dugout showcase the mobile and online platform’s aggregation of football content in two key territories - Vietnam and Indonesia - through a ballball section on the Dugout platform, with plans to expand into other countries in the region.
Elliot Richardson, founder and chairman of Dugout, said: “We are delighted to have agreed the purchase of ballball, which has been hugely successful in bringing great football content from the world’s best leagues to fans in South-East Asia. We’re now looking forward to complementing that platform with Dugout’s unique ingredient: embedded partnerships and access to the best players and clubs in the world.”
“Our aim with Dugout was to make it the digital football destination of choice by aligning clubs/players with brands and fans. We have already created over 15,000 hours of exclusive video content with our partners, and with access to incredible archive and new content themes, this will unlock more stories for fans to view of the clubs and players they love. The purchase of ballball will show the continued momentum behind the business and the chance to work with News Corp as a partner is so exciting. We know that South-East Asia is a hugely important territory for football clubs and the brands we work with, so we look forward to giving football fans in the region a great experience.”
Simon Greenberg, News Corp’s global head of rights, said: “We are very excited that News Corp is forging this new partnership with Dugout, a unique business that brings with it incredible connections across the world of football. In today’s rapidly changing media environment, it’s essential to work with strong and innovative partners like Dugout that recognise the value of premium content.”
“With football the fastest growing sport in the world - and Asia the fastest growing region - we launched ballball on mobile, the fastest growing platform, in 2013 and we are very proud of all that's been achieved since. The team has built an unparalleled digital expertise and reputation to make it the go-to mobile destination for football highlights in the region. Dugout recognises the value of that work and together we can use this foundation to create a very compelling mobile offering for the many millions of football fans in SE Asia.”
Dugout has recently announced a number of other strategic partnerships to support the business’ objective of expanding its global presence and in December Dugout launched a partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS).
The company has also signed deals with tech companies like VEWD, SPOTX, Rakuten/Viber and Amazon.