ALTV.com, a fast growing free streaming services launched in MENA in 2016, has announced a partnership with Dugout, the digital platform created to connect football fans with the world's biggest clubs and players. The partnership between Dugout and ALTV will deliver exclusive access to original content for football fans across the Middle East and North Africa.
Digital football business Dugout today revealed details of a new 8.75 million pound investment that will see the company expand its existing operations, as well as ambitious partnership plans to enhance its technology offering and support growth in the MENA region.
Dugout represents the first time the world's biggest clubs have joined forces to create a business - with founding partners 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.
All 77 clubs (and a growing number of players) have a dedicated Dugout profile to upload content and interact with fans, meaning that Dugout users get a totally personalised experience based on the clubs and players they follow. The business launched in late 2016 and has already gathered over 67 million unique users and 912 million video views to date. Dugout has a social footprint of 2.1 billion and over 12,500 videos have been posted on the platform by clubs, players and brands.
Beginning this week, ALTV will host new content from Dugout accessible for free both online at ALTV.com and via the ALTV app. ALTV will also provide Dugout with editorial guidance for future content based on its insight in broadcasting popular online content in across the MENA region.
Dugout President, Elliot Richardson, commented: "ALTV is really shaking up the entertainment and broadcasting model and is doing an unrivalled job of connecting to audiences across the Middle East and North Africa. I've travelled all over the world and am yet to find fans more fanatical about their football than in this part of the world. We believe there's a real appetite here for the type of top-quality football content we produce, so tapping into ALTV's network will give us the platform to really engage fans and give them more of what they want."
The Middle East and North Africa is playing a key role in the growth in European football revenues as popularity for the sport continues to gain ground. According to The Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2016, nine percent of the English Premier League's international rights fees came from broadcasters in the MENA region. Commercial partnerships with Middle East-based sponsors is also on the rise, with three of the top five revenue generating clubs having Middle-East based shirt sponsors.
ALTV founder and media entrepreneur David C. McCourt added: "Since our launch in 2016, ALTV has quickly grown to become one of the most watched video streaming platforms based in the Middle East and North Africa, providing relevant content to local audiences in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and the wider MENA region. We've quickly established three main programming categories and based on the hugely positive reactions to our highly original content, sports has cemented itself as a key genre. Football is one of the most popular sports across MENA and through this partnership between ALTV and Dugout, fans across the region can feel more connected to the action, news and discussion than ever before."
Dugout has announced an additional £8.275 million investment led by renowned US entrepreneurs David and Frank McCourt, alongside a number of other strategic smaller-scale investors. The £8.275 million investment reflects the rapid growth of the business and its expanding network of partners across football, business, media, technology and brand advertising.
David McCourt, founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, is also the founder of ALTV.com a platform. His brother, Frank, is Chairman and CEO of McCourt LP and McCourt Global, and well known to sports fans as the owner of Olympique De Marseille and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
David McCourt, Founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, said: "Dugout represents an excellent opportunity to capitalize on two significant global trends. Firstly, the huge demand for great, original and highly-personalized content. Secondly, the soaring popularity of football in practically every market. Dugout has already done what many thought impossible by bringing the world's top clubs together in one shared enterprise. Now, we want to use this excellent foundation to grow a truly iconic company that inspires fans and brands the world over."
"Our collaboration with Dugout will also enhance the company's tech capabilities and enable it to grow its audience in strategically important markets. For example, the partnership between Dugout and ALTV will deliver exclusive access to original content for football fans across the Middle East and North Africa."
Elliot Richardson, Founder and Chairman of Dugout, said: "We are delighted to have secured both the Series A funding round and strategic capital investment, led by Frank and David McCourt. Frank and David bring with them decades of commercial success, experience and entrepreneurial zeal - they are fantastic partners as we move into the next phase of our development as a business. We're thrilled with how popular the platform has proven so far with fans, as well as the brands and commercial partners we've brought into the fold. This investment keeps that momentum going and partnerships with innovators like ALTV and Alchemy Media both enhance our technology offering and open up key markets like the Middle East and North Africa, where we know our club partners have such huge support."
Dugout has recently announced a number of other strategic partnerships designed to support the business' objective of expanding its global presence. For example, in December Dugout launched a partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) - boosting the brand's global profile and tapping into the growing popularity of football in North America. Today's announcement highlights the company's focus on MENA, although Dugout is expected to make further announcements in the coming weeks about other territories and partnerships.
This approach reflects Dugout's core belief in "localisation of content" - giving partners and brands detailed analytics that enable them to better understand audience behaviour and tastes in specific markets, in order to boost fan engagement and unlock potential.
The company has also signed deals with innovative tech companies like VEWD, SPOTX Rakuten/Viber and Amazon to reach more users and provide brands advertising on the platform with better engagement, cutting-edge user consumer targeting and detailed analytics.
Dugout was initially available in eight languages: English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Bahasa (Indonesian), with Arabic to be added in the coming months.