FRIDAY 27th APRIL 2018, London – Digital football business Dugout today revealed details of new 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 and more.
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
Today, Dugout has announced an additional £8.275 million investment led by renowned US entrepreneurs Frank and David 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.
Frank McCourt, Chairman and CEO of McCourt LP and McCourt Global, is well known to sports fans as the owner of Olympique De Marseille and former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His brother David – one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs – is the founder and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital, worldwide investors in technology, media and telecommunications. David is also the founder of ALTV.com, one of the fastest growing free streaming services in the MENA region.
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.
Akira Partners acted as Financial Advisors to Dugout on this transaction