London, UK – 27 June 2019: New research released today by Dugout, the world’s only football club-owned media company, reveals branded football content is emerging as the sport’s primary sponsorship activation tool.

More than half (56%) of senior marketers surveyed as part of the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report – a collaboration between Dugout and strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory – are likely to invest in branded content. This compares to just 41% for traditional sponsorship activations such as perimeter signage or kit sponsorship.

The report additionally revealed that in the next two years more than a third of marketing, media and sponsorship budgets will be dedicated to content. In 2018, 31% (£15.5bn) of a total global sport sponsorship annual spend of £50.1bn went towards branded content. This is predicted to rise to 33.4% by 2021, and with further growth forecast in the sports sponsorship market, this means an additional £1.5bn is likely to be spent on content annually. 30% of senior marketers believe that in the future, brands that do not invest in content will fail.

The 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report was launched at Dugout’s 2nd International Commercial and Content Symposium in London today.

At the Symposium, Dugout also announced that, for the first time in its history, the platform surpassed 30 million monthly users and 127 million monthly video views – a landmark moment for the company and its community of clubs that is in line with the planned strategy for long-term, steady and sustainable global audience growth.

The Symposium brought together senior figures from many of the world’s leading clubs – including Dugout’s founding partners FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, FC Bayern Munich and Juventus FC – as well as brands, agencies and publishers to discuss the report and look at ways to drive deeper fan engagement through a collaborative approach.

Dugout Executive Chairman, Elliot Richardson, said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many clubs and partners to our Commercial and Content Symposium in London today at such an exciting time for Dugout and the future of branded content. Dugout’s ongoing and sustainable growth is driven by our collaborative approach with brands, clubs and publishers using our unique club ownership model, which allows us to work in close partnership to create and deliver high-quality, original and compelling football content directly to fans.

“What the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report shows is that the modern fan is engaging with football content in new and exciting ways. Advances in technology and the rapidly evolving media and social media landscape have transformed the fan experience and the way brands engage their audiences through sport. In future, brands that fail to embrace content as a key driver of engagement will fall behind.”

Further key points from the 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report:

  • 55% of fans are in favour of branded football content because it provides greater access to players and other stories, for example, behind-the-scenes at clubs.
  • 70% of fans said they were more likely to watch football content if it can be viewed across any device.
  • 69% of fans find footage from the past powerful .
  • 71% of fans are eager to learn the history of the club they follow
  • 30% of fans trust clubs more than other public institutions, such as governments (3%).

In addition, four leading cross-sector experts provided their thoughts in a series of in-depth interviews:

Chelsea FC Commercial Director, Chris Townsend OBE, added: “The activation of sponsorships is critical and brands have to work extremely hard to activate in their key territories. Content represents an effective way of achieving as much engagement with fans as possible, enabling brands to get real value out of their sponsorships.”

FC Bayern Munich Director of Media, Digital and Communication, Stefan Mennerich, added: “As video and visual content becomes more important in our world, it becomes more important for sponsors. The vast majority are now activating their sponsorships this way, tailoring content for different target groups.”

Dow Jones Head of Sport and Newscorp Global Head of Rights, Simon Greenberg, added: “Branded content is playing a much more important role than previously. It drives much higher value across the media landscape, and in particular, the football landscape.”

M&C Saatchi Sports and Entertainment Global CEO, Steve Martin, added: “Branded content is not going away, and it’s going to get bigger and bigger. The opportunity is considerable in the sporting world, and in football specifically.”

Download The Full 2019 Branded Football Content Futures Report Chapters One And Two Below:

Chapter One

Chapter Two