Tom Mueller

INTERVIEW: All you need to know about the OneFootball Network, with Senior Director, Tom Mueller

OneFootball have become a growing force within the football media industry over the last couple of years, and have more recently made the headlines thanks to their broadcast deals with Ligue 1 and Bundesliga, the acquisition of Dugout and the raft of clubs and federations who have signed up to become part of OneFootball Network. All of which we’ll be covering in this series.

This is the first of three articles in which we speak to OneFootball Senior Director, Tom Mueller, and will feature unique insights from the OneFootball team over the next couple of weeks. This series of articles with Tom will allow us to address some of the burning questions in football, though this was put together just before the Super League announcements and withdrawals, but we may fit that in too!

To start this series off we go back to the beginning, with the creation of OneFootball and the formation of the OneFootball Network.

Can you tell us all about OneFootball Network, including what it is and how it started?

OneFootball is the world’s largest football media platform where we provide and create the best fan focused experience centred around their favourite team or teams. We share the widest mix of content from a range of sources all in one place including editorial or video content from rightsholders, federations, leagues, clubs, blogs, publishers, and video creators. We currently have more than 500 partners distributing their content through the OneFootball umbrella to a targeted audience, at the right moment, in the fan’s respective language. Every partner is considered a member of the OneFootball Network.

This year has seen a number of announcements including the Brazilian FA, Spurs, and Dortmund becoming part of the network. What role do these clubs and leagues play in the direction of the company, and how does it work?

To be able to deliver the latest and most relevant content for fans, our clubs, leagues and federation partners play an important role. Let’s say Flamengo signs a new player, fans are keen to get both perspectives on the news: the club’s perspective – which could be the club’s motivation to sign him – as well as the opinions of local or national media, blogs and journalists. OneFootball provides both dimensions. We distribute and localize original club content to a global audience.  We have tens of millions of active users around the globe and, hence, we’re in a position to support clubs to reach fans with their content worldwide.

At the same time, we offer clubs the opportunity to generate incremental revenues through an extended digital reach on OneFootball. Since the demand for digital activation of sponsorships is constantly increasing, we believe that we offer a solution for clubs with real added value – which goes beyond the limited opportunities that social media channels offer. Not only do they get access to a wide, highly engaged user base, which they can monetize, we also share data with each of our content partners to inform decision-making. That’s the OneFootball Network in a nutshell.

You currently have about 85 million monthly fans; what is the long-term goal for OneFootball and, more specifically, the network?

We want to continuously grow and be the go-to destination for every football fan. With that in mind, we continue to onboard content partners from across the world and are speaking to new partners every day. The objective is to unite the football ecosystem to offer the best possible user experience to fans. They are at the center of our decision-making. At OneFootball, the fan comes first. Everything we do, we do it with the fan in mind. By offering the best platform and experience for users, we see very high engagement, which subsequently attracts brands and advertisers or OTT partners that wish to distribute their live content via OneFootball.

Are there any specific regions or clubs OneFootball is looking into to become the next partner of the network?

We have a very strong footprint in Europe and the Americas in terms of user base. These are our focus markets where we will see our partner network grow in the short-term. We currently have more than 130 clubs, leagues and federations being already onboarded to at least one part of the business so we have a pretty solid base. That being said, every club is interesting to us. With the big national team competitions, like the EUROs and the World Cup, coming up soon, we are seeing increased interest from national associations and are currently in discussions with a lot of federations. The Brazilian federation CBF was our first national association partner and we have recently welcomed the German Football Association as well. Many other federations will follow suit and there will be further announcements very soon.

With 75% of OneFootball’s audience being 13 to 34 years old, why does the network perceive a younger audience to be so valuable? And what content do you see really resonating with them?

The new generation of fans consumes football content differently. They are digital natives and expect to access any type of content in a flexible way – at any time, wherever they are. It’s no secret that football fans get their daily dose of football via apps. And once they find the perfect product where they get everything they are looking for – news, live scores, line-ups, highlight clips, transfer rumors, live-streaming, you name it… – they keep coming back. One important feature of our product is the fact that we can address our users with content based on their interests. Since over 90% of users have push notifications activated, we can even reach them instantly with the most relevant content. It’s a game-changer and our users value a lot that they only get to see what interests them.

And finally, how does the diversity with the team at OneFootball benefit the network?

We have a very diverse group of employees from all over the world at OneFootball with members of the team from close to 50 different nationalities. It is extremely helpful and beneficial to the company to be able to rely on colleagues that speak the language and understand the market we are operating in. Our relationships with our network partners are very personal and are handled with empathy and knowledge. We value each and every partnership and always do our best to accommodate special wishes and requests.

THANKS TO TOM FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SPEAK TO US. NEXT TIME WE SPEAK ABOUT LAST YEAR’S ACQUISITION OF DUGOUT – A STARTUP THAT IS UNIQUE WITH ITS PART OWNERSHIP BY SOME OF THE BIGGEST CLUBS IN THE WORLD.

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