New digital partnership pays off for Football Federation Australia

Australia’s Massimo Luongo celebrates after scoring a goal during January’s Asian Cup final. Photo: Steve ChristoFootball Federation Australia is getting all its ducks in a row with the help of Perform Sports Content and Media, as it aims to maximise what it can get for its next broadcast deal.

FFA will announce on Monday a partnership with Perform, which it started 12 months ago, to improve its digital assets and offerings to fans.

“We’re focused on growing our digital platforms with a view to getting the best deal possible in the next rights deal. That means returning value to Perform, creating value for sponsors and advertisers and you’re only going to do that if you’ve got really good products for the fans,” FFA head of commercial Luke Bould told Fairfax Media.

“If we get the fan offering right, then we’ll get the commercial sponsorship offering right, and that will maximise our ability to do a really good rights deal next time.”

Perform has been enlisted to help with drive traffic to FFA’s online assets, including the Socceroos, Matildas, A-League and W-League, through things such as statistics, editorial content and video and simulcast streaming of the A-League’s Friday night match.

The partnership has led to 27 new websites across the FFA, iOS and Android apps for A-League clubs, the league and the Socceroos.

Over the past 12 months, FFA has seen a 54 per cent pick-up in unique audience across its digital network and a 72 per cent increase in revenue from those assets. FFA digital assets had 7.9 million unique visitors during the latest A-League season.

The deal, which is aligned with its broadcast rights, runs through until the end of the 2017 season. ‘Suck it and see’

“From a commercial point of view, the first six months was a little bit of “suck it and see”, commercially, but the past six months has been very positive and we’re seeing significant increases in revenue occurring across all the assets, and across all the platforms,” Mr Bould said.

“We’re probably coming from a reasonably low base 12 months ago, but the adoption by our partners and the market has been really strong and consistent.”

Football in Australia has enjoyed one of its most successful years ever, match results wise, with the Socceroos winning the Asian Cup in January, the Western Sydney Wanders winning the Asian Football Confederation Champions League and the Matilda’s performing strongly at this year’s FIFA women’s World Cup.

To maintain interest and growth, it is important to be offering audiences an engaging product, not just on the television, but through other devices before, during and after matches, Perform Australia managing director Alex Peebles said.

“If you rewind and look at a football consumer, or a sports consumer, let’s say five years ago, the typical consumption pattern was watching live on TV and maybe reading a match preview then a match report on it,” Mr Peebles said.

“The sophistication of sports fans around the world, particularly in Australia, has evolved significantly since then. What’s really important for those fans is being able to get behind-the-scenes access – fast and normally first. That involves not just match action, but seeing what these people like to do off the pitch, as well as data and statistical analysis; that is content fans need and really want to see.”

Mr Peebles said that engagement with fans has helped Perform commercialise the FFA’s digital assets.

“We’ve got an exclusive content team, both out of our offices here and at FFA headquarters, who produce exclusive editorial and video for the network, as well as working with our data and statistics team in creating engaging and unique content out of the data.”

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